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  • Writer's pictureDonna Amidon

When Life Leaves You Empty: Learning to Live for What Matters Most

The other night, my kids were playing the laser pointer game with a dog in our neighborhood. They’d race the little red light down the driveway, amused by the dog’s fun yet frantic attempt to capture the light.

While wrapping up the evening, my neighbor surprised me by saying, “You know, that game can actually be harmful to dogs.”

How? Apparently, the laser light triggers the dog’s predator instinct. However, the dog never experiences the reward of the chase. When the dog thinks he’s captured the light, he’s actually grasped nothing of substance. Then, when the game ends, the dog remains confused and anxious -- continually searching for something he’ll never find.

It’s an endless game of chase without the satisfaction of obtaining.

As the kids and I started walking home, I thought, Isn’t this like the human heart’s attempt to be satisfied by natural things?

We chase things -- the ‘likes’ of others, the career advancement, the better body, the online item, the vacation, the home improvement, etc. -- all while living under the illusion of satisfaction: when I get what I'm chasing, I’ll be satisfied.

The problem is, the satisfaction we anticipated isn’t there.

I’m sure Adam and Eve had a similar realization. The enemy convinced them to take the fruit to fill a seeming deficit in their heart. Consuming the fruit, according to the serpent, promised a better life because it was the means to what they wanted.

However, when they ate the fruit, the promised satisfaction was like the shining laser light on the hard cement sidewalk. It was a mere illusion of satisfaction.

Could it be that we are perpetually pursuing something that is only satisfied through Someone? Jesus’s presence promises peace. His forgiveness removes guilt. His love casts out fears. His resurrection life gives hope. His love heals wounds. His plan promises a good future!

That simple conversation with our neighbor triggered something in my heart. It compelled me to place Jesus at the center of my pursuits.

It made me ask myself these four questions:

What am I chasing? And more importantly, What is at the heart of my pursuits? What word defines what my heart really needs?

How would my life be different if I FIRST went to Christ to satisfy my needs?

Prayer: Father, my heart often feels anxious because I’ve forgotten that YOU satisfy the deepest part of my heart. Forgive me for pursuing things, rather than You. I pray that today I would follow You, be filled by Your peace, satisfied by Your love for me, and calmed by Your presence with me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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