Summer is over. School is back in session. Thanksgiving and Christmas are really far away…Back to reality.
Maybe you too have had that sinking feeling—the one when you are driving back from a trip and you start thinking of all the things you’ll have to do when you get back. The one when you start to measure your next few days not by hours at the beach but by loads of laundry you’ll have to do at home. You quietly think to yourself, back to reality.
I was kinda a wimp after this last vacation we went on. I cried when we had to “get back to real life.” It was really juvenile, but I was pretty bummed. I told Doug, “What will I have to look forward to now?”
The truth is my problem (as Doug gently reminded me) was that I was looking to the experience of a vacation to provide my joy. Once the experience was over, I had nothing to look forward to anymore.
The problem with this type of thinking is that experiences are fleeting.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore vacations. I love special occasions, fancy things, and getting away with those you love most. Rest is needed. It is important, and God commands it. However, when those experiences begin to be what you live for (like I was), then that becomes a problem.
Of course, I wouldn’t tell you “I’m living for vacation or I’m hoping the next concert, date, anniversary, or party will make me happy,” but my life and feelings pointed to that. I was VERY disappointed when we had to come home. I lacked contentment in everyday life, because it didn’t seem exciting enough.
I don’t think that I am alone in this sentiment. I’ve heard other people say things like:
- “I’m living for the weekend”
(why else would Facebook be plagued by hump day or angry Monday posts).
- “I wish I didn’t have to come back from vacation.”
- “I’d like to live at the beach.”
- “Ugh. Back to reality.”
On a broader scale, recent studies have shown that social media sites like Instagram and Facebook make us unhappier because we envy other people’s experiences. We are dissatisfied with our everyday lives because we think everyone else is experiencing something more exciting than we are. If only we could have a family vacation like theirs. Maybe if we could go on an anniversary dinner like that, then we’d really be happy in our marriage. I wish I could go to Europe. I wish…
As we engage with others on social media, many of us are jealous, wistfully thinking that the next big experience in life would make us happy. But that happiness never lasts.
The good news is this: Jesus is the one who gives real satisfaction. He makes reality joyful.
We taste that joy by meditating on His word and really tasting his goodness. The scriptures say that our thirsts for satisfaction and the deepest yearnings of our hearts can be quenched in Jesus, “Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, asf the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7: 37-38)
He said to another woman, “Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 13-14) Here, Jesus is saying that He quenches our hearts.
Additionally, the book of Ephesians says that we have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (see full passage below). We are adopted into God’s family through Jesus. We are heirs to the kingdom of God. He has forgiven us and given us new life—a life that we do not deserve.
Salvation and delighting in Jesus provides true satisfaction, not more instagrams or three more days on vacation. That reality, is wonderful indeed!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined usb for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 1: 3-14