Today’s post is from Tim Branch, a blogger and author who writes at timbranch.com. He shares his struggle with spiritual dissatisfaction and how God transformed him.
My name is Tim. And for the longest time, I felt extremely unsatisfied in my relationship with God.
I can remember exactly when I realized it. I was in 7th grade on the bus back home. My friend Chris told me the cutest girl in our grade said I was a dork.
Those words cut me deep. I had big glasses and I played a lot of video games, but I had never been called a dork before—especially not by someone I so desperately wanted to like me.
I had no idea how to deal with it. I guess I am a dork.
It was my Adam and Eve moment. All of a sudden, I looked down and realized I was naked. I had something to be ashamed of. The real me wasn’t safe. The real me wasn’t enough.
I came home and fell onto my bed, wishing I could be more like the guys this girl liked. Wishing I could be anyone but myself.
I looked at my life, and realized how sick I was of it: Going to school, trying to be invisible, coming home to do homework, watching the girl I like date someone else, feeling unnoticed and unimportant. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Back then, when I didn’t know where else to go, I would hide in a good story. I would let a book or a movie or a video game transport me to a different world, where I didn’t have to be who I was.
I remember flipping the pages of Harry Potter that night, thinking:
How did the author of this book create such a better world than the one God created?
That seed of doubt led me to stop believing that God could truly satisfy me. He must not know what I really need, or His world wouldn’t be so miserable.
I came to the conclusion that I had better just learn to deal with being unsatisfied.
After all, if God really loved me, and He was really able to satisfy me, then why hadn’t He already done it?
Maybe because He couldn’t.
In the church, we hear so much about how there’s a hole in our heart, and the only thing that can fill it is God.
So then, why is it that so many of us Christians feel unsatisfied in our lives?
I know I’m not the only one. If you’re still reading this, you’ve probably felt the same way before.
You’ve been disappointed—even wounded—by the words of someone else, and wondered whether this was the best it was gonna get.
You’ve put on mask after mask, longing desperately to become someone worth celebrating, someone who finally matters.
You’ve struggled to believe how God could have possibly been telling the truth when He inspired Paul to write in Ephesians 3:19 that we could be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
If so, take heart. Because after living so much of my life feeling that way, here’s what I discovered:
That dissatisfaction you feel…is holy. In fact, it’s the very thing that will lead you deeper into God.
God can satisfy us—and He intended for us to follow our dissatisfaction like a map.
Here are the 2 things our dissatisfaction does better than anything else:
1. It forces us to move.
2. It tells us to travel in a certain direction.
When we’re unsatisfied, we naturally follow our hunger to find satisfaction. That hunger is a gift.
I’m learning that the dissatisfaction is actually my greatest advantage in my relationship with God. Because it means God has given me the gift of not being content with where I am. He left a vacuum open within me, and He intended for me to follow it straight to Him.
I remember one time in high school, I planted myself in my bed with my Bible and told Him, “I’m not moving from this spot until I encounter You in some way.” It took hours for Him to show up, but that was the first time I ever remember feeling the deep, deep satisfaction of God.
The Lord met me in my emptiness. He didn’t do it immediately. It took me searching, looking, pushing—which happened because of my dissatisfaction.
The more unsatisfied I got, the more I cried out to God, and the more I listened for God’s voice, and the harder I searched for God. And it wasn’t long before I realized how much deeper I could go into my intimacy with Him.
That makes me believe that our dissatisfaction isn’t something to resent. It’s something to respect. It’s God’s bread crumb trail that He left for us, to lead us straight to our original design.
Of course, dissatisfaction will take you two different ways: either toward God, or away from God. And when it takes you away from God, it takes you far away from God. In order for dissatisfaction to be an ally, you need to have at least a shred of belief that He’s the real solution.
If nothing else, let my story be that shred of belief for you.
Today, I often feel unsatisfied. Because the world is broken. But I know it’s calling me to a new pilgrimage—to move closer to God. Dissatisfaction is His calling card. “Come spend time with Me. Come and listen to Me. Make real space in your life for Me, so I can fill you to the measure, just like I promised. Don’t settle. Don’t give up. Keep pushing in.”
A question for you as you get back to your day:
What if, by using your dissatisfaction, God is intentionally creating an empty space in your heart that He’s preparing to fill?
I’m not satisfied with the way I have settled for the scraps this world can offer when God has a banquet waiting for me. And that very dissatisfaction…is Godly. I want to listen to that.
I encourage you to do the same. Follow your hunger. Let it inspire you to create space for God, talk to God, and then do something very few people actually do: Stop talking for a minute and listen to God.
You might just hear Him.
Tim Branch is a Christian blogger, former youth pastor, and Chick-fil-A aficionado. He writes at timbranch.com, a blog about how to understand yourself and grow into who God originally designed you to be.