Ever been in the situation where you’ve thought to yourself,
if I only had ________________ things would be better?
Maybe your blank is something fleeting like money. Maybe it’s something a bit more significant like relationships.
I know quite a few people who are stuck trying to fill voids in their lives. Chief among them I’d say is love, and for good reason. Most of us feel empty when we’re alone. Some probably struggle with the looming tick of the proverbial clock. In the pursuit to fill the gap I’ve noticed the way some about filling emptiness is a bit backwards.
When something goes wrong we can easily get caught up in a cycle where we tend to always blame other people for the problem. Conversely, when we’re trying to fill our own voids we tend to rely too heavily on other people to be the solution. For example, someone trying to settle into a long term relationship with the belief a significant other will be the answer.
That might be partly true if you find a great catch, but continually basing our happiness and purpose in other people can translate into a cycle where where we get our hopes up only to be disappointed over and over again.. It can be a disappointing cycle.
Sound like anything you’ve been through before?
What if instead of trying to hurriedly fill empty relationship space with a new warm body we stopped to think….
What is it in my OWNlife that’s missing? And is there anything I can do to grow from it?
Asking this question may reveal that our needs are fueled by unhealthy perceptions of ourselves, among other things.
With what I’ve got, am I reflective of the very things I’d like to receive from another?
There’s a chapter in the Bible that briefly talks about worthy pursuits in life. The list shouldn’t surprise.
Ephesians 4:1-2 – “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Would you define your life using those words? Would others?
I’m always careful with how often I tell people, “go fix yourself” given our highly damaging individualistic society. But sometimes it’s necessary, we have to make room for soul care. But not only that isn’t just derived from a self-help help book we try to apply quietly on our own. Rather, there’s value ‘self help’ within the context of community. (This particular chapter in Ephesians is centrally focused on a community that is itself centered around Jesus.)
It’s a paradox when you think about it.
On one hand, we may not find success in continuously looking around and depending on other people to fill relational voids in our lives. Instead we should look at ourselves and the necessary soul care we need to invest in to be strong individuals who reflect things like humbleness, gentleness, patience, and love. When we build a better picture in ourselves we get a better idea what to capture in others.
On the other hand, pursuing these pieces is hard alone–you really need a community to help you figure it out and live it out. There’s also power in a community that’s simultaneously pursuing and existence to be like Jesus.
It seems there are three integral pieces to the ‘fix you’ puzzle that we need: