I’ve had the privilege of watching my dreams come true. I got into my top college. I miraculously ended up with my dream degree after facing years of rejection. Immediately after I graduated, I found work at the place I dreamed about throughout my undergraduate.
This was a recent discovery initiated by a glance through some photos. Within the last couple of years, I’ve grown to love and respect the sport of bodybuilding. Though I do not feel inclined to compete, I admire the art and technique that goes into it. I enjoy learning about the way my body responds to nutrition and training. Every so often, I will pull out my camera to take some progress photos to capture this journey and what my body looks like in that specific moment. On March 13, 2022, to my surprise, I have my dream physique.
I know it sounds silly and narcissistic to anyone who does not understand the bodybuilding industry to its extent, but bear with me. We all have our own goals. When it comes to my actual dream physique, truthfully, I do not think I can achieve it without severely abusing performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Especially with my lack of desire to step on stage, I highly do not recommend turning to steroids. With my dream physique out of reach, I created a more realistic dream physique in my head. That is what I happened to see in my progress photos. I achieved the body I dreamed of. Now what?
Instinctually, I pondered the next goal or future achievement. That response is intriguing and speaks volumes about our human nature. We continuously want more. We want the next big thing. We seek to satisfy our desires in this way. For me, I have fitness goals. I have ministry goals. I have skill-related goals. To others, you may have financial goals, professional goals, community goals, self-improvement goals, or business goals.
We’ve heard the same repeating messages from individuals, but we believe it will be different for us. We hear that money cannot buy happiness, but we believe it will fulfill us. I remember hearing about several colleges to apply to and different available career paths, yet there was only one college and one career path that I desperately wanted. If God allowed me to obtain those dreams, I’d be set. In Christian circles, it’s common to see couples quickly engaged and married, so it may be easy to conclude that eternal fulfillment starts the moment you say, “I do.” Though any married couple will tell you how that though marriage is awesome, if it’s God’s calling for you, it’s also incredibly difficult at times. We expect to feel fulfilled, but the things we chase never seem to fulfill us in the way we think they should.
Eternal fulfillment is something we strive for. It is part of our human nature to find worth, purpose, and identity and it’s innate to look for it in the material and ways of the world. We want to feel happy. We want to feel fulfilled. But I think a driving factor to the goals we set starts deeper than we admit, it’s more than the goal, but the inner craving that initiates this. Why do we chase these things? What do we believe it will reveal about life?
I’ve had the privilege of watching my dreams come true. I have noticed this pattern. Shortly after I achieve my goal, I have two options. I can continue to raise the stakes or chase something new and it’s this endless cycle. What we want is never enough, and why is this? I think it is because when we achieve these dreams and goals, sooner or later, we notice that they did not fulfill us in the way we hope they would.
We chase fulfillment and it is quite fascinating how the things in this world fail to fulfill us in the way we hope. If only I got into my dream college, if only I could receive my dream degree, if only I could work my dream job, if only I could be at my dream physique, then I would be fulfilled. Yet it has only temporarily fulfilled us. So, how can we ever satisfy our deepest desires?
Before I continue, please let me be clear. Please do not mistake what I’m getting at. I think it’s great to create goals, and I think it’s wonderful when you achieve them. I’ve prayed over these dreams and desires, and when it’s a part of God’s plan, it’s awesome. Praise God for where you are and what He has allowed you to achieve. Do not misunderstand me. I am continuously bewildered by the blessings I’ve received. God loves me though I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I think it’s healthy to set goals, but what I’m getting at is we will never acquire lifelong fulfillment from the things of this world.
In other words, I think our deepest desires are spiritual rather than physical. As a physically empty stomach needs to be filled with something physical like food or water. The spiritual gap from our deepest desires can only be filled with God. When we try to fulfill these spiritual desires with anything aside from God, though temporarily it works, it ultimately fails. This is why we raise the stakes or chase something new. It’s an endless cycle. We are not nearly as free as we think.
Freedom begins when we understand that our goals, achievements, dreams, and people will never fulfill us. It’s in our blood to worship. But whatever you idolize, you will ultimately demonize apart from God. Everything besides God will crush under the weight of your worship. You know this. You’re asking the things in this world to be God, but they can’t. Money fulfills you temporarily. Human love fulfills you temporarily. That new promotion fulfills you temporarily. Looking diced for the summer fulfills you temporarily. But the euphoria ends at some point, and you want more. I have learned this the hard way. The ways and things of this world will not fulfill you in the way you hope they would. As this cycle continues, you will try everything under the sun and suddenly may find yourself stuck in an unhealthy addiction. I did, but may I propose a new way? There is a third option.
Seek Jesus. Your deepest desires are spiritual, and only God can fulfill those spiritual needs. I know it’s anecdotal but hear me out. With Jesus, there is an end, unlike created things, because He perfectly fits like a puzzle. When it comes to your needs and deepest desires, seek Jesus. I know this because I have lived in this world according to the values of this world and I have lived in this world according to the values of the Bible. You long to find worth, purpose, and identity, and that fits the biblical narrative. The Author of the Universe created you by purpose and for purpose. You are made worthy through Him alone. When you put your identity completely in Jesus, everything changes. It is only through Jesus that we can be truly free. I’ve tried your way of life, my non-Christian friend, would you be willing to try mine?
I’ve had the privilege of watching my dreams come true. It’s great, but it does not fulfill you in the way you think it would. Jesus, on the other hand, fulfills. Would you be willing to see who this Jesus is?