At 16, full of independence and driving solo for the first time, it seemed as though anything was possible.
With a V-8 engine under the hood and the rush of the wind while driving down Fulton County Road D, I felt invincible.
Seeing the mirage of water on the road ahead, it seemed reasonable to try to catch it. When I ws a small child, my parents had said that it was impossible ... now was my chance to find out.
I sped up to 120 miles per hour, but still the water was in the distance. Even after several high-speed minutes, I could not catch up to it.
Like many of the illusions in life, this was an early indicator of how striving for the impossible leaves emptiness and dissatisfaction.
How often we chase after things that we believe will satisfy us only to find that what we are seeking is something deeper and more complex.
The restlessness in our souls seems like it can be stilled by obtaining or conquering external experience, only to discover again that the material focus with which we busy our lives leaves us void.
We all have elements of our lives that elude us and delude us into thinking that if we can orchestrate our existence in a certain fashion, the deep longing of our soul will be filled. Whether it is loud facets (lust of our hearts for power, money, control or another person’s spouse), or subtle components (detaching from the needs of others and insulating ourselves from people/ things that frustrate us), we are left hollow and restless again.
The truth is, our heart longs for something deeper -- something that is spiritual, not material.
Throughout my 30 years as a counselor, I have observed firsthand the upside-down nature of how people try to meet their needs. There is a false belief that courses through the veins of humanity, attempting to convince one that contentment rests in simply creating the right scenario or context in which to live.
To explain this, allow me to share the story of a man I saw early in my career. When I asked what I could do to help him, he indicated that he was divorcing his fifth wife later that afternoon. The details of his story revealed that he thought he had simply been choosing the wrong kind of women.
Through our dialogue around this idea, he became aware that even though all five women were “very different from each other,” he had the same troubles with each of them.
A late but fruitful realization was that “ I believe the problem is me."
He had come to discover a faulty belief that happiness was generated by others, not something he was responsible for.
There is something seductive about looking beyond ourselves to the external piece of our lives for satisfaction. But the answers though lie within.
The first sept is to learn that we are in charge of our own happiness. It is not something that other people do for us.
Second, by understanding there is a restlessness in our soul that only God can satisfy.
The answers to deep longings of our heart are an inside job.