There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . Mark 10:29-31
Part of me has always been concerned that following God would mean missing out on all this world has to offer. It’s my nature to seek the experience, living life to the fullest. I want to eat everything, see the world, and do it all. Deep down, I’m worried that following God – and abandoning self – means that I’ll miss out on satisfying my big appetite.
I discovered the dark side of this in my drug addiction, which was the most obvious example of attempting to experience all life had to offer. When I first discovered pills – after a surgery – I quickly realized I loved the feeling and I wanted more. Like donuts, I don’t want just one. I want them all.
Even in the disastrous consequences of my addiction, I’ve had difficulty letting go of my way. When I went to God, asking him what I needed to do to find recovery, he asked me to make a daily effort to abandon myself and follow him. I wanted something in return. I asked if he’d give me back my family, job, and old life. This was not part of the deal. God promised that I’d find abundant life in him, but beyond that, I was guaranteed nothing.
This is exactly what I needed to learn. I needed to discover that true life was not found in following my way, living for my appetite. That way was fun for a while, but immediate gratification must be paid for eventually. True life, joy, purpose, and meaning, paradoxically are found only in abandoning me to follow God.
This doesn’t mean I must live in sackcloth and ashes. In finding faith and recovery, I was able to return to work and I did get my family back. I had to learn first though, that my life’s meaning was not found in anything but God. Because he created me for an intimate relationship with him, I can only find the answer to my life’s greatest needs when I look to him for satisfaction. I cannot fill my soul’s hunger with a pill, donut, job, or another person. God is the only adequate solution to my life’s appetites.