Tale of Three Unhappy Women

Laura isn’t happy. Recently married to a wonderful Christian man, she is decorating their first apartment, looking for recipes, and making a lovely nest to begin to build their family. She’s dreamed all her life of this season, expecting that it would exceed the happiness of any other, but apparently, she was wrong. Though she loves her husband and her life is good, she is not happy.

Joanie isn’t happy either. In the fray of school-aged children, Joanie is busier than she has ever been. Her kids are bright, they make good grades, and they are generally obedient and pleasant. Her husband is supportive, and between the two of them, they make enough money to live comfortably. Joanie enjoys her part-time job and seems to have the best of both worlds when it comes to at-home vs employed moms. This is what she’s always wanted, but still, she is not happy.

Happiness also seems to have eluded Christy. Her nest is empty, and her children are successful in their chosen careers. She and her husband enjoy excellent health, and have no significant issues in their marriage. Christy has poured her whole life into her husband, home, and family—which is what she always wanted to do—but she is still not happy.

Fulfilling Life’s Purpose

How about you? Do you think that if you get everything you want in this life, and have the lifestyle you have always dreamed of, you will be happy? I am here today to tell you, dear friend, you will not.

True happiness does not come from anything in this world. If it did, our three friends here would be blissful! But they are unhappy because something is still missing. They are not fulfilling the purpose of their lives.

Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
~Isaiah 43:6a-7

According to this Scripture, all of us—including Laura, Joanie, Christy, and you, were created by God with just one purpose in mind: To glorify Him. The Westminster Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Sadly, most of us are not even aware of this truth.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I want to find my purpose in life!”? The whole world is shouting about human rights, people fulfilling their purpose, and making the most of their lives, or being their best self. These things are promoted as the path to happiness. But if this is true, why the frequent suicides of famous entertainers? Why the drug addictions of successful businessmen? Why the skyrocketing rates of depression (and subsequent antidepressant use) in every demographic of our society? The reason is simple. We are not fulfilling our purpose. We are not seeking God’s glory in our lives.

Why Are You Doing the Things You Do?

But what about those who are living good, godly lives and are still unhappy? The three women in our opening paragraphs are all believers, active in their churches and seemingly very godly. It seems that the things that are doing would bring glory to God, so why the discontentment? We can answer that question by asking another one: Why are they doing the things they do? Perhaps without realizing it, they have begun to be motivated by a desire for something other than God’s glory. Has Laura put all her faith in a husband, marriage, and family, only to find that it lacks the fulfillment she expected? Maybe it’s because, rather than seeking God’s glory in marriage, she sought a spouse to meet her felt needs and to help her find her purpose. Now, she is disappointed.

What about Joanie? She may have set out to glorify God in this busy season of life, but maybe she has become distracted by the intensity of responsibilities and disheartened by the stress of them. If that’s the case, you can be sure she has lost sight of the glory of God in her pursuit of happiness. And Christy? If her goal was to raise successful children, and that job is finished, what is left for her? Maybe she’s unhappy now because she no longer sees a purpose for her life.

Dear friend, all of these ladies have the same problem, and maybe it’s your problem too. You were created to glorify God, but you’ve become distracted from that purpose, and are now striving for goals that are hollow and unfulfilling. I’m not saying you need to change what you’re doing with your life, but maybe you need a new motive of the heart. Honestly, I have been all three of these ladies at one time or another and what I’ve found in each case is that, somewhere between seeking the Lord’s leading in my life, and the discovery of discontentment, the motive of my heart had changed.

If you are seeking God’s glory in any activity, you will never be disappointed, even if you fail by worldly standards. Why? Because God sees your heart, even when you don’t. Our hearts deceive us, but God always knows our motive:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings. ~Jeremiah 17:9-10

If you are sincerely motivated by a desire to bring glory to God in virtually any activity, you will not be disappointed because God is interested in your heart, not your success. If you are struggling today with discontentment, take a look at the things you are doing, and ask the Lord to reveal to you what your true motive is. A baseline question to ask yourself throughout your life is this:

“I was created to glorify God. How am I doing right now?”

Your answer will help you to realign your thinking, your activities, and most of all, your heart!