Unfortunately, when most people think of pursuing God, they think of a cosmic fun killer. With this thinking, pursuing God means giving up all life’s comforts and pleasures.
This is far from the truth. After being an atheist for 22 years of my life, finding Christianity was the most liberating and freeing thing I’ve ever experienced. However, I have a much different view of the religion than the people described above.
To be honest, I think a majority of Christians view Christianity differently than I do as well…
In this article, we are going to break down what the possibility of God actually means and how it relates to your moods, worries, troubles, and ultimate fulfillment in life. By the end, you might even have an understanding of heaven as a state of mind, not just a place the good go after death.
When you center your life on pursuing God, you no longer require possessions to make you happy. You no longer worry about events or the approval of others.
By pursuing God, you are learning to cultivate a connection with infinite goodness. And it all comes from within… How could you possibly be shaken by the minor events of your surroundings? What, then, remains to worry or get down about?
When I understood this description of God it changed my life.
If your current view of God is one of rules and guilt, you have it all wrong. If your current view is one of restriction, you have it backwards—God provides freedom from your earthly burdens.
In this article, we will discuss six reasons why God changes everything and leads to liberation of the body, mind, and soul.
#1. The Holy Hole
The hole in our hearts serves as a constant reminder that we are missing something from our lives. You know the feeling – “there has to be more to life”.
Many try to compensate for this emptiness. Some people aim for success and wealth, some strive for a life of experiences, and some work hard for an incredible physique. Others who find themselves deeper in this emptiness turn to drugs and alcohol.
Unfortunately, these things never seem to fill this hole for long.
The desires of the heart are fleeting, always requiring a little bit more. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is always on the tip of the horizon but never in our hands.
Finally got out of debt and saved $10000? Sweet but what’s next? I bet $50000 would feel even better. Got a new BMW? You will probably love it until someone you know gets something nicer. Hit that personal record in the gym after years of training? Feels great…for a day or two until the next goal creeps into your mind.
Additionally, we can lose all the things we work so hard for at any point.
We can lose wealth overnight as in such cases as Black Friday. We can see our hard-earned physiques wither away when confronted by a serious injury. Hell, tomorrow morning your partner could file for divorce.
If that thing which you place your pride and identity in was taken from you, what would you have left?
A Christian’s primary pursuit is a relationship with God. A happiness that is internal and eternal and can never be lost.
Now, in The Reason For God, author Timothy Keller uses this feeling of emptiness we experience as suggestive proof for the existence of God…
We can relate every craving or instinct we have as humans to something that is important to our survival. These instincts make it obvious that what we crave is real.
Hunger shows us that we need food. Fatigue shows us that we need sleep. Thirst shows us that we need water. And, proposedly, the hole in our heart shows us that we need something beyond what this world can offer.
I cannot prove God’s existence but I know from personal experience this thirst is quenched by pursuing God.
#2. Meaninglessness In Life Vs. Purpose
A sense of meaninglessness in life is likely the greatest cause of depression in the world today. If everyone believed they had a purpose, Prozac wouldn’t exist.
To find a purpose in life may require you come to the conclusion that you were created on purpose, not by chance. If you can accept you were created on purpose, for a purpose, you can begin your quest to find out exactly what that is.
'Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone's task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.' - Viktor E. Frankl
I spent 22 years of my life living in the dark shadow of meaninglessness. A life without meaning, when coupled with suffering, almost brought me to suicide.
Chronic fatigue made my days a chore and anxiety made my days scary. Meaninglessness made it all, well, not worth it.
Shortly after my breakdown described here, I began pursuing God.
Soon after, I was introduced to a welcoming and non-invasive church. I comfortably came to my own conclusions and took things at my own pace without anything being shoved down my throat.
To my surprise, I found purpose almost immediately…
Within a few short months of attending Church, the idea to help others in similar situations via a blog came to me. It appeared to be a neatly packaged present from the heavens above.
Less than a year later, I turned my passion into a career. My life is abundant with meaning and my depression is all but gone. Happiness and enthusiasm have become my default emotions.
Imagine what your life would look like if you woke up with real purpose—Purpose that fulfilled your hearts desire. It would be easier to get out of bed, don’t you think?
Now, is this proof of God? Of course not.
But, I’ve personally learned to stop doubting if it isn’t necessary. Wishful thinking, answered prayers, and a mission statement makes me feel much more fulfilled and hopeful than I ever was prior.
By pursuing God one of two things will happen for you:
- Nothing happens and you are free to go back to doing things your way.
- God works in and through your life…You find purpose.
Worth a shot?
#3. Peace Over Worry
'How do you know when God isn't at the center of your life? You worry!' - Rick Warren
What you worry about most is the most important thing in your life.
If you are a student, you likely worry most about your grades or success. A parent will likely worry most about their child and a CEO would worry about his company.
Whatever your focus is, it likely brings with it countless opportunities to allow stress to enter your life. When we stack many stresses on top of each other, we begin to see our health deteriorate.
At the center of the Christian religion is the belief that God will take care of his people.
'Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.'
By pursuing God, you are putting him at the center of your life and thoughts. By centering our thoughts on God’s perfection, our worries become less intense. We then have less to worry about and more faith that God will take care of our real issues.
Finally, we can get out of our own way and give our worries to God.
With stress being the single greatest cause of illness and health problems, we now begin to see medical benefits emerge from spiritual practices.
I lived with a crippling anxiety disorder for over half my life. It crushed my energy, caused me to shy away from opportunities, and even damaged my relationships. I can now say with utmost confidence and sincerity that I have 110% overcome it. In fact, I often find myself at peace in situations where everyone around me is worrying…
I never took medication. I give all the credit of the peace I have attained to my belief in God. In my experience, worry belongs to atheists.
#4. God and Gratitude
Gratitude’s power in combating depression is unparalleled. However, it can be hard to get the gratitude ball rolling.
As Newton’s law states: an object will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force.
When unhappy, the idea of gratitude is nice but it is much easier to place a heavy emphasis on our problems. Even when we do attempt to be grateful, it can fall flat and feel forced.
The message of God’s grace can be a powerful catalyst for growing gratitude. It can be the external force acting on our stagnancy—the force that gets us back on our feet.
When understood, God’s grace makes gratitude easy, natural, and deeply healing.
What exactly is this message?
God created the miracle of life and then gave you a chance at it.
The creator of the Universe loves you so much he came to Earth to die for your imperfections and ensure that, you too, could have eternal life.
No matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, who you’ve wronged, God offers a second chance and a new life. God is perfect so we don’t have to be.
All we have to do is accept the gift of Grace and let God get to work through our lives.
#5. Creationism and Mindfulness
Mindfulness definition: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness is wildly popular for people who struggle with depression and anxiety. However, for someone with an over-active mind like myself, it is much easier said than done.
When I was anxious, I always found myself focussing on events set in the future. In my head, I figured if focussed on them, I could control them. My need to plan and control everything never did me any good. I constantly worried and found myself exhausted on a daily basis as a result.
Likewise, many people get stuck focussing on the past and have a hard time living for today.
Both types of people – the worriers and the dwellers – need to place a heavier focus on the now to enjoy life to its fullest.
'For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.' - C.S. Lewis
Creationism may very well be the antidote.
If God created the heavens and the Earth, then everything we come in contact with has a divine element to it.
The beauty of plants and animals becomes profound. Nature becomes awe-inspiring. Everything feels alive and full of depth.
This liveliness pulls us in with interest and wonder, making it easier to enjoy what the present moment offers.
Now, science is actually fascinating, not proof that God doesn’t exist. The laws of physics and chemistry are a testament to the complex nature of a potential Creator.
The Bible says that the same infinitely powerful Creator wants a personal relationship with you—to protect and pave your way. If this is true, the future is bright and no longer worthy of worry. Instead, joy and excitement are forever present.
You can feel a discomforting emotion arise, acknowledge it, and then just as easily allow it to dissolve into the divine while you get back to the present.
Life becomes beautiful from the perspective of creation.
#6. Heaven Vs. Death
The idea of an afterlife can stir all sorts of emotions.
If you are in the grasp of anxiety or depression, living forever may not seem like a pleasant idea. One life of pain is enough to get through.
But, what if this afterlife was pain-free and full of happiness? This was a place you could reunite with lost loved ones and begin fresh without your earthly burdens?
I can’t convince you the afterlife exists. Divine perfection can be a hard concept to grab hold of. However, if you could come to the conclusion this afterlife existed, how would it affect your life?
Would you strive to be a better person? Knowing it would all work out, would you allow trivial concerns to devastate you?
With heaven at the forefront of your thoughts, the troubles of life will begin to seem obsolete. It will feel as though you wear a suit of emotional armor, confident nothing can hurt you.
Is This All Just Wishful Thinking?
A common barrier for people in their belief is the argument of wishful thinking.
Since the Bible was written by man, it is commonly argued that religion was created for comfort in “harsher times”.
I find this argument humorous.
Imagine your Grandma was on her deathbed with just a few precious hours to live. As you sit there with her in her last few hours, she has an unmatched peace with her.
You ask her “Grandma, are you not afraid?”. She replies “Of course not. I’m going to Heaven. I’ve spent my whole life preparing for this moment.”
How would you respond? Would you flip a table and tell Grandma to cut out the wishful thinking and to come back to reality? Or would you be happy knowing that, even in the face of death, your Grandma went out with a smile?
What about a mom whose child has cancer—relying on wishful thinking is the only way she can sleep at night? What would you tell her?
What about someone who managed to completely eliminate their severe depression and anxiety with wishful thinking? Would you tell them to get real even though you are depressed and they no longer are? Who’s way is better?
Or the guy who achieved extraordinary success because he believed his venture was his life’s purpose and, therefore, denied the possibility of failure?
As a Christian, you can live every day of your life with this same peace of mind.
So, what is the worst case of wishful thinking? How would you ever know the difference in the end anyway if it was?
“Harsher times” is also entirely arguable. In the 21st century, rates of depression have never been higher. What constitutes “harsher times”?
I’d stick my neck out to say that now more than ever we need wishful thinking. The world is falling apart, even the blind can see that.
Christianity provides a fortress to the problems of the world. As Christians, we may wish to fix some of the world’s problems but they do not harm our well-being…
We live in the kingdom of God.
PS – If you’ve made it this far, I highly recommend reading The Reason for God as mentioned above to further build on these ideas. It is a presentation of God that is by no means invasive or threatening
If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to check out Man’s Guide to Well-Being: Take Control of Your Mood and Life