To paraphrase author Stephen Covey “Nothing is worse than climbing the ladder of success, only at the top to find it is leaning against the wrong building.”
What this aphorism means is that many of us go through life trying to amass the biggest piles of sand in hope of finding our identity and significance through stuff! This is a fool’s game that reminds all of us hamster lovers that the “hamster wheel” of life goes nowhere… What happens to us when we chase love, career success, a certain body weight number, perfect skin or money? We feel anxious and discontented and don’t know why. We don’t understand why we don’t feel indescribable JOY when we get the man or woman of our dreams, the promotion we slaved over, see the scale register the number we crave or receive a bonus check larger than we ever dared dream. We feel empty, anxious and unfulfilled. Why?
The answer is found in Covey’s quote and its paraphrase. We are chasing the wrong things. We are looking for something that is good…money, love, self-esteem etc. to be our God. We are allowing good things become ultimate things. In short, we are replacing God on the thrones of our hearts with these things…and more and expecting them to do for us what only God can do!
We are made by God the Father, for relationship with Him. He reconciled us to Him when Jesus died on the cross (see Power of the Cross). He is waiting for us to find our rest, purpose, peace and joy by coming in surrender to His will for our lives. St. Augustine felt this very strongly when he wrote these words, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until if finds it rest in thee.” (Confessions)
The true way to getting rid of anxiety and finding contentment is to surrender to His will for our lives. To realize that God has a unique purpose for each one of us and a specific reason we are here on earth. An assignment to further His will here on Earth. The Creator of the Universe is calling us to participate with Him as He marches out His plan for the world. When we seek to know His will for our live, and forsake the craving of stuff, we will find ourselves wanting to “give” more than “receive.” We will experience the “joy” that comes from “service” to others, on the model of Christ. We will find the peace, contentment and rest that comes from realizing the God loves us, unconditionally.