The pursuit of happiness. It drives us. It compels us. Sometimes it even tortures us. We all long to be happy, satisfied, fulfilled.
The very word, “fulfilled” implies a pre-existing condition or place of emptiness, a hole, a vacuum designed to be filled. Many call this hole a “God-shaped hole.” I spent so many years in search of something to fill that hole, to bring relief, to bring me peace.
I believed there would arrive a day where I had achieved enough, attained enough, acquired enough, that the hole inside of me would go away. Then I would be happy. Then I would be enough. Then I would finally be fulfilled.
So I followed along this path. I achieved a good education. I attained what I was told would bring fulfillment. I acquired material possessions, security, stuff. Yet there was a searing emptiness that quietly ached inside. A profound restlessness that I could not still. At the end of the day, I was left feeling hopeless, barren, broken.
Culture tells us that the answer to life’s questions, the path to the happiness we all desire can be bought, can be experienced externally. Every commercial tells us that we can find fulfillment with a brand new kitchen, a nice shiny car, we can fill the hole inside our hearts with children, with money, success, and just about everything else there is.
If that doesn’t solve things, if that doesn’t fill the hole inside, just take a drink, a pill, a bite of food that will at least numb us from this dull discontent. Take the edge off. Settle into the mundane. The meaningless.
We were not made for the mundane. We were not created for the meaningless. We were uniquely formed with care and precision to be passionate and alive, to crave something outside of ourselves that would fill us from the bottom up, filled to overflowing. God created us for Himself. He purposed us to fill the hole inside with Himself. His love. His grace. His life.
We don’t have to live life just trying to take the edge off. We don’t have to live just getting by, hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.
There are three ways we can stop striving and truly become fulfilled.
Stop looking for your fulfillment on the outside.
You will never find the answers you are looking for, you will never find healing or peace from work, from busyness, even from the dearest of friends. They cannot fill you, fix you, or complete you. External things serve to numb you, to distract you, to keep you far from the place where your heart longs to be filled. Quiet yourself. Breathe deeply. Settle into the silence.
Your healing, your peace, your fulfillment always lies within.
Look inside. Come face to face with yourself. Your emotions. Your wounds. Don’t numb them. Take them to the only place that can heal, fill, and satisfy. That place is the sacred place inside where God dwells. Psalm 147:3 says, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal stated,
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
Pursue a life of passion and purpose.
We were not meant to exist. We were not created for the status quo. We were designed to grow —spiritually and emotionally. Pursue a radical relationship with Christ. Get to know Him. Spend time with Him. Read His word.
Look around you for areas you can grow, for ways you can stretch outside your comfort zone and expand your natural curiosities. Curiosities that are invested in allow our passions to grow, skills to sharpen, excitement about life to flourish. Along the way we discover a purpose that is greater than ourselves, and broadens the boundaries of our God-given potential. There is nothing better.
 Blaise Pascal, Pensees (New York; Penguin Books, 1966) 75.