I recently saw a video clip of Rainn Wilson (the actor best remembered as Dwight in the U.S. version of The Office) talking about a period of great disappointment in his life.
He said that he was living his dream life: living in New York City, making a living as an actor, and collaborating with wonderfully-talented people. On paper, he seemed to have it all, but in his heart, he was miserable.
Getting everything he ever wanted and finding that it wasn't what he needed set him on a course to rediscover faith in God and a life of growing spirituality.
And then...today...when I picked up Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ (compiled and edited by James N. Watkins) and read the following words (written as if Christ were saying them), I was reminded of Wilson's experience:
Why are you consumed with futile sorrow? Why are you weighed down and wearied with unnecessary cares? Desire my good pleasure, and you will suffer no loss. If you seek after this or that, and go here or there according to what seems advantageous to you or what fulfills your own pleasure, you will never be at peace nor free from care. In everything, something will be found lacking, and everywhere there will be somebody who opposes you.
Therefore it is not gaining or multiplying of this or that thing which brings you satisfaction but rather the despising of it and cutting it by the root out of your heart. You must understand the worthlessness of money and riches. You must not chase after honor and fickle praise. These things all pass away with the world, and they bring no joy if the spirit of devotion is missing. Neither will you experience peace if it is sought from anyone or anything but God. If you do not live in me, your life is without true foundation. You can change without me, but you cannot better yourself without me.
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Truth is...The more I look at me and not Jesus, the more miserable I will be.