Misplaced Satisfaction

You know those tough, but valuable lessons I mentioned in my last post? Oh boy, here is one of them, a BIG one of them.

Understanding this will help you understand a bit better where I’m coming from. Actually, my lack of understanding of this lesson in particular, was, I learned, a huge part of what caused failure in many of my relationships (of all kinds). Da da da daaa. Ya. Yucky. Trust me, I know. But, by God’s grace, He showed me–there’s that incredible love of His I talked about that I don’t always like at the time; but that love never fails to be beautiful, is always perfect, and of course, plays a role in creating me into the woman I am meant to me. Painful as it might be (though love and grace ALWAYS cushion that pain).

Ok, here goes. I’m learning that pride is actually misplaced satisfaction. Let me explain. Satisfaction in anything other than Christ is turning to yourself or other things for fulfillment, when the only true, fulfilling satisfaction comes from the very nature of who Christ is, nothing else. So, in turn, pride is a form of unbelief—it is a lack of trust in His love, His grace, His ability to satisfy. Let that sink in for a moment. Ya, I just drew the connection between pride and unbelief. Yikes. (Adapted from John Piper’s book Battling Unbelief.)

So, if pride is misplaced satisfaction, then everyone must struggle with placing their satisfaction somewhere other than Christ, right? To get you thinking, I’ll explain where I struggle with placing mine. Here’s my problem —I figured out that I tend to place my satisfaction in, and gain fulfillment from people and relationships. Not necessarily only romantic relationships, but any form of relationships—friendships, family, even acquaintances. I love being around people, spending time with people, talking to people, I’m a total people person! (Hear me out, there is nothing wrong with this in moderation). I’m happy when my relationships are going well, when my time is filled with things to do, and I absolutely can’t stand it when they aren’t going well. People have a huge effect on me. (If you know me at all, I’m sure you are laughing right about now.) It’s always been a joke among my friends and family that I hate being by myself, but not until recently did I realize that it’s actually a weakness of mine. When people have that much of an influence on you, they begin to control your mood, your actions, your thoughts, and slowly but surely my life became people-centered, not Christ centered.  Are you beginning to see how this is misplaced satisfaction? Oh boy, not good at all. (If your struggle isn’t with people and relationships, then I challenge you to think of where it might be.)

So…Confession. Part of this whole relying on people thing manifested itself in romantic relationships. L
et me say this, placing my contentment in a guy was incredibly unfair to anyone in a relationship with me. 
Ok, time for some serious girl talk. GIRLS, we especially are horrible at this placing our satisfaction in a guy thing. This is the kind of thing that makes boys run, it so SO unattractive. Oh come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Getting clingy, wanting a hug at just the right moment (and getting upset if he doesn’t pick up on our subtle little signals), wanting him to know exactly what we are thinking (seriously boys can’t read minds??), wanting him to say the perfect thing at the perfect time, you name it.  Sound familiar? Well, duh, when we are seeking our satisfaction in a guy, of course, we need him to be perfect! We will have unrealistic expectations, disappointment will devastate, not having all his time to ourselves will destroy us. So, what do we do to combat our disappointments? Well, naturally, we follow in Eve’s obedient, godly footsteps (ahem, dripping with sarcasm.) We manipulate. We play mind games. We use tears. We use fights. We are ridiculous. Let me give you a picture of how this plays out. You name it, we cause an argument over it, because he isn’t fulfilling us…we start ridiculous arguments to put up walls to see if he cares enough to break those walls down and pursue us. And then when he ultimately doesn’t fulfill us, we essentially self-medicate and move on to the next one. Yikes again. No wonder guys call us confusing, have commitment issues, and don’t have a clue what to do with us at times.

Nothing will kill a relationship faster than this. Seeking satisfaction in a human being is not only bound to fail and too much pressure for one person to handle, but it is unattractive and annoying.

When we turn to guys to fulfill our emotional needs we get crazy!—We have a constant need for reassurance. I, for one, became needy, insecure, and vulnerable in relationships. Oh. My. Gosh. The words are bitter on my own tongue. I swore I’d never be THAT girl. Oh and it frustrated me that’s who I was turning into because that wasn’t me! I mean come on. I’ve always been a strong independent person, so what happened?? Correction, I was always a strong independent person when my satisfaction was found in something steadfast, unchanging, eternal, and perfectly loving; and when my trust was entirely in God’s grace and His plan for my life. But somewhere along the line I didn’t understand that, and I’m afraid so many girls do the same exact thing.

Let me be clear, I will always be a people person. I will always be energized by being around people. But too much of that is dangerous, and completely unfair to those relationships. It puts a massive amount of pressure on people to be perfect, to never disappoint, to never let you down. Oh, and they always will disappoint. They always will let you down. They are only human; perfection is an entirely unfair expectation.  So here’s what I learned, Christ is enough! His Word is enough. His love is enough. His provision for my life is enough. His sovereignty is enough. His grace in my life is enough. His grace is perfect–that means where He has me right now is not a mistake. The trials I have gone through and will go through are not mistakes. He knows exactly where He wants to take me in life and who He wants me to become, and I’m right on track. His grace for my life, in spite of me, is PERFECT. All of a sudden, a long delay in the grocery line isn’t an inconvenience, because it could be protection from a car accident, or a providential meeting with someone. All of a sudden, a break-up isn’t a bad thing, it’s because He has a different plan–better than you could ever imagine! All of a sudden, little inconveniences and big disappointments alike are part of a bigger plan and purpose. (If this intrigues you, please read John Piper’s Battling Unbelief book, it’s incredible.)

And let me tell you, when you focus on that, it will change your whole way of thinking. Suddenly, people won’t control you. Suddenly, everything fades, it becomes dim in the light of HIM, His glory, His love. It changed me. Suddenly this world fell to second best, not most important. It created in me an ability to occasionally be by myself, to be content in my circumstances, to become a strong person again, to be satisfied in the depth of Christ’s love (not myself, my happiness, other people, or constantly filling my time with things other than Christ), and it is a beautiful thing unlike anything I’ve ever known before. All this dependence on people (or for you, other things) is not only shockingly empty and unsatisfying, it has proven to disguise my need for Christ. 

Now that I understand this, I cannot express to you the depth of contentment in my relationship with Christ I’ve experienced, and as a result, depth of peace I’ve understood like never before. And that love, contentment, and peace surpasses any human relationship I’ve ever had or ever will have–It is a quiet confidence in His love for me and provision for my life, and well, simply, his very nature.

The most exciting part of all this is the outcome. When my relationship with Christ is all that it should be, when I am filled up and entirely content and satisfied in His love for me, in the fact that I am His child, THAT is when I am filled up to enjoy life, to serve and love others—not to take from others, not to be selfish in my relationships, but a free, entirely selfless love. And THAT is where true joy and satisfaction come from.
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2 thoughts on “Misplaced Satisfaction

  1. Good perspective. I'm always looking for new books to read, I'll definitely check out Battling Unbelief sometime. I've heard John Piper quoted a lot and seen some of his stuff, but I haven't read any of his books yet.

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