When Everything Is Not Enough

Psalm 34:10b “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” -Jim Carrey

Thinking I would feel better as I threw myself across my bed after a long day was proving to be one huge joke. I lay there for awhile growing increasingly restless and uncomfortable. Something was missing. And although I had just come from sitting in an hour of  traffic, I decided to change my clothes and head back out the door; this time, in search of a big, thick, chocolate dessert.

I drove 23 minutes to my favorite restaurant in Thursday evening rush hour, ordered at the bar top and practically counted the minutes until I saw that plated warm brownie, topped with a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and drizzling chocolate rounding the corner- all for me. It took mere moments to devour and boy did it hit the spot.

But now, back in the silence of my car, I could feel a familiar pang of guilt and loneliness beginning to stir. So I did my best to shake it off with loud music. Surely, guilt couldn’t be heard if Cardi B were louder, right? And she was definitely louder. I rapped to the lyrics with zeal, bopping my head and dancing in my seat- feeling every bit of the bass in my chest and waving away my convictions.

At a red light, I glanced at my phone. Dry. No real calls or texts beside a few spam numbers, social media notifications and group chats that continued to talk around me. 

Truthfully, on most days, I was busy. And when I was, the absence in my life was pretty unnoticeable. I mean, I had strategically learned to clutter my life with things to keep me occupied: ministry, a meeting here or there, lunch with a friend perhaps. There was career, writing, dating, working out and if all else failed, I never minded going to the movies by myself.

But right now, there was none of that. Nothing going on but me. All I had, with the exception of my snoring dogs and resurfacing guilt from scarfing down that brownie, was lots of silence. 

And I felt emptier than I had words for.

It wasn’t until that moment, that a harsh truth began to settle in: I had never allowed Christ to satisfy me. And I had never truly let the fullness of His love fill the empty cracks that I’d been avoiding for years. I had been saved for as long as I could remember. I could quote scripture with the best of them and rarely missed a Sunday service. I even- get this- I was a preacher’s kid! But the void inside of me was inescapable. And no brownie could fix it.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you have all of the things that should technically qualify you for happiness… but you still find yourself dissatisfied. Would it surprise you to know that you’re not alone? Maybe you are well aware of just how blessed you are and don’t need another sermon on being grateful, but there’s still an itch that you can’t seem to scratch.

Would it shock you to discover that the Heavenly Father who loves you would never indict you for bringing this heart to him, but instead it’s the very thing He’s been waiting to hear you say?

If this sounds like you, then the account of the woman at the well in John chapter 4 will serve as a good reminder of exactly what Jesus wants to do for people just like us. 

When we first meet her, in verse 7, we notice that she is alone, drawing water at a time when it’s unlikely for her to be doing so. But this divinely appointed meeting was the perfect time for her to run into Jesus. The passage tells us that after He asks her for a drink, ‘The woman was surprised for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.’ (John 4:9) And when she questions him on it, His reply is simple: “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4: 10)

As we read further, we learn more and more about this perpetually “thirsty” woman who is doing all that she can to quench her longing with relationships, sex and men. But the most important part of this passage is not the fact that she has a void… the importance is what she’s chosen to fill it with.

We were all born with God-sized voids. Every last one of us. The problem enters when we think that anything besides Jesus himself will fill it. Denial creeps in when we believe that as long as we are not filling it with blatantly immoral things like drugs, sex or alcohol, we are in the clear. 

But hear this- ANYTHING used to fill the space that was crafted for only Christ to occupy, will never complete you. It, like all other idols, will leave you unsatisfied and empty. Even good things. That can mean- your goals, your children, your spouse, your career, and even- yes, food.

Having everything will never be enough if you do not allow the Father who sees you (Genesis 16:13) and absolutely delights in you (Ps. 18:19) to fill the hole that you’re trying to fill on your own.

Pray: Father, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is a place in me that is empty and it hurts. Sometimes it feels like you could never be enough to fill the bottomless pit in my heart. I’ve tried to substitute the love you have for me with things that have proven they cannot compare. You said, God that if I seek you with all of my heart, I would find you. So here I am- seeking. Lord, show me how your grace can be as sufficient for me as it was for the woman at the well. Show me how your strength can be made perfect in my weakness. And Father, fill me in a way that will leave me full and never wanting again. I don’t stand a chance unless you do. In Jesus’ name, I pray- Amen.

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