If I can just get my house perfectly arranged. If I can just buy that new shirt I saw at the store the other day. I only “need” one more pair of shoes. If I can just afford that second home in the mountains. If I could only drive a nicer car. If, if, if…
What if a compulsive focus on exterior looks, purchases, and projects could be a direct reflection of one’s inner chaos? When we compulsively crave exterior tasks or perfection, is it because we don’t have inner peace? Do we try to create on the outside what we lack on the inside?
I’m not saying we cannot have nice things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, or take healthy pride in our hygiene and appearance. The word compulsive is why I’m writing this post. Does anyone else have people in their lives who always have something they’re trying to perfect? Do you know those who will actually create more work, seemingly distracting themselves from the world around them, or perhaps even from their world within? Compulsive focus on perfecting one’s external world (purchases, portrayed image, tasks, success, etc.), or always needing an external focal point may signal a deep rooted issue.
Keeping ourselves distracted with constant outer focus doesn’t create peace, it prolongs avoidance. I see so many people, some whom I’m very close to, who consistently focus on the next thing. These people don’t have a pause button for rest or stillness. Frankly, I used to be one of them, as I was always chasing something. I had no time or even awareness of a need to seek internal understanding, healing or peace. I was simply in a state of constant distraction. Always fixing something. Always planning next steps. Always attempting to fill the craving within by chasing something external.
I like a new car smell, don’t get me wrong. I like a new shirt or two, or some new golf shoes (just bought some actually). As silly as this sounds, these things don’t complete me. I’m sure you agree on the surface. Yet the pattern is my focus. The seekers of external JOY, external fulfillment, and external distraction who have a constant repeat button are those I worry about in my life. Before the next Amazon box is on the front doorstep, another box is already being formulated in the cart. The minute the paint is dry on one home project, the next one is being sketched. Before the seat is warm at one’s new job, they’re already open to other opportunities. Bottom line- nothing will ever be enough. Nothing will ever feel just right. The cycle of empty seeking won’t stop until a deeper spiritual awakening occurs- I’m convinced.
I had to go through hard times. I had to go through a ton of healing. I had to be willing to learn amidst chaos. I even had to go through spiritual cleansing before I truly started to grasp what was missing. My constant chase wasn’t necessary at all. I didn’t need the rush, the evening cocktails, or the nicest suits. I needed God, more and more of him….
I worry about the people I care about that are sprinting on the a hamster wheel of life. Constantly focusing on the world over our heart and spirit will never quench our true thirst…
Jesus answered “everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John:4 13-14
I love this biblical analogy for what I’m writing about today. I’m learning, trying and evolving. Some days I’m better than others at leaning into God over chasing something in the world. I suppose I can only continue praying, while seeking His help always, and reading His word. I chased plenty of unhealthy habits, pursuits and even people. Today I try to focus on the water that truly quenches my thirst- Jesus. I pray I can continue to lean more into Him than anything else, which brings more depth to our relationship over time. I pray the same for those in my life who are constantly chasing. I pray the same for any of you who struggle like I have.
Spiritual thirst is quenched one way. Fulfillment is found in one place. The void is filled with our One True God.
What are you chasing that could be replaced with Grace?