Recently a friend and I went out to dinner and then we went shopping afterwards. We went to all of our favorites stores, Ross, TJMaxx, Homegoods, Marshall's. I think on this particular trip we both went home empty handed, which is often not the case. During the course of the evening we both confessed our tendency to buy ourselves a little something when we're feeling down. In my case, I rationalize it because it comes out of my "fun money" in our weekly budget. We both recognized and confessed that this is not a healthy way to cope with our emotional needs. Neither is a chocolate sundae topped with nuts, (not that I'd know anything about trying that), or even depending on a spouse or a friend to fill up our emptiness. All of those things are temporary fixes at best. The new blouse or trinket for the house will be in next year's Goodwill pile. Those hot fudge sundaes, that tasted good in the moment, don't seem so satisfying when you're sweating to take off the five pounds you mysteriously put on in the past few months. And that husband of yours or that best friend, well the truth is, they aren't always there when you need them, and when they are there, they don't always understand you. Truth is, we don't always understand ourselves, do we?
You see, there's a relentless emptiness and longing in all of us. I've heard it described as a God shaped vacuum inside everyone that only God can fill. That saying seems to have originated with this quote. “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” - Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425) While this quote is not scripture, I do believe it is based on scriptural truth. The satisfaction of our inner emptiness and longing is only truly met when we are being filled up with God's love. I believe we need to take time to let Him fill us up daily. Isaiah 55:2 compares our need for God to our need for daily bread.
There's nothing inherently wrong with buying a new blouse or eating a hot fudge sundae. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting healthy relationships with your spouse or friends. But when you find yourself still feeling empty, remember where your satisfaction really lies. The One Who made you is the One Who's love satisfies you. Let Him fill your emptiness and satisfy the longings of your heart.