What if this is it?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
What if I never move to the next level in my career? What if this anxiety never goes away? What if I really stay single forever? What if I never achieve the level of recognition I imagined?
What if this is it?
In the past, I've been afraid to even acknowledge the possibility of a "this is it." We "achievement-driven" people tend to be like that—fearful of stillness, overly self-aware. We scan our resumes constantly inside our heads, wondering if other people are thinking about what we're doing next; if they tsk and tut and whisper that it seems like we've grown stagnant; if, at the age of 20-something, we've already maxed out our potential in addition to our credit cards.
Are we a disappointment? Is there something more? Are we missing out on something?
Afraid of the answers to these questions, we put our heads down and we work. Hard. We set out to prove both to ourselves and that gallery of imaginary onlookers that we are capable of more. We assure ourselves that once we get that job, or travel to that country, or make that connection, or get that ring, or walk that red carpet, we'll find it.
The feeling that we've "made it." That we've "arrived." That we've attained the fulfillment, peace, and unshakeable self-assurance we've been longing for.
I just watched a documentary called The Queen of Versailles. In short, a billionaire couple has the ability to buy the world—and they do. But it isn't enough.
When a regular mansion doesn't satisfy, a 90,000 square-foot monstrosity of a building project ensues. Their marriage cracks. Their economic status falters. They have everything and yet they come up empty, craving more.
I was living and working in Monaco when the Lord first spoke this into my life: "I am enough."
During that time I was spending weekends traveling to Saint Tropez, Cannes, and Venice. The house I was living in was built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. The jogging trails I ran boasted views of snow-capped mountains on one side and the beach on the other. Walking into town was like getting a front-row seat at fashion week. Quite literally, the best of everything was laid out before me.
It was glittery, and it was romantic. But it wasn't enough.
I was lonely. I craved companionship. I dreaded the quietness of the house when the family left for the day.
What if we knew that the secret to contentment isn't really a secret at all?
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:12-13
By God's grace, and through many non-glamorous moments of everyday life, contentment has boiled down to this for me:
I believe that if I spend the rest of my life bringing the Lord glory by making my husband's lunch, it is possible for me to not only be "okay," but to be "filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." I believe that I can be deeply satisfied in exercising the gifts He's given me, even if the books I write are never published. I believe I can find purpose in ministering to just one person and loving them well, even if my platform never grows any bigger. I believe that life is a vapor, and no matter how many pretty things I accumulate while on this earth, I cannot take them with me when I die. I believe that even if I lost the people, the things, and the dreams I treasure most; even when I felt that I was standing alone in my darkest hour, and unable to be reached; even then Christ's grace has been and will be sufficient. Even then I can find joy. Even then I can rest in the knowledge that He is my all in all, and He is enough.
We can find excitement and pleasure in checking things off our to-do lists, in achieving goals, in seeing beautiful places, in meeting noteworthy people, and in being interviewed by Katie Couric. But these things will always and only be temporary. Ultimately, they are just pieces of cotton candy—fluffy and pretty things that melt away in an instant—unless they bring glory to God and work to advance His kingdom.
So what if this is it?
Then we rejoice in the fact that by fixing our eyes on Jesus, we will be filled and satisfied no matter the circumstance.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “ As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph. 3:20-21
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The ultimate Well is Jesus Christ, by whom we as Christians are filled, purified, and poured out over the world as thirst-quenchers and drought-enders. On this blog, The Well will function as a collection zone for spiritually-centered posts. A place where you can click to—prayerfully—be filled as you read God-stories and words of inspiration written by both myself and other contributors.
"...But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11
"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25