Mar 28, 2012

On Fulfillment

     I spend way too much time these days thinking about fulfillment. Having an early life career crisis can do that to you, I guess. Honestly though, I know I am not alone in that constant desire for fulfillment. Friends from all different places in their life have shared the same struggle with me-whether they love their job, feel bored as a stay-at-home-mom, are looking to get more involved in mission work, discerning a vocation, wanting more out of their relationships, etc. It seems to be the constant ache and hunger of our human natures. A huge part of our discontent is that we always seem to be looking in the wrong place for fulfillment. We want a spouse {or a relationship}, or a job {or different/no job}, or a community, or even a mission field to bring us to that feeling of fulfillment. Like any Christian, I know true fulfillment is only found in the Lord. But, honestly, I was starting to wonder..because I go to church, have a fairly strong prayer life, I’m involved in a young adult community,  and am even blessed enough to maintain a Eucharistic Adoration hour, but I still felt SO empty.  In fact, I recently became so exasperated with my own lack of feelings of fulfillment that I tore through my bible and catechism and even broke out the Strong’s Concordance so I could read anything I could find on fulfillment. I just felt like I needed to get to the bottom of it.  Turns out their is a whole lot in the bible on fulfillment. As in, God fulfills a lot of plans & actions.  As I continued to read through different verses, I saw a common denominator. It was always HIS plans & HIS actions. Since He is a loving Lord, His plans & actions most frequently coincided with the desires of a human heart.  Take Psalm 20:1-6 for example

“The Lord answers your in time of distress; the name of the God of Jacob defends you! May God send His help from Zion and be your support. May God remember {implies a readiness to act-from the footnotes on my translation} your every offering, graciously accept your holocaust, and grant what is in your heart, fulfill your every plan.”

     So after reading that verse and SO many similar to that, I was like..cool. Basically God will fulfill the desires in my heart. Sweet. Get to it, God! I’d like the perfect career OR a handful of adorable mini- Marcus’ and while your at it, keep my marriage fresh, and help me find the perfect charity to get involved in. And please don’t forget to give me meaningful friendships and community. Because I want to feel fulfilled. And hurry up Jesus, I want to feel fulfilled NOW. Amen.

     I was kind of tired of praying that prayer, though. I knew I was missing something & I just didn’t know what. Then I happened upon this verse from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1:11-12

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make your worthy of His calling & powerfully bring to fulfillment every good effort of faith SO THAT the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you & you in Him, In accordance with the grace of our God & Lord Jesus Christ.”

     Did you get that whole “so that” part?! I think I had always looked at fulfillment in a worldly view. To borrow from Wikipedia: to be accomplished, brought to completion, to satisfy. My intentions have been in the wrong place. The truth is, the purpose of any fulfillment we may achieve on Earth is simply for the glory of God. To desire fulfillment is natural, and certainly not a sin. I just came to realize that it wasn’t even fulfillment I was seeking. It was simply a feeling. I wanted to feel a certain way to make me feel better about myself. And feelings & faith are NOT synonymous.  It never occurred to me that fulfillment wasn’t something for me- but for God! So these days, my prayer is a little bit different.

Lord, please overwhelm me with your grace so that I may be worthy of what you are calling me to. I don’t know what you are calling me to right now, but draw me to yourself so I can make good efforts of faith. Give me the grace to be diligent & disciplined to knowing who you are through sacrament, prayer & worship. Jesus, increase my faith. “I do believe Lord, help my unbelief” Finally God, with your POWER, use my faith to live out the Gospel so your name can be praised.

     A couple of days later, when praying about what God’s current call in my life is. I came upon this video. I was stopped in my tracks when she said “ I didn’t FIND what the Lord wanted me to do! It was just in the bible!” Such, such truth. If you are anything like me, you constantly mull over what you are supposed to be doing with your life. But it is right there.

Feed the hungry

Clothe the naked

Visit the sick

Shelter the homeless

Visit the imprisoned

     It’s only when the Father is being glorified that true fulfillment abounds. So where do I go from here? Trying to go from seeking fulfillment as an end, to seeking fulfillment as a means for God’s glory.

     Anybody else struggle with this?!

2 comments:

Theresa said...

Um yea, like everyday. And your post really helped. It's been on my heart a lot lately too. So you're not the only one, dearie. Except I was too lazy to look for answers outside of Ben & Jerry's. So, kudos to you for doing your homework.

Laura said...

Glad to hear it helped somebody else other than me! While Ben & Jerry's may not have solved your fulfillment problems completely, I'm sure they helped! Those boys are so good at consoling ;) In fact, I think I need to have Marcus get me a pint!

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