I gave a short testimonial to some children a few weeks back. In preparing, I was required to remember all the things that I thought I needed to feel “happy and whole” when I was their age. I listed them out one by one. Then I tried to reflect on how this would evolve over the years. This slowly became a list of the things that are important to most of the people my age (30s).
The day of the lecture, a room full of 20 teenagers stared at me as I took the floor. “What was I here to tell them?” I kept trying to answer this question in my head while I was being introduced. “I am here to tell them that all they need is God,” was the last thought before I took my first breath.
And so I began to list out all the things that I had once considered important, how that very list evolved with age and then I went on to tell them how unhappy I had been chasing and acquiring each of these things. Slowly, I saw some of them begin to pay attention.
“You think that these things matter,” I said in a shaken voice, “but there will be a time when your chase is over. You will have all of them, and you will still feel something is off. And then one day, you will lose one, and you will think your wholeness has been compromised. You will suffer because of this illusion. Over the years, the things on your list will change, but the emptiness will not. This is because none were a requirement for happiness.”
We all have a list of things that we consider to be essential to our wholeness. We are wrong about most of them. They will not fill your heart as God can. None will make sense or heal the impossible as He can.
External things perish, get lost, and evolve. They are gifts to enjoy, but they are not to be believed in. Love and peace are constant. Seek these things and you will always have what you need.
The First Commandment tells us to love God above all things. It goes so far as to say we should love Him with all our heart, our soul, and our mind.
But do we really?
There are so many other things that pull on our hearts, souls, and minds to take up God’s space. What takes up the most space differs from person to person. It even differs from year to year, month to month, day to day.
Money, your school grades, the car you drive, what your parents think, your relationship status, the clothes you wear, how busy you are. The list goes on and on.
I’ve cycled through all of those, time and time again. But when I pray “for real” (every single day, for at least 20 minutes), all those things slip down the rankings, giving God back the number one spot. His rightful place, is it not?
The late Maya Angelou once said:
"Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it."
You may not have realized until now just how many other things are taking up your heart, your soul, or your mind. But, now that you do know, it’s time to give God back His spot.
Please remember: if God is all you have, you have all you need.