I was born in 1985 to young parents who didn’t have the smallest clue as to how to raise a child. They did the best they could with what they had and what they knew. What I am about to share is not to reflect poorly on them but to display God’s goodness and grace in my life.
I would say that I would not sum up my youth as a happy one. There were lots of things missing and lots of hurt. Sure, there were good times and good memories but I am sure that most of us, or for a lot of us, the unfortunate things stand out most.
This post was inspired by the sermon we heard at church yesterday morning called The Pleasure Experiment based on Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. You can listen to that sermon here. In a nut shell, the sermon was about how we seek pleasure of all kinds to satisfy the “emptiness” inside of us. I am sure you can relate that those moments of satisfaction, only lead to momentary happiness. We are left still feeling empty, unsatisfied and unfulfilled. That is, until we find the true satisfaction and fulfilment in Christ Jesus.
At age 8, I tried my first cigarette.
At age 9, I had my first sip of alcohol.
At age 12, I discovered the Hair Straightener. God’s gift to girls with curly hair. Hopefully this will help to defuse some of the bullying and ridicule I suffered throughout my life based on my appearance.
At age 13, I got my first job. I spent all of my money to dress in the latest fashions so that one day, hopefully I will be accepted and fit in. I will be popular.
At age 13, I became intoxicated for the first time and I also smoked Pot for the first time.
At age 14, I began to indulge in all of these activities on a regular basis well into my college years. I was becoming popular.
At age 16, I gave my “flower” to someone I barely even knew.
At age 17, Pot wasn’t enough and I started to dabble in the world of hallucinogens. I became obsessed with my recent weight loss and loved the attention I was receiving from others based on my new body. Wow, it feels good to finally feel pretty.
At age 18, I continued in my drug, lust, sex and idolatrous lifestyle. I began to live a double life and hurt many of the people I cared about. I could not wait to leave my home and move onto better things. Until then, I would spend every night with my boyfriend. I lost my first job and started to rack up credit card bills to support my lifestyle until I found another job to pay for it.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
At age 19, God answered the many tear filled prayers I prayed throughout my life. He brought me to himself through amazing Godly people who had a heart for the lost. I became a member of God’s family in the spring of 2004 (This may sound cultish to those of you reading who are familiar with church lingo so in short, this just means that I became a Christian). I have never felt truly satisfied or indescribably joyful then the moment that I accepted Jesus to be my Lord and savior.
Yes, I am still a human (or “sinner” for more Church lingo) and often look to the world and the “things” in the world to satisfy my lusts and desires. But I know that it is only Jesus Christ who can fully satisfy and bring me true pleasure in my life. Psalm 16:11 says:
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Thank you Jesus. I can stop searching and trying to fill myself with every worldly desire to try to make my life “happy” and meaningful. I know that it is not the new living room sofa, the new home with that open floor plan I have always wanted, it is not those super cute Frye Riding Boots that would look awesome with my new jeans. No, none of those things will satisfy me the way that you can and do. You are more than enough.
Please Lord, help me to remember these truths on a daily basis when I am tempted to be discontent with where I am and what I have. You have given me everything I need in your son Jesus. Amen.