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To be fulfilled in life. What does that mean? How do we get there? We've all heard of it. People talking about it. Usually, maybe it's older people going through a 'mid-life crisis' wondering why their career path hasn't made them feel the way they might have dreamed. Or perhaps it's a young person, wondering where they're headed and what they're going to do with their life.
The fact is, we were all made with a built in desire, even a need, for meaning and purpose. Something that brings satisfaction, something to be fulfilled in. I think, even if we don't always realize it or think about it, it's still there, running quite deep inside each one of us.
But what is it? Can we ever truly find fulfillment? Why does it seam we're always looking for that something, that someone -- who will change things in our life -- who will be the answer to our emptiness or incompleteness. And yet, it's always so elusive, just around the corner, out of sight.
You ever stare into the stars on some summer night and feel your self longing for something you can't explain? Where you just know there is something out there...something wonderful. Sometimes just experiencing the longing itself is invigorating. These longings can come in different forms, though. Where the object might seem quite tangible and definite. For me there are several images or ideas that easily come to mind.
When I was younger it was the idea of going to college. Merely the experience, -- the college life, with it's higher learning, athletics, great young people my age -- was something that easily embodied this idea of meaning and fulfillment.
Having a great career is another... I often picture an awesome skyline, with an office job somewhere high up in some skyscraper, where I'm making and impact in this world, and all my work has meaning and significance. Once I get there, (it's easy to think) then I'll feel fulfilled.
And then there is the idea of finding a soul-mate and marriage partner. This is perhaps the greatest example... It's hard to escape the notion that somehow, this person, when we find him or her, will somehow complete us and make us truly happy. Filling in all the emptiness we feel in our lives. How many times have we heard the line, in songs..."you're all I need"?
We feel this way so easily, but is it really true? Can we ever find that perfect someone or something? Can we ever be "complete"?
The further we go in life, what I think we find, is that this longing is something that is never truly satisfied. Most of the time, before we're even sure we're on to something, it seems to morph into something different. And then, if for once we finally believe we've found what we always wanted, it too, never seems to fully satisfy.
I noticed something of this recently... This year I graduated from my community college... Haven't made it a University yet, but have tasted the college thing, and gotten a degree. An achievement, right? However, that feeling of...'that's all it was?'... came up inside me. I had had many hopes of what I could have done at this school... the people I could've met, the relationships I could've built... Just, that experience that would have lent meaning and perhaps some fulfillment to this stage in my life. I was always looking forward to it -- until now. Needles to say, I'm on the other side and those things didn't happen, at least, not the way I envisioned them. Was it just me? Or was there something good there, about my intentions -- finding meaning and a sense of purpose, which naturally this school thing did not provide.
Maybe you've been wondering about this. Asking yourself... Why am I always wanting more? Why do I always feel like where I am and what I'm doing is not enough. That somewhere, out there, there is that something that will truly satisfy. If you've been even thinking these things at all, I want to tell you that you're right. That there is that something... There is that someone that will truly satisfy, and satisfy completely.
However, what I'm saying is that it's not in this world. We need to realize, that not even the greatest career or the sweetest relationship here on earth will ever totally fulfill that longing. Not in this life. Because this world is broken and fallen. What we so down deep desire, and strongly urn for, could never be found in this place the way it is. Our relationships, even the best of them, are with imperfect people. Our careers are limited by our weaknesses. Even the greatest things in life are marred by an inherent frailty.
The truth is, we were meant for so much more -- and that is why we can never quite put our finger on what it is we so intensely long for. It's beyond even our imagination. It's so much more, so much brighter, so much greater and more wondrous than our small minds can dare to think. This is what it is we're urning for. To be made complete... to be with God. What we were created for... To know Him, and live with Him in total unity and fellowship.
We're not home yet. And until we are, we will long for this fulfillment because we were created for it. I think it helps to look at this life as a picture -- a small, yet still beautiful picture -- of what is ultimately meant to be, in the next life. So then, if we know this, let us dream away. This dream is real. Some day it will come true. Let us live this life, always looking forward to that day when all things will be made new. It adds meaning to our lives here and now, to know there is a reason we feel the way we do... longing for something we can't quite understand.
Contrary to what some people might think, there is still meaning and fulfillment to be found in this life, if we are aiming at the next. There is still much good. Things that are beautiful. Things that are worth desiring. Let us still pursue them, all the while realizing that they are ultimately pointing us towards eternity. If we become caught up in them, we're only deceiving ourselves. We need to remember they are just a glimpse, a preview of our final destination, where all thing will finally be restored.
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 COR 13:12 - NIV)
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