From the Archives: Overcoming Emptiness

Is this the case with you? You are doing what you think you want with your life, your life seem to be everything you’ve always wanted it to be – you have a job, wonderful family, great relationship with friends, involved in your faith, but still something is lacking in your life. Somehow you’re still restless, uneasy and incomplete.

In the gospel of Mark we find a story about a rich man, who obviously has got everything in life and yet he was searching for something. Something wasn’t right with his heart, in his soul. He came to Jesus with a question about eternal life and happiness. Then Jesus directs him to the commandments, He said obey them. The rich man answered; I have done all those things according to the scriptures…I have lived an obedient life, I have done all things right but still I feel emptiness inside why?

Do you feel the same way? You have worked pretty hard, you have been a good person, you do your best to do the right things, you try to live a faithful life…”why am I not happy?” how come I always feel like there’s something missing in my life? You ask.
Jesus told him to sell his things, give the money to the poor and follow Him. Jesus told him the solution lies in his relinquishment, in the man’s willingness to let go and detach himself from all his stuff, all his possessions, and that seemed so unrealistic and improbable to him.
If our lives are hinged on maintaining all our possessions, becoming rich, then we have to ask ourselves: To what extent are our lives being controlled by our attachment to our things? To what extent does our need for houses, cars, beautiful women, rich men, the need to maintain our status, to keep up with the” Jones’”, dominate our lives to the point that we have no time, and energy. All the time, it seems we are weary, worn-out, restless, and empty.

We often buy into the illusion that “If I just had this…If I just had that…If this would happen…Or that”, then my life would be great, everything would be fine. We think like that most of the time or don’t you? We are convinced that if “I just got married…or if just had a baby boy, if I had a boy friend or girl friend, then I’d be happy and my life would be content.” We have to be careful so as not to convince ourselves that the real meaning of our lives, our happiness and contentment come from the external and not the internal. We shouldn’t think that things that happen to us, those circumstances, that they will change the inside.

Let’s change our value system.The value system that is characterized by our attachment to things. The rich man was saddened because he was too attached to his possessions and couldn’t accept Jesus’ invitation to relinquishment. It is true that we are supposed to have nice things in life, but they shouldn’t keep us from a life of loving and giving, and strengthening our connection to people and God. “Happiness is as elusive as a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it flies away. But if we stop chasing it, put away our nets and busy ourselves with other things….the butterfly will come to us.” Connect more to people, lend a compassionate ear, and before you know it, happiness will sneak up on us and overflow our lives.

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