If you had asked me 10 years ago what it would take for me to reach my dreams, I probably would have said what a lot of writers say: I wanted a book deal, the ability to write for publications that I love and the chance to make a living as a writer.
I was just starting out a decade ago, and those things seemed light-years away. I was sending articles into the black hole of the internet, pitching book proposals that never saw the light of day and making zero dollars as a writer.
I could imagine no higher satisfaction than seeing my name on the cover of a book and making real money doing what I loved. In the meantime, my lack of satisfaction with my then-current situation led me to pursue further schooling, more writing opportunities and a job in the publishing industry.
Fast-forward to today. I’m living the dream I wanted so much: I have a book deal, the opportunity to write for publications I respect, and the freedom to write and teach others about writing as my full-time gig. But you know what?
I’m still not satisfied.
I got what I wanted. I reached my dreams. But none of these things have brought me deep satisfaction. Instead, I now have other goals as a writer, new things that I want to achieve.
This is a bell that’s ringing throughout our generation. Even when we achieve what we dreamed about, we’re not fully satisfied. We’re always off to pursue the next dream, the next opportunity.
Is something wrong with us when our dreams don’t fulfill us in the way we hoped they would? When they don’t satisfy us in the way we imagined they could?
No. Satisfaction is an elusive rabbit to chase; it shouldn’t surprise us that we struggle to be satisfied.
The Elusive Chase for Satisfaction
We see it in the lives of celebrities who have everything we don’t—and yet they’re still chasing more money and more fame. Athletes who win championships—or gold medals—rarely hang up their career after one win. They want to win again. Millionaires aren’t content with their first million—they want multiple millions in their bank accounts.
Why are we so difficult to please? Why is satisfaction such a mysterious prize we can never seem to grasp?
Because that’s how God made us. He made us with insatiable dreams and desires that can’t be satisfied by earthly goods or worldly success.
And although it might not feel like it, it is God’s love toward us that keeps us from earthly satisfaction. It’s his kindness. Why? Because the longing that we feel for satisfaction is meant to point us toward the only thing that truly will quench our thirst for meaning and joy: relationship with Christ.
The Gift of Failed Dreams
The fulfillment of our earthly dreams can—and often will—bring us happiness. I’ve experienced a lot of happiness in reaching my writing goals, but I’m not deeply content with my life because of them. That’s because our dreams are meant to fail us; they’re meant to let us down. They’re meant to ultimately disappoint us because they won’t ever satisfy the deep longing of our heart.
God alone can do that: “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9). Fame and fortune might make us feel important for a little while, but only in relationship with God will we know true pleasure and abiding joy: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).
So is it worth it to pursue our dreams? I think so, especially if they line up with our callings. It’s good to have goals and to take steps toward making those goals happen. But to expect our dreams to satisfy us is like expecting sand to quench our thirst—we’re looking in the wrong place.
It’s a gift to us when our dreams let us down. It means that we can look to the right place for true satisfaction and find what we actually want and truly need—relationship with Jesus, the One who satisfies every thirst, desire, and yearning.
Author’s Note: If you’re a writer who wants to intentionally grow in your writing while keeping Christ at the center of your work, join us at www.WritingwithGrace.com and use the code RELEVANTwriter to save 10 percent off the cost of the course.