Summary: Where can someone find true contentment? How can someone be genuinely happy? How can someone find the kind of peace of mind that inexorably alters lives?
I Found It; I Found It!
a. I am a man of voracious appetites. Obviously I haven’t skipped many meals in my life.
i. But that is not what I am talking about. It is just the way I am wired up that if a little is good, then a lot is better.
ii. If a smidgen will make you smile than wholesale consumption is bound to bring contentment, and satisfaction, or so my distorted logic went.
iii. In a never ending quest for contentment, that saw me take consumption to major league levels, I kept looking, wanting and searching for the next best thing to satisfy my voracious appetites.
b. Contentment is defined as a state of satisfaction, or having attained peace of mind.
i. To the stoic, it meant being self sufficient.
ii. But Paul used it to refer to a divinely bestowed contentment. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what is happening there is a gift of strength given that enables us to be content in any and all situations.
c. For too many years I looked to things outside of myself, hoping they would bring me the peace of mind and contentment I was searching for.
d. I just wanted to find lasting contentment, and I thought it was something I could accomplish.
i. The problem is that everywhere I searched, everything I tried; may have momentarily filled a void, but it ultimately did nothing to bring about true and lasting contentment.
e. As a child, I would get crushed under a weight of unhappiness. It felt like a bowling ball sitting on top of my chest.
i. I would literally have these funks come over me that I did not understand.
ii. It felt like an oppressive weight was tying me down and sucking the peace of mind right out of me.
f. I would convince myself, if I had this or if I did that, then it would be OK. Then I could distract myself and be happy, and content. But it never lasted.
g. I remember when Reeboks first came out. We were short on the necessities as a family, so such extravagances were not happening.
h. I convinced myself that if I had those shoes, then I would be content. Then I would be satisfied. Then things would be all right.
i. I remember when my Grandma came home from a trip and surprised my brother and me with a pair of Reeboks. For a few days, I was the cock of the walk. The coolest guy I knew. All was right with the world, and I couldn’t have been more content with things around me. But that didn’t last.
j. Later it was a Nintendo to replace my Atari. I had to have it. One thing after another. If I just had this or that, then I would be happy and content.
k. After awhile, it stopped being things and I started looking different directions to fill the ever growing void.
l. Years of rebellion slid into alcohol, drugs, and dead end jobs as I dropped out of school, and burned-out on life.
m. Whatever I was looking for was even more out of reach than ever before.
n. I was miserable, and that weight in the middle of my chest was no longer about childish fears. Now it was heavier than ever before.
i. Now the weight of disappointment was added to the realization that I was miserable, and there was nothing else I could find, or do to satisfy my insatiable appetites.