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We all long for a deep connection with some ‘one’, or some ‘thing’. There’s the idea that if we could just find this one person, group, or perhaps even an issue to champion for and join, that would bring us fulfilment.
But does it?
What if everything we need for true fulfilment is obtainable, without having to create an account on Match.com, or having to buy the latest gadgets, or always having to find your next project, or…
What if all the necessities for fulfilment are right in front us, as opposed to some imagined ideal future?
What if the idea of that “significant other” who will be absolutely perfect for us and who will fulfil our every need, is, in the end, just a fantasy?
What if that perfect hobby that will bring us joy and happiness, even if it’s a good and wholesome hobby, is just distracting us from what really is important?
What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a perfect future and then instead focus on finding fulfilment in the here and now, within ourselves … and through God?
Where We Get Fulfilment
Another person will never completely fulfil us. Yes, they can give companionship and support in this life. They can help us to be a better person. They may listen to us and help us when in need. All of these are wonderful things. But they will never completely fulfil us.
The only thing that can ever give us true fulfilment is a relationship with God.
Why do I know this? Because I have spent many years trying to find fulfilment where it doesn’t exist. And I have met many people throughout my life also trying to find their fulfilment through relationships, hobbies, causes, and even addictions. And if you ask them if they’re truly happy and fulfiled, the true answer is always, without fail, ‘no’.
Conversely, I know people that try to seek their fulfilment through Christ. Do they suffer? Have hardships? They sure do. But the more they strive to be in a complete union with God, not only are they able to better handle their sufferings and hardships, but they also find fulfilment in knowing they are doing it all for God.
When we live an active interior life (communicating with God) we benefit greatly by developing a close relationship, a friendship, with Him. Especially when we learn to direct our mind and heart to Him often throughout our day.
Searching for Fulfilment in the Wrong Places
There have been times in my life when I have backslid a bit. OK, a lot.
I have found myself trying to find complete fulfilment in relationships and hobbies and in ‘things’. My strong conviction and practice of simplicity has at times taken a bit of a wrong turn.
I haven’t always been aware at the time, but now I see that I was trying to find fulfilment where true fulfilment can’t be found. I failed.
But with each failure, I know I must get back up again and just keep going. Not dwell on the failure, but look up and walk on.
In getting back up, I realize that fulfilment comes from something deeper — much deeper. It comes from finding appreciation for our every moment, whether it’s fun and interesting, basic, mundane, or by being in the service of others.
And to find this fulfilment, we don’t require a companion, a hobby, a vacation, or even a cause to champion. We find it through and with God.
It’s when we centre our occupations and activities around Christ, that we find true fulfilment. And with such an interior life, we no longer become disturbed by the lack of people or things around us, nor by the difficulties and trials which inevitability come our way.
God is always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you. And when you are trying to enter into union with Him — in a relationship with Him, it’s then that you will know His joy because you will become profoundly aware of the gift that every moment of your day is — because it’s from Him.
Never let any lack of person, place, or thing diminish your peace, gratitude and fulfilment. You can, and should, certainly be glad and thankful for all of the people and necessities of life that you do have around you; but don’t rely on them to bring you true fulfilment.
Instead, try hard to make God your main interest and your highest desire. It’s only with Him that you will find the ultimate fulfilment and joy, the all-satisfying goal that each person seeks in life.
For me, when I notice I’m backsliding, I try hard to make an effort to get back on track and not focus on the backslide itself. Keep my eyes focused upward.
To always strengthen and grow in my friendship with God.
And I look forward to the day when I will be living my life in perfect companionship with Christ, so that I may live and do all things for the highest of reasons — to please Him, and not myself.
And that is where true fulfilment is found, my friends.
Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog GrowInVirtue.com, and is the author of The Quest for Virtue, both which focus on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him, hands dirty, in his garden. You can find him on Facebook, too.