On This Brief Life, Happiness, and the "Bucket List"

I used to have what might be called a preliminary "bucket list" - a list of things I wanted to do while still on this earth. The list was mostly travel related - places I wanted to visit around the world - some on mission trips; some just for an amazing vacation.  I truly longed and hoped and yearned to have these travel experiences some day. Sometimes I would spend hours researching and planning and budgeting for the next unique vacation destination.

Then one day, in my time of prayer and quiet time, I felt the Lord reveal to me this truth in my heart and in my soul - "When you come into the Kingdom of God, you will be able to have all those experiences, if you even still wish for them, plus so much more. The experiences you desire are nothing compared to what I have planned for you."

Needless to say,  I don't have a bucket list of vacation and travel plans anymore. I have no "must see," nor "must do"  nor "must experience" list.  The desires for those experiences literally evaporated on that day; and I no longer yearn for earthly travel experiences any longer...not even a drop of yearning remains.

I do want to be clear that this is just my personal testimony, and I'm sharing one way by which God worked in me for His purposes. It is not a judgment on anyone who still has a bucket list of experiences they want to have in this life. See this list of travel and vacation plans was not merely a wish list for me; it was a focus of pursuit that God knew wouldn't ultimately provide the joy of experience or satisfaction I was thinking it would provide.

However - too often, even as Christians, we still treat this life as if it is all there is; even though we know the truth and the promise that there is more, much more - beyond our comprehension. We then spend much of our time toiling for things that have no real eternal meaning or significance.

There is a field of study in research psychology on how to find happiness. One of the conclusions these psychologists have come to is this: we are most happy when we are seeking a goal; but very shortly after we gain that goal, we tend to experience a renewed sense of dissatisfaction. This is a cycle of desire and dissatisfaction that seems to be embedded within us. We need a new goal then to continue the pursuit of happiness; which will be followed by a loss of that satisfaction. Rinse and Repeat.

 It is the cycle of pursuing satisfaction, reaching whatever it was and feeling satisfied for a time; but then realizing that the joy does not last.

I wish I could explain how I was able to escape this cycle. I wish I could share a step by step plan for you. I wish I could write a book titled: 6 Steps to Being Fully and Deeply Satisfied in Life and Finding a Deep Peace and Unshakeable Joy.  But I can't give you a road map. Because I didn't do anything within my own abilities to escape this pursuit-satisfaction-disappointment cycle. I did not overcome it on my own.

One day, the Holy Spirit pricked my heart during a Wednesday evening church service. (You can read about what happened to me in my  book, Closer to God.) I decided to truly seek the Lord with all my heart and with everything I had. I had already been identifying myself as a Christian for many years.  On this day,  I decided to fully seek the Lord and His Ways, and He rescued me from any desire to participate in this ongoing cycle. He rescued me from it by deeply embedding in my heart and in my soul a different perspective. And He gave me this gift - this new way of seeing - in a single day. The amazing thing is this: I did not even know that I needed to be rescued from this cycle. But God knew; and He rescued.

I write this to encourage any one who believes in Christ to stay close to God, and to never wander far from Him. As much as possible, practice His presence. If you do not yet believe, seek Him. If you feel a pinch of wonder about what I have written here; then consider that the Spirit is prompting you...and seek out what it is God wants you to know. We think we know what our problems in life are; but we have problems and mindsets and ways of thinking that we don't even realize we need to be rescued from. And these mindsets and ways of thinking are actually what we most need to be rescued from. We cannot change what we do not see nor perceive. We need God for this type of rescue.

When we just seek Him - he leads the way to a deep and permanent joy and peace that cannot be taken away. Over time, he gives us everything we need and desire; and surprisingly, we come to learn that what we truly need and desire are not the things that we once thought.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, 
and He will give you everything you need." - Matthew 6:33

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined 
what God has prepared for those who love Him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today

If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ. There are also 14 videos that go along with this book on this blog here: Teachings of Jesus videos

The author also interacts with her readers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GospelLifeBooks

Author's other books can  be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans