Happiness or Fulfillment?

Image by denkendewolke from Pixabay

Image by denkendewolke from Pixabay

“Occasionally in life, there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” Martin Luther King Jr

Introduction 

Many people say, “I just want to be happy.” But, is that what you really want? Think about it with me. All kinds of things make us happy: hitting goals a work, landing a promotion, completing a project (work or hobby), relationships, making the team, even eating ice cream. Happiness is temporary. It’s a feeling that passes with time.

Fulfillment, though, is different. It’s not happiness, it’s deeper, lasting. Simon Sinek in his article on LinkedIn states the difference between happiness and fulfillment is like the difference between liking something and loving something. We love our kids but we don’t always like them. 

You might not like everything about your day to day job but may find fulfillment if it connects you to something bigger than yourself – a cause. 

Happiness comes from what you do in your life, whereas, fulfillment comes from WHY you do it and how it connects to your God-Given Purpose.  

Justin Beiber recently made statements that indicated he is very unhappy. His wife Hailey Baldwin states on Instagram, “Money doesn’t = happiness. At all. You can be the wealthiest person on the planet and be miserable… ” Justin became a superstar almost overnight with millions of fans and a reported $265 million but has been quoted saying that something is missing.

 

Fish Out of Water

Do you often feel dissatisfied with what you are doing or where you are in life? Do you feel awkward and uncomfortable? We’ve been taught to believe that dissatisfaction is a bad thing and we need to just get over it and be happy. But, perhaps, you are dissatisfied because you are not in the right place. Perhaps, God is trying to direct you to the place where you can fulfill God’s purpose for your life.

Do you remember Connie from my last few posts? She expressed to Gary, her life coach, that she was very dissatisfied with her life. She felt like a fish out of water. 

She asked, “Is this all there is to life? If so, I don’t want to go on.” 

Since that first meeting with Gary, several things have changed. It was her day to meet with Gary, again. She told her boss she needed to get off work early. 

“Why do you need to get off early? her boss asked. “Do you have a hot date or something,” she said with a curt laugh as if she didn’t think Connie could get a date.

She had made comments like that to Connie ever since she started working, which was nine months before. Connie had always taken her comments as confirming her own critical inner voice that said, “you’re not good enough, nobody will ever want you.”

After working with Gary and doing the assignments he had given her she said, “Excuse me. What did you mean by that cutting remark?” 

Her boss stopped, turned and looked at her, “Ah, nothing. I didn’t mean nothing by it,” turned and started to walk away.

“Ms. Smith, I think it’s time for me to turn in my notice. I’ll give you three weeks notice. I will also be out of the apartment in three weeks.”

“Connie, no, I didn’t mean anything by what I said. No, you can’t quit. I’ll take me…” Connie heard her say as she turned and walked out the door.

As Gary opened the door to his office, Connie stood and put the magazine she had been reading down.

“Look at you,” Gary said. 

Connie smiled as she walked into the office.

“Tell me about it. You look like the cat that ate the canary,” he said as they both sat.

“Well, I did it,” she said then paused as darkness started to cloud her face. “No, I’m not going to think that. I have another job and I’ll find a place to live. I’m not going to doubt. Philippians 4:19 says, ‘And my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ I am not going to doubt or fear.”

Connie told Gary what had happened that morning, “As I walked out of the shop it felt like I could breathe again. There have been so many times I felt like I just couldn’t breathe, I guess, the way a fish feels when you take it out of the water and lay it in the grass.”

“What do you think you’ll do?” Gary asked.

Connie’s face lit up, “Well, James and I have been talking. My old job is available in Cinncinati. James talked to my boss and he said I could have it if I wanted it. I’m really thinking about it.”

“Tell me why you’d go back to your old job. Don’t you want something different?”

“It was sort of my dream job. I had worked very hard and several years to get that job. My old boss told James that since I left nobody had done it as well as I did.”

“What did you do?”

“I was a trainer, teaching the new people how to run the machines and assess the parts that came off. I loved teaching. I also went to schools and recruited high school students for training programs we had. There was a lot of variety and a lot of interaction with new employees and kids. I guess I was the ‘go-to person’ if they had any problems. I didn’t know how much I liked the job until I quit.”

“So, what have you learned since we started meeting?”

“First thing, Phil 4:19 that God is my source. I ran off because of fear. I had listened to my mother’s bitterness about men. I should have prayed about it and listened to God instead. I have been so unhappy and dissatisfied since being here in Knoxville and working in the boutique shop. I tried to shove it down, ignore it, and act like it didn’t matter and it just got worse. I think, all this time, God has been trying to tell me that he had a plan and a purpose for me and my life and this wasn’t it. Since telling my boss that I was quitting I feel like the chains that held me down were loosened. I feel so free.”

“I could tell something was up when I first saw you. Your face was glowing. I’ve never seen you like that before,” Gary said.

Connie’s phone buzzed. As she looked down at it, she said, “It’s my old boss. Do you mind if I read the text?”

“No, please go ahead.”

“Oh my,” she said putting her hand up to her mouth with tears running down her face.

“Are those tears of joy or sadness,” he said as she looked up.

“Joy. He said they’re starting a full mentoring program and they want me to be the head of the department and how soon can I start. It’s so much more than I expected,” she said wiping the tears from her eyes.

“Go ahead and text him back.” 

“I turned in a 3-week notice today, but I’ll see if I can make it sooner,” she typed.

She sat quietly for a few minutes. Gary noticed peace beginning to settle over her.

Let’s recap what you’ve learned. 

  • You could be dissatisfied because you are in the wrong place and not fulfilling God’s purpose for you.
  • You’ve learned how to silence your critical inner voice by saying the opposite and by using God’s Word.
  • You become aware that your negative beliefs cause negative, bad feelings.

“Anything else?” Gary asked.

“I’ve learned that God loves me and he has a place and a purpose for me and that when I’m doing what He designed for me I am happy and satisfied.”

 

Conclusion 

Finding fulfillment, your God-Given purpose, is a journey. Like Connie who went through hard times and made bad decisions. She had things she needed to learn or should I say unlearn during the process of finding her God-given purpose.

Luciani states that you are not born ineffective, unhappy, frustrated, or insecure. You are not born with the critical inner voice saying things to you like: “You’re not good enough, nobody will ever want you.” 

Let’s look at this for a minute. You couldn’t have been born with these insecurities, therefore, they had to be learned. Everything that you are feeling is directly related to, dependent upon, caused by, and rooted in what you have learned to believe with your whole heart – “stinking thinking.”

Your critical inner voice repeats your negative heart beliefs, learned patterns of perception and reacting, which then reinforce and cement those beliefs in your mind. The more you repeat it, the stronger it gets.

The good news is that if you learned it you can unlearn it. Connie believed all the negative comments and beliefs that her mother had toward men. When Coach Gary shined the light on her negative heart belief she was able to analyze the belief, decide that it was not the truth and replace it with the truth, a Positive Heart Belief. It’s a choice. It’s that simple, but it’s not easy. It requires decisive commitment, personal initiative, and follow through to actually change your beliefs.

You may have heard stories about therapist taking people back to the initial event to remove obstacles that stand in the way, that hinder you from living a successful, happy life. You do not need to go back to an event. You do not need to be rescued by God or a therapist. You need to exchange the Negative Heart Beliefs for the truth. The truth about you and who you are and how to be in the world around you.

It’s a choice that you need to make. Nobody, including God, can make that choice for you. God could but he chooses not to. In James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  And in Heb 11:6,… He is a rewarder of those who seek Him….  Even God allows you to make the choice to change or not to change.

You can choose to change your life. If you don’t know your God-given Purpose that’s where your journey begins. 

 

Steps To Find Your Purpose:

Do you feel like you’re stuck or feel like you’re wandering aimlessly? Nothing seems to excite you. You feel like you are going from thing to thing without making any progress. Has it been a while since you felt excited about what you are doing? Then it’s time to find your purpose.

Tolkien wrote a poem in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Not all those who wander are lost.”

You may feel like you are wandering aimlessly, but that doesn’t mean you are lost. You just need to find and connect with your God-Given Purpose. 

Here are three steps to discovering your purpose:

  1. Ask. 

God tells us when we lack wisdom to ask and he gives to us generously. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Have you taken the time to ask God what your purpose is? Take some quiet time and ask. Again, journal what comes into your mind after you ask.

 

      2. What are your Gifts and Strengths?

 

God has given you special gifts and strengths that are uniquely you. God’s purpose for you usually involves the things that you are already good at.

 

      3. What is your Passion?

 

Your passion could be anything – business, art, music, community service. If money wasn’t an issue what would you be doing? It has been said that God works at the intersection of our gifts and our passion – Mike Ward. Think about it. What are your gifts, strengths and what is your passion?

 

Most of all, though, you can trust God to lead you. 

As Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

God created each person with a unique plan and purpose. It begins the moment we come to Jesus. 

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

God is not limited by your ability, only by your availability. It is God who empowers you to do and be all that He planned for in your life. It’s a choice to get on board or not.

After spending approximately 20 years as a programmer analyst working in both the private sector and county government, Dena Warfield returned to college earning a Masters Degree in Psychology and in Creative Writing. Since graduation, her main focus has been on marketing – Direct Sales, Copywriting, and Writing for the Web. She co-owned and managed a direct marketing company with her husband working, primarily, with local newspapers. She managed the business office, human resources, and helped with training and marketing. She also designed their company Web Site plus writing for other web developers. Dena’s years of business, computer programming, and writing have helped to focus her copywriting skills in the marketing arena. Whether she is writing content for websites, emails, brochures, catalogs, or direct-response her goal is increased traffic and sales to your site or business. Education Dena earned her Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and a Master’s in Creative Writing from National University in San Diego, California. She has also completed a certification program from AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc., Delray Beach, FL.) with a focus in copywriting for the web. Author Dena has authored a self-help book designed to help people become aware of their negative thoughts and core beliefs that keep them from becoming successful. The techniques described in her book were used to help their sales rep to become more successful. Her book is currently on Amazon.com. She also enjoys writing Flash Fiction which can be found on her Facebook page, WarStories by Dena – Flash Fiction with a twist.

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