One of my favorite hobbies is hiking. I love finding a new trail, tackling the unknown terrain and enjoying the beauty and peace of nature. There’s so much to reflect on and experience along the way. And in the end, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of making it to the top and viewing the city below me.
Our lives are a bit like a hike. We are all journeying in some way. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we set our paths towards certain experiences and aim for a desired destination.
For many of us, our common journeys are our search for significance, acceptance and happiness. I’d even say the journey to find fulfillment in these areas drives our everyday lives.
Significance is defined as “the quality of being worthy of attention; importance.” Honestly, who doesn’t want that? Everyone wants to feel special.
We swell up with pride when we are recognized for our talents and accomplishments or praised for our performance at work. We find value on social media. How many followers do I have? How many likes did my most recent post get? How many people are interacting with my story? All of this has the potential to affect our sense of self-worth.
The journey toward personal happiness drives our world. I used to think if I could just grasp the dream of being in a relationship, I’d be happy. I knew in my head that a relationship wouldn’t bring me lasting happiness because people aren’t perfect, but my heart still wanted to believe it was true.
Sometimes, we use material possessions or extravagant excursions to make us happy or to distract us from points of pain in our life. We convince ourselves that acquiring things and experiences will permanently fill any gaps we might be feeling.
Being accepted for who you are is one of the safest feelings. I know that I’ve chased after acceptance and belonging through every phase of my life. Often, we put on different personas so we can be accepted. What does it mean to you to be fully accepted for who you are? Have you ever compromised in some way to fit in?
These desires and longings are not bad things. Yet how many times have you landed the job you worked so hard for and not felt satisfied? Have you bought that new car or moved to that new house and still not felt the happiness you expected?
Finally being able to grasp what you’ve longed for might feel good for a day or two, or even a few weeks, but eventually you’re left to search for another way of filling that void. The problem lies in the fact that we’re moving toward the wrong things. These destinations won’t ultimately satisfy us.
So what will satisfy us? What is it that we truly long for underneath it all? God wants to bless us with abundant and full lives. But when we search for the blessings instead of the blesser, our souls don’t experience what we were really created for.
We were created to be in a relationship with God. We like to journey because God imprinted us with a desire to find Him. Instead of being on a journey for what we desire, I believe we are all on a spiritual journey, a journey that should culminate with knowing God and being known by Him.
Psalm 31:21 says, “Blessed God! His love is the wonder of the world” (The Message). The wonder and awe I feel standing on a mountaintop is a small taste of the wonder I am meant to experience with God. What an adventure God has for us if we will only begin the journey.
Sometimes, finding hope means looking in a new direction.
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