Living a Fulfilled Life

Warning: LOOOONG post ahead :)

While scrolling through Instagram (and procrastinating getting out of bed and starting the day) this morning, I stumbled upon this quote from Stacey Salsbery on the Proverbs 31 Ministries page: 

I suddenly stopped scrolling and really read the quote. Whoa. I need this quote printed out and taped up everywhere in my house. I need this quote tattooed on my forehead. I need to burn this quote into my memory and force myself to remember it every single day. 

I'm a big dreamer. I've always had huge dreams for myself. Sometimes I get a little carried away, struggling to live in the present, because I'm thinking of what I want to do in the future. I could list for you EXACTLY how I want my life to go: I want to buy/build a farmhouse in the middle of the woods with a studio for me to work (as a licensed illustrator/surface pattern designer) where I'll work from home raising our future 3-4 kids (Matt would argue me on that number a little bit..) and several dogs, spending my days working on designs, running a small business, gardening (even though at the moment, I kill every plant I buy), volunteering in an amazing church, and being a loving wife, mother, friend, and human being. 

So. That's a little exhausting to even write. Does anyone else have their entire future mapped out like I do? Hopefully I'm not the only weirdo. The thing is, we have to have goals and dreams to motivate ourselves to reach our greatest potential, succeed in life, and make the world a better place. However, I think we can get to a point where we try to let these dreams dictate our everyday life, and we find ourselves with a never-ending longing that we can't seem to get rid of.

This is gonna get a little deep, y'all. And long. I love thinking and talking about deep stuff, so here we go.

I believe that we, as humans, all have a part of our heart and soul that is missing. Not physically, although I'm sure some people have parts of their heart missing, which must be devastating, but I digress. I think we can all agree that at some points in our lives (or every single day, for some of us) we feel this longing for something more. Think of it like a puzzle with a piece missing. We can't quite figure out exactly what that missing something is. So what do we do? We try to fill that missing area. We try to fit family, friends, a career, hobbies, our appearance, even food, sex, or drugs, into that area, but we always eventually find that they don't fit. There's a specific puzzle piece missing, and we can't just cram anything we want into it. But we try. We read the self-help books. We do the yoga and the meditation and the exercising and the healthy diet and the positive relationships and the traveling, but nothing really fits. There's always still something missing. What if that something is actually a someone? And, no, I don't mean a significant other. Trust me, I love Matt with all my heart, but he doesn't fill this void in my life. Some may think I'm a terrible wife for admitting that, but it's true. You may think another person can fill that void, but I think we always find that it's not the case. Eventually, that void will come back with a vengeance, begging you to figure out how to fill it.

So that's depressing, right? It seems like we're just screwed. Life is all about a void that we can't fill. We live, we try to enjoy life and help those around us, and we die. That's how most people see life.

What if we thought it was gone forever, so after trying to cram other pieces from other puzzles into it, we just gave up? Oh well. Maybe the piece fell under the couch, and we'll find it years from now. Maybe it just never made its way into the puzzle box. Maybe there was an error when the puzzle was being made, and there IS NO piece that fits the area. 

But, what if there actually is a puzzle piece that would fit that area perfectly? 

For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
— Psalm 107: 9 NIV

Maybe the reason why we are always still left longing for something after trying to fix ourselves and our lives is because we aren't allowing Jesus to make a change in our hearts. Maybe we aren't meant to feel "full" with the things of this world. Maybe our family, career, hobbies, dreams, goals, and possessions can't possibly make us fulfilled. And that's okay. Because Jesus can.

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
— Psalm 90:14 NIV
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
— Colossians 1:17 NIV
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:19

Jesus was willing to give His life for us. His perfect, sinless life. He is offering us complete and total peace, joy, love, and contentment if we just allow Him to fill that void in our lives. The thing is, we don't realize just how big this void is. It's massive. And when we truly choose to fit Jesus into that void, we are making Him the center of our lives. And that is when our lives start to change for the better. Maybe our circumstances don't get better, but our reactions and responses to those circumstances will. We will begin to find joy in the heartache. We will begin to find peace in the anxiety. Contentment in the unknown. 

I'm not saying I have this all together. That's definitely NOT true at all. I struggle with doubt, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and impatience almost daily. But that's just it...this is a choice we have to make daily. It will get easier to choose to rest in Him after awhile, but we have to constantly be making the choice to make Him our everything.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
— Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

We don't have to have everything figured out. We don't have to kill ourselves to reach that goal or make that dream come true. Giving up control and trusting in God isn't always easy. In fact, it's often very hard. If you're like me, you love being in control of situations, especially when they pertain to your own life. However, if we choose to follow Jesus, let Him reign in our lives, and trust that He will change us from the inside out, we will find that it's much better (and easier!) to let go of the steering wheel and just rest in Him.

Life is a journey. That's so freaking cheesy, but it's totally true. We are going to grow, learn, and change throughout our lives. We have to decide how we will grow, learn, and change. And we have to decide what (or who) we're going to fill our hearts with.

I want to fill my heart with Jesus.

He's the only piece that will actually fit, after all.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
— John 14:6 ESV
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
— Colossians 1:16-17 ESV