You know that one thing in your life you wish was different? That one area that drives you mad with a constant longing to change it—and yet you can’t quite seem to get a handle on it. Maybe it’s out of your control. Most people have at least one stubborn problem that makes them miserable.
Sure, you can ignore it for a while. You can push it away and focus on your blessings in life—that’s the optimist’s defense. But optimist, pessimist, or realist, we all have that one thing tormenting us that never quite goes away. It’s always there, lingering somewhere just beneath your skin like a breakout waiting to happen. You know that if you could just fix this one thing, you’d be perfectly content. You would be happy with life and have no complaints. Not that you aren’t ‘happy’ now (although maybe you aren’t)—but your overall level of well being would be significantly improved. You’d be satisfied.
The Answer to Why
Do you ever ask why? Why do I have to deal with this problem? Why me? Why can’t I conquer this One Thing?
Like any other human being, I have my own One Thing. I’ve asked why more times than I can count. I’ve spent well over a decade pondering why. And only now have I gotten the slightest hint of an answer.
I’m going to share my revelation with you, because finding this clue to the puzzle has encouraged me immensely. Do you want to know why you’re miserable? Here it is:
You were meant for something greater.
Read that again. Let the meaning sink in. Let it take hold of you.
You were meant for something greater.
At first read it doesn’t make sense. After a second and third, it still may not meet your expectation for an explanation. “Okay, I was meant for something great…maybe, maybe not. But what in the world does that have to do with this problem?”
Complacency Breeds Inaction but Dissatisfaction Breeds Change
I’ll use myself as an example to explain the reasoning behind this why.
For years I was unsatisfied. A part of my life felt unfulfilled no matter what I did.
Some people are miserable because their One Thing is the hole that can only be filled by a relationship with God. I don’t talk about faith a whole lot on the blog, but this is one post where it’s applicable, so bear with me. I’ve been a follower of Christ for most of my life, so this wasn’t my personal One Thing. However, having a relationship with the Creator doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied in every area of life—that’s now how it works. We’re all born with desires and longings to be filled—and there’s a reason for that. It’s because the desire inside us is what calls us to action.
Think about it, if you were satisfied in every area of life, what motivation would you have to better yourself? Why learn anything new? Why create? Why try and change the world? You’d have no drive to do anything but sit on the couch and watch television. In my case, I probably wouldn’t even bother getting out of bed.
From Misery Comes Life
I started writing a little over three years ago. Since it’s a relatively new thing, I’ve often asked myself why I write. There’s more than one answer to that question. But I’ve only recently seen it in a new light.
I’ve discovered that writing fulfills something in me that’s deep, elusive, and nearly intangible. Writing is my way of reaching for that One Thing I can never quite obtain. If I’m being completely honest, I write because that One Thing makes me miserable and the act of writing brings relief.
Maybe writing lessens the misery of the One Thing and maybe it doesn’t. But that’s not the point. The point is that I was meant to be a writer!
When I write, I achieve something wondrous. I get to explore, both myself and the world in which I live. I get to create in an amazing, magical fashion. I get to touch others in ways that are more intimate than any type of physical contact. I get to glimpse my true purpose.
Now that I know why, I know something else, too. Writing won’t erase my One Thing. It won’t make the problem go away or completely free me from it. It may not solve the issue, but it makes me come alive.
Writing isn’t the end, it’s my means of living.
Forget the Why and Look for the How
When I consider the possibility that without the One Thing in my life, I might never have had a reason to write, I’m stunned. The idea that I might not have discovered this means of creative expression that has taken over my life for the past three years is too disturbing to consider. That I might have passed by this part of myself like a ship in the night, without ever meeting it, is a close call I would never have wanted to happen.
You were meant for something greater. The One Thing that makes you miserable is the fuel. It drives you to seek change. It spurs you to action. Stop trying to change it. Stop asking why. Instead, let your One Thing painfully yet effectively carve out a hole inside you. Let it create in you a need for something else—for something greater.
Only then will you find what you were meant to be. And only then will you truly come alive.