The Ideal Life You Want Isn’t Enough

That's why God gives you what you need before what you want.

Most people live for dreams. It’s a quest, really. Clinging to ideals of how life could and “should” be, they chase those dreams like a carrot on a stick. Always within reach, but never gotten.

The Ideal Life You Want Isn't Enough

(Photo by Photodune)

I guess we’re all wired to pursue the ideal. The world calls it following “your heart,” and we Christians refer to it as “the will of God.” But in truth, we generally settle for nothing less than our version of how life ought to be.

Any search for the ideal needs only to look at the Garden of Eden to see the futility of that pursuit.

God points us a different direction.

The Original Ideal Life

Adam and Eve lived in paradise—literally. Think about it.

They had:

  • an unspoiled environment
  • the perfect spouse
  • a great occupation
  • plenty of food
  • an easy decision of what to wear each day—nothing!

They lived without a care in the world—with no sin to mar their motives. It was an ideal life in every sense of the word.

But it wasn’t enough.

The Limitations of Perfection

Along with an ideal life, deep within their hearts resided the possibility of discontent. Understand, this possibility wasn’t sin—but it represented a necessary potential in their relationship with God.

  • Because they could sin, it meant their worship of God originated from their wills—not from their reflexes.
  • They chose to obey—or not.

In other words, an ideal life had nothing to do with what went wrong. In the midst of perfection, they chose to sin.

Their circumstances were irrelevant.

That’s important to remember as we follow God’s plan for our lives.

Ideal life

(Photo by Janine from Hawaii. Uploaded by Fæ. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Rather Than Chase Your Ideal Life

Finding the ideal life doesn’t mean finding utopia. Even in the midst of His will for us, there will be snakes.

  • Temptations will come.
  • Our career won’t make life all we want it to be.
  • Neither will a husband, or a wife, or a family, or a house, or a church.

That’s the lie of the devil echoing from Eden. That’s the futility of chasing the ideal.

The True Ideal Life

The ideal life we’re searching for is really not what we want—that is, if we could see the big picture like God does.

As in Eden, our circumstances are secondary to our wills. Our challenge is to cling to what God says even when everything within us feels tempted to run the other way.

Although it seldom feels so, obedience is the ideal life we’re seeking.

Tell me what you think: How have you seen God’s wisdom in giving you the life you have rather than the life you wanted? To leave a comment, just click here.

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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.

• What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life he has given you?

If you find yourself waiting on God—or if you don’t know what God wants you to do next—this book offers a wise and practical guide to finding hope and peace in life’s difficult pauses.

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