Ever had that young toddler or child that always questioned why incessantly? Sometimes it drives you up the wall. “Why? Why? Why?” And you respond, as your patience wears out, “Just Because! Now Stop asking!”
Now, what if I told you that you that we all should start acting like that toddler? You should start asking why. You should start asking why — a lot.
Allow me to give a little back-story. I enjoy video games. I always have. Over the many years of my life, I have spent countless hours playing video games. Mostly wasted hours if I was completely honest. Not just as a teenager or young adult. I still play video games now, just not as much as I used to. I enjoy the challenge, figuring things out, the creativity and stories, competition, all of it.
Just like new toys at Christmas, your favorite game eventually gets boring, loses its appeal and so you go get a new one.
Now, who likes video games and can relate to this?
Before I move on though… all the rest of you, feel free to substitute video games for your ‘thing’. Maybe it’s not video games; maybe your thing is food. Maybe it’s fashion, like clothes or shoes or bags or jewelry. Ladies, I’m not picking on you. Men, ever heard the saying “Boys don’t grow up, their toys just get bigger and more expensive”? Maybe your thing is cars, trucks, boats, guns, motorcycles, off-road stuff. Or technology… need that new phone, tablet, or a bigger TV! Maybe your thing is your house. You’re getting tired of that 2-car garage or those curtains or that small bedroom or that ‘fill in the blank thing’ that I really want.
Now, let’s bring in the toddler to help us ask some questions.
“Daddy, why do you always play video games? Mommy, why did you buy that new dress? Why do we need a bigger house?”
“Well, son, we just do.”
“Don’t you want a bigger room?”
“We just do! Now, stop asking.”
But, let’s get back to me for a minute. One day, I’m sitting at my computer, having just finished playing a game, most likely played for several hours. And I start reflecting. I feel like I wasted all that time for no purpose. I didn’t enjoy the time I spent. It was just filler time. A total waste, much like other time I’ve wasted away in front of a TV, binge watching a favorite show on Netflix.
And so, I’m sitting there and I ask myself, like that toddler, why? Why do I do this? Why do I waste my time on this? Why do I feel the need to play that next cool game? And the Lord, clear as I’ve ever heard him speak to me, in that still small voice, says to me, “You’re looking for me.”
I realized in that moment, I was not happy or satisfied with my circumstances. I wanted an escape to find some momentary happiness. I was not content. I was not satisfied with what I have.
And what the Lord was saying to me was, all that joy and happiness that I was trying to get through video games was to be found in him. The peace I wanted in my life is peace I am to find in him. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the joy giver. He is joy. He is true happiness.
Not a video game. Not a dress. Not a new TV. Not the next upgrade to my car or house. Not the next thing that will bring me some happiness.
Why? Ask yourself why? The motivations of our hearts reveal our discontentment and what is driving us towards spending our money the way we do, wasting our time the way we do, gathering and worshipping our stuff the way we do.
Why? Why do I want that thing?
Because we have not connected truly with the source of all happiness, joy, and peace.
Because we have not trusted Him who is able to supply all our needs.
Because we are not seeking Him first in our lives.
Because we are not living our lives for eternity, but instead for the comforts of this life.
Because we are selfish.
I came across a verse in Psalms a couple years ago and it’s been stuck in my heart.
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
What is the light and truth that leads us? It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s his holy Word, the scriptures, the truth that fills those pages. Where does it lead us? It leads us to his dwelling, his temple, his altar. And what do we find there? We find Him. We find joy. He is joy. And when we’re there, at his temple finding joy, what is our response. Worship and praise.
Praise is a response of our heart to the goodness of God. Praise is thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for, but did you know that a heart of gratitude is in direct opposition to a heart of discontentment? Thankfulness brings contentment. Keeping our eyes focused on God, our source of provision will bring thankfulness and contentment to our hearts.
So I challenge you. Be that incessant, impatient toddler when it comes to the motivations of your heart. Don’t ever stop asking why. Why do I need this thing? What is driving me? Most of the time, you will find it’s your discontentment. Stop yourself. Instead, thank God. Cultivate thanksgiving and praise in your heart. Keep your eyes on Him, not on stuff. Find peace in him. Find contentment in him. Find satisfaction in him.
Connect Group Ministry Leader