She sat alone at the table, absentmindedly eating her fries, as she contemplated her life. She’d been married just nine months now but already she was tired of it. All her life she'd dreamed of getting married, finding the perfect man- her Prince Charming. She knew that life would be wonderful then. But it wasn't wonderful; he worked all the time and rarely paid her any attention when he was home. Was this really all there was? Where was her happily-ever-after? Maybe if they had a child...
He had just sat down with his order when he got the call that felt like a kick in the stomach. He couldn’t believe it! How could they have not given him the promotion? He’d worked so hard for them, putting in countless hours away from home and the family, to work on the project. They'd promoted the new guy instead. Suddenly, it was as if he was 10 years old again getting picked last for the kickball team in P.E. Would he ever get a chance to prove himself?
The girls sat together sharing dessert as they talked about pledge week. They just had to get into Delta Gamma Pi. If they didn’t their college lives would be ruined; afterall, anybody who was anybody on campus was a Delta.
None of the patrons noticed him at first. He was just a boy filling his cup at the drink dispenser. But as his behavior grew more and more exaggerated, he caught the attention of everyone in the place. At first glance, nothing appeared unusual, but as they watched his behavior grew erratic. As expected, he’d put ice in his cup, fill it and then take a sip. But that’s when his behavior turned odd. He’d make a disgusted face, dump it out and start all over again; each time growing more and more frustrated until he was yelling in dismay. That’s when the manager approached him. “Son”, he said “what are you doing?” The boy looked at him with tears in his eyes and said, “I’m trying to get a Coke but it keeps coming out Dr. Pepper. I hate Dr. Pepper!” The man said gently, “That’s because you’re placing your cup under Dr. Pepper instead of Coke. Here, let me fill it for you.” He handed the boy his cup now filled with Coke. He tasted it then burst into an enormous grin. “Thank you, sir!” he exclaimed, running out the door. The manger turned to face the other patrons and smiled. “That’s what happens when you try to fill up in the wrong place.”
Those words resonated like a gong through the heart of each patron. As one they realized they’d been doing the exact same thing as the little boy, not with their drink choices but with their lives. Each one had been trying to fill themselves up in the wrong place.
Have you ever expected fulfillment from something only to find yourself disappointed? I know I have. I've expected my career position to give me value. I've hoped education and learning would give me meaning. I've turned to my husband and motherhood to give me completion. And I've looked to the opinions of others to validate my worth. But none of them were able to give me what I was seeking, not in the long-term. It wasn't wrong to find value in these things. It was wrong to expect more of them than they could provide.
Each of us is created with a longing for significance. We search for it in many places but nothing on earth will completely fill the need. Relationships can't give us real meaning or define us. Neither career or position can give us true self-worth nor can allcolades or prosperity give us value. None of what we truly long for can be found outside of an identity through Christ. By design, He created us to yearn for Him by placing a God-shaped hole in our soul. Nothing else we try to fill it with will complete us except for Him.
Are you longing for significance in your life, lacking value or feeling incomplete? Are you seeking your worth from the opinions of other's? If you are, check to see what it is you are filling yourself with. You’ll want to be sure that you have placed your cup under the right dispenser. Each day, ask God to fill you anew.