I call it the Thanksgiving effect.
You come to the table starving and all the food looks amazing so you eat so much that you feel like you won’t be able to eat for three years. But maybe an hour later you’re back for more.
Or you eat so much at your in-laws that you turn down the offer to take home some leftovers because you are just too full and you can’t even stand to look at food right now. But by the time you get home you’re wishing you would’ve grabbed at least some extra dessert.
It’s like we are bottomless pits constantly trying to fill the gap but never making any progress.
I say thanksgiving effect because this is probably the time when this concept is so vivid.
But it happens all the time.
Satisfaction highs and lows
We experience this with the satisfaction we get buying a new car. Everything about the car is just right but 6 months or a year later a newer model comes out and all the flaws from your car start to become very apparent.
This happens to newlywed couples. During, what some have called the honeymoon phase, your spouse can do no wrong. And you just think I could never get enough of them. But once the newness wears off you wish they’d stay at work a little later.
If we had a satisfaction meter attached to our foreheads would constantly come from high- to medium- to low, and back around.
It’s hard for us to be satisfied with anything for long periods of time. We go after what we think will fill us and for a moment it does but soon we need more – it didn’t really satisfy us.
Squares and triangles
The reason is that it’s built into our DNA.
The Psalmist said it this way:
Psalm 63:1 (ESV) O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Augustine of Hippo is credited with saying, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
The reason we can’t be satisfied with anything we can get our hands on is that the void is God-sized. Imagine watching a kid play on one of those toys that have different sized holes. She tries and tries to get the square to go into the triangle shaped opening but it’ll never work only the triangle shaped block will do.
The not so secret sauce
The secret sauce is not so secret. God is who can satisfy you. Nothing else and no one else will do.
But this can be a good thing. Use these times of dissatisfaction to allow the HolySpirit to speak to you.
Every time you start getting hungry or wanting a new thing, or when your spouse just doesn’t seem to meet your needs, hear the whisper of God say, “your soul thirsts for ME”.
And contrary to everything else you’ve tried, God can and will satisfy you.