“Is there more to life than this?”

The timeless big question about life is, “Is there more to life than this?” Of course there is. If you havn’t discovered that yet, look around you.

Seriously, look around you. Everyone is seeking more. Seeking fulfillment. Seeking meaning. Seeking comfort. For those who havn’t found what they are looking for has been looking in all the wrong places.

I have seen so many loved ones – friends and family – seek meaning and explanations by reaching out to worldly means (for example, money), creating their own faith by picking and choosing what they like out of numerous faiths, or come to the conclusion that there is no God so they strive to be as successful as possible here on this Earth in attempt to gain meaning in this life.

I watched one of my classmates randomly ask someone the other day if they would like to come to Chapel. They said yes! I surprised myself by being surprised that these strangers were so open. It made me think of how everyone is seeking that “something more” to life. Meaning. Satisfaction. Hope. Truth.

Then something clicked. People are constantly seeking more because they feel a void. The Bible tells us that eternity is written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) therefore if eternity is part of who we are, it is no wonder people are constantly asking and wondering about the big questions in life. God made and designed us to seek Him. Eternity can only come through God. That meaning, satisfaction, hope and truth that people constantly long for can only be satisfied and found in God.

Knowing my loved ones who do not believe in God, I know their immediate response to this post would be that they don’t actually feel a void and are happy with their life. But I bet if they were actually honest with themselves, they would admit that there is something lacking in their life. That question of “something more than this” would definitely apply to them.

If God designed us with eternity written on our hearts, He obviously created us knowing that we would feel a void in our life UNLESS we seek Him. That is so cool 🙂

As a Christian, follower of Jesus and believer in God, life isn’t perfect because I have God in my life but I have meaning, hope, faith and satisfaction in life. It’s not really an explainable thing. It’s something that needs to be experienced in order to fully grasp what I’m talking about.

God writes eternity on the hearts of all of us because He wants us to seek Him. He is the only way someone will fulfill their need for meaning in life.

I promise you that.

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“Life Isn’t A Puzzle You Have To Figure Out On Your Own”

I used to get so overwhelmed when I heard teens I work with or other people in my life say something along the lines of, “I just wish I knew what God’s will for my life is!?” What does that even mean?! How can we even know something like that? How can we, humans, know what God has planned for us? The simple answer is, there is no way.

I used to get so overwhelmed because I was making God way more complicated than He is.

When I first became a Youth Pastor, I was extremely overwhelmed. I knew that perhaps this is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but this is where God has me NOW and I am okay with that. Having said that, I absolutely LOVE my job but I’m also completely okay knowing that this is temporary and this is where God has put me for now. I’m totally okay with that.

After I graduated from my undergrad, I was yet again, overwhelmed. Surprise, surprise. There are so many options out there and I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t have the slightest clue if I was doing the right thing in pursuing my MDiv. The deciding factor for me was not getting into the Social Work program, but I was accepted (with $4000 renewable scholarship) to the MDiv program at Acadia University. To me, that was an open door that God wanted me to walk through. I never really saw myself in seminary before but I had to trust God and know that He knew what would happen when I walked through that door.

When I started school, I met this professor whom I love dearly and she talked to me when I was having difficulty settling in. I remember saying to her, “I don’t know if counseling is where God wants me to go. I just want to do whatever He wants me to do.” And honestly, her response has changed me. She said, “I really don’t think God plans our lives like a puzzle that He sets in front of us and we have to figure out on our own how to put it together.” I’ve been thinking about that statement ever since she said it to me.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? God doesn’t create us to throw us out to the wolves with no sense of direction. HE is our sense of direction. I believe there is a puzzle (from a human’s perspective) that we do have to figure out, but if you have God in your life, you don’t have the burden to figure it out on your own.

God has a plan for everyone’s life and it’s comforting to know that He knows that plan. The thing is, as a Christian, God wants me to trust Him and part of that is being okay with the fact that I don’t know what the plan of my life is, but He does.

So what does it mean follow God’s will for your life? To me, I’ve come to learn that God opens doors and He closes doors. The Bible says so. Revelation 3:7-8 says, “these are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

In other words, as child actress, Baliee Madison once said, “God gave me this (her acting career) and He can just as easily take it away and I have to be okay with that.”

When God is a part of your life, there’s great comfort in knowing that He’s in control, He knows what the future holds, and He knows the plans He has for your life. Of course your life has a purpose or else He wouldn’t have created you in the first place. Think about that. There may be a puzzle to figure out, but you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Let life happen as it will happen. God’s in control and He just so happens to know what He’s doing. I don’t need to know what my life looks like 10 or 5 or even 2 years down the road because He already knows! If I put too much focus on the future and what it may hold, I take away from the present and am no longer living life to the fullest by cherishing each moment.

There is a puzzle to this thing called life but I have God by my side helping me put it together each step of the way. God opens doors and He closes doors. And I’m okay with that.

Our Soul’s Need Nourishment Too

Taking care of the body that God has given you is so very important because He lives within us. Some people forget that part of our body is the soul and so we often neglect the soul. As a result, many find themselves feeling lost or like there is something missing…like “there must be more to life”. There is more.

I believe that feeling of being lost of feeling like we don’t belong comes from a neglected, undernourished soul. If we don’t feed it, of course it is going to suffer. If we didn’t feed our bodies with good food, our physical bodies would be undernourished as well. Think about it. It makes sense. Matthew 4:4 says, “It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In other words, we cannot only feed our physical bodies and neglect our souls…our souls need food and that food comes from spending time with God (through prayer – talking with Him) and reading the Bible.

Before I became a Christian, I had this intense fear of death. Of course, I grew up going to Sunday School and Youth Group but I never committed to having a relationship with Jesus Christ. I didn’t really understand what that meant. I feared death like many people in the world mainly because I wasn’t sure of what would come next. I knew about heaven but I was constantly asking myself, “how do you know for sure if you are going to go to heaven or not?”

That question soon disappeared from my thoughts when I committed to having a relationship with Christ. Meaning, I prayed to God that He would come live within my heart. With a genuine heart, I told Him that I believed with all my heart that He died for me on the cross so that if I choose to believe in Him, I will have eternal life.

Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s about being in a relationship with Christ as He dwells within my heart. He guides me each and every day. He is my friend. Because He dwells within my body, I do my very best to take care of the body God has given me. He also nourishes my soul. I don’t fear death anymore. I have a peace in my heart that is unexplainable. Only those who also have Christ living within their heart would be able to understand. It’s a peace beyond all understanding.

As I nourish my soul by having a relationship with Christ, He guides me. He has guided me to where I am today. The only way I can explain that is by believing that He closes doors and opens doors to new opportunities. Revelation 3:7-8 says, “these are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

I know this because things have happened in my life that cannot be justified as coincidences but rather can only be justified by pointing to God. For example, when Evan and I were trying to decide whether or not to continue our education at a Masters level, we didn’t want to pursue it unless we had financial help somehow. Feeling overwhelmed one night as to what we should do, we prayed together one night and specifically said to God, “If this is where you want us to be (Acadia Divinity School for the Master of Divinity program) then provide financially.” The very next day, we were accepted into the school with $4000 renewable scholarships each. A few months later, just before school started, we were both offered a job as team Youth Pastors at a local church (and they approach us to send them a resume). Coincidence? I can’t buy it. By leaning on God, He has guided us to where we are today. He opens doors and He closes doors.

As humans, we are made of mind, body and spirit. It is so important to take care of all three and make a point not to neglect any of them.