Categories
Weekly Blog

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Johnny Lee sings a song called, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Matthew Kelly has an expression I love: “We can never get enough of what we don’t really need.” All three quotes relate to us having false gods and chasing false happiness. I refer to them as the 4Ps…Prominence, Possessions, Pleasure, and People. 

Prominence 

We all want to do well, to succeed. Many want to stand out. That could mean business or career success. For others, it might be more about social standing or popularity. Still others want notoriety for excelling in a field or doing good deeds. Prominence makes us feel respected and admired, held in high esteem, and most importantly, loved. Social media plays into this as well, since most of us only put our best selves forward. 

The drive for prominence can also manifest itself in superficial relationships, where we’re really using other people instead of truly befriending them. Maybe we desire to be prominent to them individually, or to impress others by the relationship. 

 

Possessions 

Look at the houses we live in, the cars we drive, and the things we wear. It’s a universal issue, no matter our sex, race, religion, age, or socioeconomic position. No matter the income level or the neighborhood we live in, we value stuff. One indication of this is the amount of personal debt most people have in the U.S. Many live way beyond their means. Cars and trucks can now be financed over longer and longer periods of time. The amount of electronic gadgetry that most of us have is over the top. Then there are all our other physical possessions … the list is endless. 

I’m not suggesting that we should go without a house or a car, but instead understand why we buy what we do. Is it for functionality or status? 

Pleasure

When we don’t know that we’re made for greatness, we rely on distraction and entertainment, anything that provides us with pleasure. Far too many people equate pleasure with joy or happiness. They’re not the same. Joy is long lasting, independent of substance or circumstances. Pleasure, on the other hand, is only experienced in the moment. Once the act creating the pleasure is over, the pleasure is gone. It is fleeting. 

People

Whether we realize it or not, many of us turn other people into false gods. They may be professional athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, dignitaries, the wealthy, very successful, or those that hold prominent positions. But they can also be people in our own life. In my adult life, I didn’t look to the “rich and famous” as my false gods. For me, the people I looked up to (often with envy as well as admiration) were the local business owners and executives in my hometown. I wanted to be a successful business guy more than anything in the world because of what I thought it said about me, and the people I idolized most were those I could reach out and touch. 

There is hope! But we have to stop looking for fulfillment in prominence, possessions, pleasure, and people. Only one thing can fill the God-sized hole in the center of our chest…and that’s God Himself.

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

What’s Your Deepest Desire?

What is your deepest desire? What do you want more than anything in your life? What disappoints you tremendously when you don’t experience it? And provides you with great joy when you do?

In doing a quick internet search, several sermons came up, with all indicating something like….”the deepest longing of the human heart is to know and enjoy the glory of God”. I humbly disagree…with a twist.

Think about this. What is it that you truly want more than anything in the world? {Drum roll please ?} That thing which we all universally want, more than anything, is to be loved and accepted…genuinely for “who” we are, not what we “do”. We want to be chosen, to be desired.  We want to feel special, to be affirmed. We want to be loved unconditionally, accepted for the people we truly are. No pretending. No facade. Just for our authentic selves.

The above is true, as reflected in studies and surveys. We want nothing more than to be unconditionally loved and accepted. From an authentic, personal, and emotional level, we want that love and acceptance from those in our lives…our parents, siblings, and spouses, our children, other relatives, friends, and colleagues.

Here’s the bad news…we’ll never get it…not unconditionally and not consistently. Conflicts will occur. Challenges will happen. Life is messy and we’re human. We’re imperfect sinners. As such, we can’t possibly provide one another regularly with what we so deeply desire.

 

Our Failed Attempts

I refer to the 4 Ps as prominence, possessions, pleasure, and people. With the last of the four not being able to satisfy as indicated above, we go to the first three. But as Johnny Lee sings, we are “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places”. The fact is that none of these things will ever satisfy us, never fill the God sized hole in the center of our chests.

I said above, “I humbly disagree…with a twist”. My disagreement is that I don’t believe we care where that unconditional love comes from. We just want it. As it occurs (here’s the twist), the ONLY place it can come from is God. In my view, consistent with the sermons sited above, the ONLY thing that will satisfy your deepest desire is you understanding and internalizing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. You’ve been chosen by God. Made in His image and likeness, you’re a beloved child of God, who loves you unconditionally. He made you with special and unique gifts and talents. God put you on this earth with a purpose. God loves you and made you for greatness. Know that truth and live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment!!!

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

 

Categories
Weekly Blog

People Are Disappointing

There are lots of ways people disappoint us. Family. Friends. Casual encounters. We’re human. We’re all sinners. So, the fact that we disappoint one another, in various ways, isn’t a surprise. 

What I’m referring to in this post, that is so disappointing, is lack of response, primarily related to text messages and emails. I’m no longer surprised or amazed that it occurs. It’s now common place, to be expected. Please note…I’m not talking about people (y’all) responding to blog posts like this one. I’m referring to one on one communications. 

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. In doing an internet search, there are plenty of articles on the subject. People either don’t respond…which is the most frequent issue, or the response is delayed. What I couldn’t find on the internet (I’m sure I just need to search more) is the real reason or the impact. 

It Would Seem Being Too Busy Isn’t Valid

As a slight aside, at one time I believed that what I was experiencing in life was unique to me. As I’ve progressed, engaging with many on the same journey, I know that we’re all experiencing very similar things, possibly characterized differently. As such, I now know if I’m feeling it, if I’m experiencing it, chances are most others are too. 

One of the reasons pointed to is how busy people are. With the previous paragraph as context, I believe I am representative of most in relation to how busy I am or not. I would assume my inboxes, both work and personal, are similar to others. I would think my text traffic is comparable to most my age. 

I respond…really to all my emails and texts. For me not to do so would be an oversight…which I typically catch within a short period of time. Being as busy as others (I think), I seem to have time to respond. BTW, I’m not suggesting I’m perfect. I make plenty of mistakes with plenty of things. 

Woman Frustrated Lo
Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

How Would You Feel?

Here’s the other side of the coin…how does it make people feel to not get a response. Ignored, forgotten, unimportant, not a priority? Whether we want to acknowledge them or not, we know none of these things are positives. I’d suggest they add to the statistics for the societal ills going in the wrong direction in our world, i.e. depression, isolation, anxiety, addiction, suicide, etc. 

It would seem people experiencing the impact of not being responded to doesn’t seem to positively impact response to others. Does anyone else find that interesting? 

This may seem like a silly example to you. Imagine sitting at a table with someone. You say something to them, transactional or possibly with detail and depth, maybe even emotional. After, the person sitting across from you doesn’t respond. He or she just sits there, possibly not even looking at you. You wait for a response…and none is forthcoming. What would that imply about that person? Would that behavior be acceptable? Would you be eager to re-engage with that person? 

What Should We Do? 

Maybe I’m just wining. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Or does it? To me, it’s a continuation of the downhill spiral that we’ve been on. I’ve come to say the more connected we are (social media, apps, text, email), the more isolation we experience. I’d argue isolation isn’t good. Nor are its impacts. 

We’re not meant to go through life alone. We are made for community, for friendship, authentic relationship. The second part of the Great Commandments is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Second to loving God, we have no greater call. 

I’d suggest the way we treat one another, whether in person or online, is important. I hope the above prompts some thought. When someone sends a note, he or she has taken the time and expended the effort to do so. That person is believing he/she would receive a response…or in most cases wouldn’t have sent the note. As Jesus told us, “love your neighbor as yourself”. More people doing so (responding) would make this a better world. Amen!!!

As always, please contact me with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph