Finding Fulfillment in Following God

How do you know if you are seeking God in your life? Did you even know He was missing?

You are definitely seeking something. So, how do you know if it is Him, or something less than Him?

What are you looking for?

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” – John 1:38

Have you ever considered that what you are pursuing is not actually going to fulfill you?

What are you looking for? Seek God

Are you truly seeking God?

You must love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. – Matthew 22:37

There is only one question you need to ask yourself to find out if you are genuinely seeking God in your life:

Is finding God, and/or growing closer to God, more important to you than everything else in your life

I’m asking very seriously! Is seeking God more important than your family, your friends, your job, your coworkers, your money, your comfort, your health, your appearance, and what you think will bring you happiness? (ie. Would you rather be on good terms with God, or your parents, spouse, or boss? Would you rather seek God than earn money?  Would you rather find God and live in poverty or live in comfort without Him?)

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already blazing! […] Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Luke 12: 49, 51

But aren’t those things good?

Yes! They are good and beautiful things given to us by God, but they can never come before Him.  If anything gets in the way of our Relationship with God, it is no longer good. All things are good only inasmuch as they are in right relationship to the God who is goodness Himself.

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What stops us from seeking God?

But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. – Matthew 6:33

1) Worries about losing family

Unfortunately, some people’s families of origin are highly prejudiced against Christianity, especially radical Christianity (You know, the kind that actually IMPACTS your life!).

This is a valid “worry”.

It is right that you should care about your family, what they think, and keeping family unity… but, if God is calling you to Himself, which He is, then He will work it out…

You might be surprised, either they won’t mind as much as you think they will, or, despite the initial reaction, your life will be a witness to them and may, one day, bring your family members to a new appreciation of the importance of God in their life as well. At the very least you will be a witness to them even if they try their best to shun you.

Worst case scenario?

Your family actually DOES shut you out for your life choice. The good news is that you will be “rewarded a hundredfold” (Matthew 19:29) and you will still have a family – a spiritual one, but no less close; in fact, maybe even closer.

Still need one more reason to choose God?

People have left family for a lot worse reasons: military, “foolish” love choices, careers, etc.

What is your priority?

He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves His son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37-38)

Read also:

worry, seek him, find Him, Anxiety, Fear, courage, love casts out fear (3)

2) Worries about losing friends

What will my friends think if, all the sudden, I care more about God than them?  What will they think if I don’t have as much time any more for coffee dates because I need to spend time in prayer? What if I no longer go to a dozen mom’s groups, spend all day texting, or hang out at bars or clubs every weekend because I feel Him calling me to a more spiritual use of my time?

All valid concerns.

Full disclosure… All these worries WILL happen if you take “seeking God” seriously.

You just have to decide if it is worth it to you.

This does NOT mean we will never have friends or that God doesn’t want us to interact with other people. It just means that your friendships will become less superficial and more intentional rather than a coping mechanism or a crutch.

This is because He wants you to value the friendship He is offering you.

Do you believe that He wants to be your friend?  Do you know what a friendship with Him can be like!?!?!

He never takes anything away out of spite, but only to give you back something a million times greater. It may sound cliche, but He will give you Himself if you allow Him to, and that, my friend, will be the best and most fulfilling friendship you can have possibly ever experienced.

3) Worries about Him taking over your time

Also, a valid worry (because it will happen – it just won’t be as horrible as we envision).

I get it… I’ve been there. I empathize in a VERY REAL way. In fact, I still complain at Him for giving me more to do than what I have time for. Sometimes I cry. I rebel. I can even get angry with Him for asking so much of me. And yet, somehow, it all gets done. (Read also: I don’t have time for this!)

We think we are too busy for God. We think we deserve a little R&R. What harm could there possibly in “vegging out” to a little entertainment every once in a while?

But – and this is the key!…

Christ said that He would give us rest (Matthew 11:28). (On the plus side, sometimes He does give us Netflix, but, typically it comes in the form of more Spiritual Consolations).

He knows we “labor and are heavy burdened” (Matthew 11:28). He knows our need for rest is real, thus, He WILL give it to us (even if it doesn’t look the same as you imagined).

Do you trust Him?

4) Worries about money or your job

Will spending less time, focus, or energy at the office in order to give more to God prevent me from getting promotions or being able to provide as much for my family? What if we are genuinely in a financial pinch? You know this is important. You even know it is irresponsible not to be concerned about it. But, there is a point when concern starts to control you.  Worry is debilitating and can make you feel trapped into doing things for the wrong reasons.  Really, it all comes back down to trust.

Remember the Lilies of the Field – Matthew 6:28.

God knows even more than we do how much supporting our families is important. Therefore, if He is asking something of you, you can know that He will make sure you are taken care of.

worry, seek him, find Him, Anxiety, Fear, courage, love casts out fear

5) Worries about losing your spouse or love relationship.

Are you Spiritually Single?

There are some relationships in which the spouses aren’t spiritually on the same page, or even desirous of being so. It’s called being “Spiritually Single”.

This is extremely difficult and painful, but still not a good reason to choose against seeking God above all else.

Even in the worst case scenario where the other spouse leaves, you are giving witness to them of the proper prioritization of life. We can only hope that our steadfast witness may help them to eventually come round to accepting, and potentially even embracing your position.

In the end, however, their response does not matter.

You cannot change them.

But, your choice will change you!

“Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?  – John 6:67-68

Living your Spirituality with your spouse

On the other hand, when both spouses are open to a relationship with God and seeking it, either separately or together, they naturally grow even closer to one another (as paradoxical as it may seem). You may have seen the popular triangular diagram of the spouses in right relationship to God… With God as the apex of the triangle, the spouses can only grow closer together as they grow closer to God.  If you have never experienced this, you may have difficulty believing it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Try it and see what happens!

How does this apply if you are still unmarried?

If a couple is still unmarried and are getting more serious in their relationship, they might need to ask themselves and each other if they are interested in seriously seeking a relationship with God, individually and together.

If one of the parties is closed or uninterested, this should cause serious pause in the relationship.

You may need to re-asses your priorities. Is seeking God what you want? Are you really willing to put Him above all else?

Choosing Him might make the other partner realize the gravity of the issue and re-assess their own position on the subject…. either that or save you from the pain of a Spiritually Single marriage.

6) Worry in general

Worry suggests that you believe you are in charge of your happiness. It puts responsibility on you to make yourself happy.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like that’s a lot of pressure!

How do you know if what you think will make you happy actually will or not?  Since you cannot see your own future, how can you know if you truly know best?

When you love someone, you want what is best for them. You want them to be happy.  Thus, it follows that, if God loves you, He too wants the best for you and desires your happiness. He can see all the potential paths of your future. He created you and knows you better than you know yourself.  It only makes sense to trust Him.

Other worries?

The reason it is so hard to let go of worry is because we worry about GOOD THINGS!!!

It is good to care about family, friends, your relationship, your income, and the way you use your time. Without a small amount of this healthy “worry” we might make really dumb decisions in our lives…

The problem arises when we worry too much and hold ourselves back from going beyond our imagination into the world of happiness God has planned for us – An infinite, heavenly happiness that our finite minds cannot even begin to comprehend.

God's plans, God's will, happiness

What if what you think is great, really is great, but it’s not as great as something greater!?! – The Wedding Planner

Don’t let “good things” keep you from seeking God.

seeking God - priorities - quote

Read also:

Why seek God?

How do you know He will make you happy unless you try it? Allow Him to “rank” higher than your relentless pursuit of all the “good” things this world has to offer for a time! It is only in letting go of control that we discover that He can and will take care of what is truly important.

More reasons…

He alone can fill you. He is literally your beginning and your end, the One who makes sense of everything and knows you better than you know yourself… He loves you more than any finite human being could ever possibly love you and, thereby, gives you purpose, meaning and value. Besides all this, He is the only one who can read your mind and know your soul, and He always has time for you. He never forgets and never has anything more pressing to do than be with you, to love you, to listen to you, to think of you and to hold you.

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. – Matthew 7:11

7 steps to seek God more closely

  1. Make a list of the things that you are afraid to let go of
  2. Explain to Him why they worry you or are important to you (journaling is very helpful here). Sometimes getting this out helps clear your mind to see more clearly.
  3. Ask Him which ones are truly worth worrying about and which are more superficial – genuinely
  4. Let Him respond to you – this may take time and some help practicing silence – He may respond to you in a variety of ways (For help, read also: Using a Prayer Journal to Listen to God, Listening to God in a World Full of Noise, How to Cultivate a Love of Quiet)
  5. Entrust to Him one thing you are worried about that keeps you from seeking Him. Confide in Him your worries. Don’t be afraid to ask Him if He  is willing to take care of you and what you care about. You can ask Him also if you can trust Him with what matters to you.
  6. Change one aspect of your life to reflect that trust you gave in Step #5.. (Ie. if you found that your job or your relationship was keeping you from God: quit, break up, take a sabbatical, a hiatus. Do something to show God that He truly does matter and that all your talk wasn’t just talk.
  7. Repeat Steps 5-6 as many times as it takes for as long as it takes. Your life is like layers of an onion. You will find that you need to peel back many layers before reaching the core. This is a lifelong process, it won’t happen over night but with simple steps, it WILL happen!

Seeking God in the Gospels

The Rich, Young Man

He too longed for more. He knew that he had been “good” his whole life (keeping the commandments, etc), but he also knew that something was missing.  When he finally got to the heart of the matter:

Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)

The Apostles

Contrast the story of the Rich, Young man with that of the apostles who dropped their nets, left their father in the boat and immediately followed after Him (Matthew 4:20).

Will you seek Him?

Who are you in this story?

Are you the rich young man who wants to do more but when you realize what it costs, you walk away sad?

Or, do you want a life filled with passion, zeal, purpose and fulfillment “in spite of dungeon, fire and sword”? A life of miracles that surpass the persecution, a peace that this world cannot give, and strength that can only come from following Christ?

Comment Below: How is He calling you to seek Him more sincerely today? How has seeking Him brought you more fulfillment/happiness in your life? 

#ParticularlyCALLED #Togetherinthetrenches #IamCALLED

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