The Joy Of Finding Satisfaction With Dissatisfaction

Conversations about having a joyful heart can so easily leave us with the impression that being a surrendered Christian involves our experiencing a sense of sweet satisfaction in this life. That if we're truly seeking to trust a Savior in whom we are found complete, that certainly what should follow is a sense of deep contentment not just in the Giver of good gifts, but in the gifts themselves. 

For years I found my heart troubled as I was drawn into a seemingly endless battle between Gratitude and Satisfaction. I so vividly remember sitting on the stairs of my "little cabin in the woods" as a summer camp counselor, lifting my youthful pleas to God through the morning fog to make me grateful enough to remove the dull ache of disappointment that relentlessly tormented my soul. But in spite of my prayers, I instead was left more keenly aware that I seemed forever destined to be a poor beggar stretching out her hand uttering pitiful petitions of hunger:  

"Please, Sir. May I have some more?" 

C.S. Lewis wrestled with this same troubling conflict within in his soul, and his following words were powerful in inching me toward a pathway of joy that didn't come paved with the guilt I struggled tirelessly to shed because of not being satisfied with even the best and most beautiful this life has to offer:

"Most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us.” C.S. Lewis

 But something has evaded us.

Yes. That was exactly it. And all the prayer for the earthly I offered and praise for the heavenly I lifted was never proving enough to uproot the deep-seeded dissatisfaction that silently throbbed with yearning. His words brought comfort to a disappointed teen who would grasp something purely pleasing one moment only to have it "fade away in reality" the next. I had found myself endlessly searching for what seemed to keep mercilessly hiding, and I didn't know how to process it as a Christian who desperately desired to glorify God. 

"For if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that we are made for another world." C.S. Lewis

Made for another world. 

Yes. That was it exactly. I wasn't made for this world. I was made for glory and for all that is heavenly. Though designed to delight in the earthly teasers and tiny tastes of the heavenly, I was created to desire the full beauty of the eternal. With a light of grace shining on truth, I realized I didn't need to labor tirelessly on a road of guilt trying to muster up satisfaction with the earthly. That my delighting in good gifts wasn't intended to be confused with my desiring of the Giver. That Gratitude and Satisfaction aren't competitors striving for equal footing in the heart of a Christian; they're loving brothers prodding each other down the road of the earthly to the heavenly. 

Grace opened my eyes to the peaceful joy that could be mine by standing in the midst of yearning without wringing my hands for being an ungrateful beggar. Because I am a beggar, but I'm a grateful beggar. With hands lifted to the sky I learned to praise God for the needy words that continue to flow from my dissatisfied and often disappointed heart: 

"Please, Sir. May I have some more?" 

If I were asked to identity one God-given gift that has brought more happiness to my heart than any other, without an ounce of hesitation I would say my marriage. And yet on my 30th anniversary, of all the things I could say about my beloved husband I chose to write about his deficiency in satisfying me. 

I Married The Best & He's Not Good Enough is more than a tantalizing blog entry. It's my testimony to God's grace in teaching me the difference between delighting in earthly gifts and desiring a heavenly Giver.