What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so your murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
When I read this passage in James, it was as if the root of my unhappiness on a daily basis was being uncovered before me. Why is it that I am always unsatisfied with what I currently have? When I’m in medical school, I ask for good grades and academic achievement. When I have good grades, I seek the approval of others. When I earn praises from professors, I look for achievement in research projects. When I publish research papers, I wish for success in my hobbies, such as blogging. It goes on.
The same story replays for personal life as well. When I got engaged, I asked for a perfect spouse who never makes mistakes. When others post pictures of their weddings, I frantically compare myself to them and spend time to plan a even more creative and stunning wedding. When others move on to medical residency, I want to work as well. When my friends take gap years to explore other interests and careers, I fear that I would be missing out on those opportunities too.
To sum it up, I have major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in life.
I always desire more and end up unhappy when I don’t have what I desire. And ultimately, my desires are all centered around my satisfaction, how to make myself happier or my life comfortable, and not centered around desiring God.
Of course, it’s easier said than done, but if I could just refocus back on the Lord, and learning to acquire patience, gentleness, meekness, hospitality and mercy, as well as other fruits of the Spirit, my complaints and unsatisfaction would all disappear. After all, Jesus fulfills our deepest satisfaction in this life, while the world can only provide a temporary fix and create a deeper thirst at the end.
Instead of desiring more, I need to learn to desire God.