Romans 8, Verse 28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
John 15, Verses 9-11 - As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Romans 12, Verse 2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Poem by Michelle Murphy - "About That Feeling That Life Isn't Fulfilling"
About that feeling that life isn’t fulfilling...
I hear about it all over.
Like when you’re married with kids and done everything you thought would make you happy, but something is missing.
Like when you're a high dollar lawyer and partner at one of the most successful firms but just feel burned out - not alive.
My life is chock-full of examples.
I have that feeling… that itch I can’t scratch.
Am I forgetting to count my blessings?
Am I forgetting to make the most of my lot in life?
Am I forgetting to focus on God’s plan?
What is this itch all about and what should we do?
Do we have insatiable drives? Or insatiable desires for bliss?
Are we afraid of anything labeled normal?
Are we afraid of drawing a paycheck? Would we rather be homeless?
Do we want life to be interesting from day to noon to night? And while we sleep?
Are we allergic to routines; should we avoid shaving today or taking a shower to keep it real?
What is this itch about and what should we do?
How do we find what makes us feel alive?
For me, it is not drinking or lush environments.
For me, it is not any particular type of work, so far.
For me, it is not the greatest party which only lasts a day or two.
For me, it is not the adrenaline of lifting weights, shopping, or vacations.
All of that just sprinkles my skin and fades away.
But nature makes me feel alive, when I'm not taking it for granted,
And freedom, when I’m not taking it for granted.
And sprinkling my skin in all its fading glory is a blessing I don’t have to give up.
The cycle of birth and rebirth - trying something new now and then… That does it for me.
I’m onto my next work assignment.
And presenting my poems live is the next pressing thing.
Saving money, working out, planning the future.
It all makes me feel alive.
And that party on the horizon and the vacation in the sun,
Moments with family, and love-making a new way.
Yes it all fades.
Finding myself walking in circles, treading the same footprints…. It drives me nuts, but it’s part of living.
And so that itch is part of being alive,
My insatiable drive and desire for bliss too.
I better count my blessings and make the most of my lot.
The reward of Heaven is the best spade I’ve got -
And so I can appreciate the fading part of life.
Being alive does not equate with feeling alive in a glittery way,
And I can deal with it. I can learn to deal with it. I want to deal with it.
About that feeling that life isn’t fulfilling…
Who cares. Let's be real.
I watched part of a documentary lately about a cult that attracted tons of people in the 80s. What struck me about most of the people who got involved was their "itch" to improve their lives - life seemed too normal and mundane, or their high-dollar profession had them burnt out. They found the answers in possessing meditation, a mesmerizing guru, sexual freedom, and a promise that they were part of a revolution of world peace. I thought how were these educated people falling for this, and then realized that before I settled on Christianity I may have easily fallen into the same pit.
A good part of my motivation and accomplishment has been reared in a search for a fulfilling life - one of purpose and value. So it's important where my values come from in taking on new endeavors. The driven must drive towards the right things. But I've made mistakes. At one time I was embroiled in politics - leading armies of people to state conventions, debating political philosophy with leaders, using social media to share my views, and fighting for national security, foreign policy and energy reform as if it were my dying wish. Today, my endeavors are more Christ-centered and I do Hospice, mentor youth, blog here and share my poetry through multiple venues. Life is much more fulfilling now then it was under the trance of "saving the world". Romans 12:2 is my favorite verse that I forgot to follow - "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Take note of your endeavors and glorify God.
Christianity is not a flash religion, and as Christians we have to deal sometimes with the mundane. For example, avoiding sexual sin is much more mundane than being promiscuous. So is a good work ethic or a clean shaven attitude. But we are rest assured by Romans 8 and John 15 (and throughout the Bible) that God's purpose lives within us, and that hope and joy are big pieces of our faith and long-term dedication as Christians. Christianity historically has been a religion of peace and it offers the world stability wherever it takes root, so as Christians we are part of a peace movement. There are answers within Christianity to the normal and mundane, or professional burn-out; by seeking answers from God though prayer, study and from examples among our brothers and sisters in Christ we can succeed.
Dear God, Thank You for delivering me from the wrong path. Thank You for the answer that sometimes life is normal and mundane and that even that can be a welcome breath of fresh air after things get seemingly out of control. If not, I am to deal with it as a mature Christian. I pray that more non-Christians and youth are drawn towards the Christian way of life for what it offers and what is true. We know You hear our cries, and we should listen for that answer that always comes from You. At times, my life isn't fulfilling and I get that "itch"; it can either lead me astray or head me in the right direction to doing greater things. Be by my side always and guide my paths. In Christ's name, Amen.
Quote by Audrey Hepburn (one of my sister's favorite people) - "I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."
My sister is pretty damn cool. She handles mom-hood with grace, and is the kind of mom any sane person would love to have. She keeps her marriage going, and welcomes people into her home and life with love. She gives the best toasts over a drink, and can still get down and dance. What she believes is what she practices, and she is a very beautiful woman - inside and out. Lastly, but not least, she has a great sense of humor - it's nice when we laugh together.
When my father died, at his funeral a church mentor of my sister and I told us two that we needed to keep our relationship strong with each other. He explained his close relationship with his brother and the importance it had on his life. I was in college and he had been our Youth Minister when I was young. He was right. And my sister is a big part of my world today. I am very lucky to have a close relationship with my sister, but besides luck, I have also put in a lot of work to keep the relationship at a high level; she has too.
So what was the key from the brotherhood example that inspired this sisterhood example from my life? To be honest, I think it's a combination of witnessing the various mundane to monumental moments in another one's life since birth, and the unique humor that grows up around that into later-hood. Later-hood is first older kids, then young adults, then getting old, and oh my! full-old. Our sisters know us without our masks; they know how we came to be. Having humorous moments on the same page with a sister is part of a life-sustaining journey. Laughter has always been the best medicine in my life, and the laughter of two sisters is more than twice the benefit. This is why everyone needs a sister in life.
Dear God, Thank you for this life sustaining blessing in my life - my sister. Maybe when we laugh the world lightens up around us, even if only very briefly. I pray that as two sisters we can continue to overcome what life throws at us. My sister's kids are a wonderful addition to my world, and I thank you for the wonderful parents they have to raise them and show them the way into adult-hood (they have a ways to go!) Cheers to good toasts, good advice, good humor and beautiful ladies. Praise God! Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.