Finding Fulfillment When We Want More Out Of Life
Posted by Kaley Thompson On my drive into work, the radio host recalled an untypical story about the first Academy Award Matt Damon ever won. He had worked years on Good Will Hunting and he finally accomplished the thing he’d dreamed of since he was a boy. And after all the parties and the celebrating, he lay in bed that night and couldn’t sleep. He stared at his award and knew that this couldn’t be it. There had to be more to life.
We’ve all hit that award-staring place. We win the championship, we finally graduate, we get the spouse we’ve been desiring, that corner office now has our name on the door. We reach whatever goal we had and we find ourselves thinking there has to be more. How frustrating is that? We have what we’ve worked so hard for, what we’ve always wanted, and it’s not enough? So what is enough? What is the more we want out of life? To have spent so much time creating fantasy worlds, L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, has an incredibly real answer. He says, “If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.” So it’s not that there is more to life. The secret that society won’t tell you is that what we have is enough.
So, next time you find yourself award-staring, here are a few reminders to help you find fulfillment in what’s right in front of you:
Contentment isn’t something to condemn, it’s a virtue to cherish. Media, the work world, Instagram. Everything pretty much tells us to want more, do more, and find something better. However, an apostle named Paul said, “I have learned to be content in any and every situation… (Philippians 4:12)” This was a man who was beaten up and thrown in prison and still found a way to find good in all the bad. He was fighting for his faith and that was all he needed. The cure for feeling like we’re coming up short is to count our blessings. Contentment will develop out of looking at the “back yard” Baum was talking about (or our prison cells) and having the extraordinary perspective shift that there is a great purpose in our placement. We are meant to be here. Right here. For a reason.
Trophies don’t last but memories do. Yea, we may not be Academy Award winners but we have accomplished things. Growing up, I won all these cool ribbons as a swimmer and I hung them up on my mirror. Then I grew a little older and I put them in a box. Then I grew even older and now I have no recollection of where that box even is. But I daily recall the lessons of teamwork and perseverance. Those will stay with me forever. So it’s not the achievement that really means something. It’s what we learned along the journey of reaching our goals that resonate with us and make us who we are. So take a moment and remember all the messy, crazy effort it took to get right here. Treasure those trials and triumphs more than the trophy.
There will always be something else you can accomplish and some way to improve your life. But there will not be another moment like the one you’re in. To live it to the fullest, overflow your thoughts with the fact that God can do incredible things through you where you’re at with what you have. That awards collect dust but memories become golden lessons over time. And that there isn’t necessarily more to life, just there is more to your beautiful life than you first recognized.
Kaley Thompson is the chief storyteller at People of the Second Chance. She lives in Charlotte, NC and wears a sparkly motorcycle helmet.