This post on How To Find Fulfillment In Life was written by Jeffrey Chen, who is pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeffrey has a passion for sharing God’s love with those around him.
There’s a big problem with our society’s idea of how to find fulfillment in life. We believe it’s all about being successful. Success will bring us happiness and fulfillment! But that is simply not the case. Just look at the two recent tragic deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Two widely “successful” people who had everything they could have ever wished for and more! They were both extremely wealthy people. However, most of us are hopefully aware by now that money itself can’t buy happiness. It just doesn’t work because no matter how big your house is, how many cars you have, how expensive your clothing is, it is never enough. There is always a bigger house, a nicer car, a better outfit.
But, if not money and material things, then what will fill us up? Passion? If you wake up everyday doing what you’re passionate about, then you’ll be happy, right? Apparently not. Anthony Bourdain had a passion for food and traveling, and his job was to eat whatever he wanted wherever he wanted! Kate Spade had a passion for fashion, and started her own fashion design company that grew into millions! Yet, they tragically decided to end their own lives. Now, while I don’t want to make any assumptions about the lives of Mr. Bourdain or Mrs. Spade, as I obviously don’t know them personally or exactly what they were struggling with, it appears they both dealt with serious mental illness and depression. The question then becomes why? Why were they so unhappy if they were doing what they loved each and everyday?
To be clear, I am far from a mental health expert and understand that numerous factors (whether biological or environmental) can contribute to the development of a mental disorder. At the same time, Mr. Bourdain and Mrs. Spade were seemingly living the dream, yet could no longer bear living anymore. They had reached the top, yet somehow still felt empty inside. Does that scare you? Because it should. What dreams and goals do you have? How would it feel if you finally had your dream house, car, job, spouse, etc., and still felt unfulfilled? I think it would be awful. What would you do with the rest of your life knowing nothing you could do would ever bring you happiness? I am not saying this was the cause of their struggles, but I do think Mr. Bourdain and Mrs. Spade struggled with this question.
Is life meaningless? Is there no way to achieve fulfillment in life? I don’t believe so. I believe we all have a hole in our heart that can’t be filled with money, things, or even doing what makes us happy! No, this hole can only be filled by love. And not any ordinary love. Not the love a friend or family member can give you, a partner can give you, or even a dog can give you! Humans (and animals!) can provide tremendous amounts of love, but nothing in comparison to the love of God. I believe every human being’s deepest desire, above all else, is to be fully known and fully loved, and to me that is something only God can provide. Sure, you may have people who know you pretty dang well and still love you for who you are, and don’t take that for granted. However, I believe God knows you better than you know yourself, the good and the not so good (freakyyy), yet still loves you unconditionally. He loves you so much he even sent his one and only Son Jesus as a sacrifice so that we may not die but instead have eternal life. We just have to accept His love! By no means do you have to agree with me, but this is just what I believe. While God does not promise you an easy life, He will give you the life you are searching for.
Also, please understand that I do not take mental health lightly. I do not mean to say that a faith in God is the cure to mental illness. Unfortunately, suffering is a part of life. Rather, I believe God provides hope amid suffering. That being said, please seek help if you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness or contemplating suicide. We need to end the stigma of mental health. It’s ok to not be ok. You never really know what somebody else is going through unless you ask them and others will never really know what you’re going through unless you tell them.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
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