When Darren and I bought our home, we bought it knowing (or hoping at least) that we would only live here for three years. Two of those three years have come and gone in a blink and now we are trying to determine where to go next. We would love to buy land in the country and build a house or maybe remodel an old farmhouse in need of some love. Darren spends the evenings perusing real estate websites looking for land and houses and then we spend the weekends driving around looking at what he’s found.
Since we’ve always planned on moving out of this house, I’ve never really put my roots down. I’ve been too busy counting the days until we move on to the next thing and then, I tell myself, I’ll really relax and settle in.
I say all this about buying houses and moving and always looking for the next best thing because I’ve started noticing a pattern in my life. I’m not just always ready to move into a better house on a prettier hillside, I’m always looking for something bigger and better in every part of my life. As soon as I get one thing that I thought I just had to have and knew would make me happy, there are five more things on the list of stuff I must have. I must have that outfit, that bag, that car, that job, that friend, that attention, that haircut, that vacation, and on and on it goes. It’s like I’m using all my life energy to dump water into a bucket riddled with holes; I fill and fill and fill and yet the bucket is always empty and I’m always thirsty for more.
I see too that way leads onto way, that is, when I finally get the bigger nicer house I wanted I must now fill it with bigger nicer possessions because the old stuff just won’t do. When I get a new dress, well I need new boots and a scarf and a bag to go with it because I just don’t have anything to wear otherwise. The more I get the more I want. Nothing satisfies. Nothing fulfills. I know this is true because I basically got everything I thought I could ever want for Christmas last year–and yet I already have a whole new list of stuff I want for Christmas this year–stuff I hadn’t even thought of needing until I got all that other stuff that now needs this and that to make it perfect. My heart is a greedy little monster and I will never give so much that it says, “Enough, there is nothing more I want. I am satisfied and content.” No, my heart will always say “give me more, give me now.”
C.S. Lewis said, “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” There is a reason why all this stuff, however coveted, can never fully satisfy me; there is within me a void only God can fill.
There is nothing wrong with having nice things but nothing (not even everything) can ever fill me up and leave me happy–Hollywood is proof enough of that.
Someday Darren and I are going to find the right house or the right piece of land–but it isn’t going to make me happy. If I’m not happy right now today with God himself then I’ll never be happy tomorrow with God plus the perfect house. There is no room for God plus whatever–there is only room for God because God is the only “thing” that can fill the void within. I can be happy today or I can grasp for tomorrow–and tomorrow will come as empty and void as today.