Why does the job of my dreams feel so empty?

My grandchildren love bubbles. They love to watch them fall to the ground. They love to reach out and touch them. Of course at the moment they are touched, they disappear. Life can feel like this. We can see something that looks so appealing, and chase it, but once we touch it…it’s gone. 

Recently I heard someone say, “I moved to the country of my dreams, and got the job of my dreams, but I only feel empty.” It kind of reminds me of a dentist I once spoke with. They have been running their own dental practice for 20 years. But she said, “I think I chose the wrong occupation.” I spoke with a man who played briefly in the National Football League. He told me, “It felt like nothing. People were so excited about me getting to the NFL, but when I got there, it just felt like a job.”

What we are talking about is disillusionment and disappointment. And these things lead to discouragement and depression. I want to bring you clarity that can help you chart a different pathway that will lead to fulfillment and excitement about the life you are living. 

There is one fatal mindset that sets us up for this empty feeling. 

Here is the wrong mindset: 

We are looking for something outside of us to acquire or achieve to validate ourselves. We tend to think “If I accomplish something great, I will be great.” Or, “Once I get the house of my dreams I will have made it.” Many people think this way of their occupation. “If I get that job, I will be somebody.” 

But what if we saw life from a really different perspective?

Instead of finding something great outside of me, what if I give the great gift inside of me to the world? Instead of looking for a job to make me great, what if I get a job and I make it great by how I do it? Instead of chasing bubbles, what if my life produces fun bubbles to bring joy to others? 

Let me explain it this way. Think of Thomas Edison. He did some great things. The invention of the light bulb was one of those things. I really doubt that he was trying to do that in order to prove or validate himself to the world. He probably created the light bulb because he had a great desire to make a difference in the world. Instead of trying to prove himself to the world, he simply gave his gift to the world. 

The search to validate ourselves is a primary cause of our disillusionment with our life and career. We try to validate ourselves through external accomplishment. We watch others accomplish things, or work a job we dream of, and we assume they are really fulfilled. So we strive to find our great thing out there in the world. But we are just chasing bubbles. 

There is a different way. We can see ourselves as a person with a gift for others. And we can greatly give our gift. Instead of trying to become great; we can serve greatly. We can show up boldly. Instead of having something to prove every day, we can have something to give every day. 

With this mindset, you will grow in fulfillment. And over the course of time you will accomplish great things. And with this heart of fulfillment, you can live with the joy of serving every day instead of chasing bubbles every day. 


Continue ReadingWhy does the job of my dreams feel so empty?

Is freedom possible?


I sat in a circle of friends today and we discussed the topic of freedom. It was incredible. Freedom is one of the most powerful longings of the human heart. That is why the topic is also scary. When we have no freedom it becomes difficult to talk about. Deep down we fear that we will never have it.

Who do you know that you feel lives free? 

I was at a breakfast with a friend and we were discussing this. The waitress came to the table and we posed the question to her. She gave a surprising answer. She said, “Maybe an indigenous group of people that don’t have modern civilization and simply live off of the land.” Her answer was profound. I was stunned when she said that. Why would a waitress have that answer off the top of her head? Does she know anyone that lives free? Does she think that freedom is possible in this modern world?

It’s hard to find freedom when we don’t know the reason for the bondage. 

Oftentimes, we don’t know the cause of our bondage, so we look for the wrong key to get freedom. It doesn’t matter how many times you put the key in the door lock, if it’s the wrong key it will not work.


Freedom does not happen after a problem goes away. 

Many people feel that their problem is the reason they are not living free. Instinct says, “I need to fix my problem, so I can be free.” That sounds logical. But it’s impossible to fix our problem until we find freedom. Normally, our problem is happening because we are living in an invisible prison. The problem is not why we got into the prison. The problem started because we were in the prison. 

Many people live in bondage because of what happened between them and people, but we fail to see it. 

For example, let’s say that a married man or woman is struggling with an addiction to pornography. It seems like pornography is the problem. But, what if I tell you a little more of the story. Let’s say their spouse was caught up in their career and stopped pursuing them. You might say, “Well, that’s no excuse.” It’s not about having an excuse, it’s about understanding what happens in our life so we can experience freedom. By the way, having a spouse that pursues you boldly is like water to our bodies. It is more than important, it is essential. 

Freedom is hard to find because fear and comfort are everywhere. 

We can live our entire life being distracted by fear and comfort. We can run from fear, and toward comfort with every moment of our existence. Culture will support you in living that life. Nobody is going to tell you, “Stop living in fear.” And at every corner someone is selling you a quick way to have more comfort. 

Freedom has a price that many are not willing to pay. 

Freedom requires something that nobody wants to do. We are willing to make many sacrifices for things that we want in life, but freedom asks us to pay a price that most are never willing to pay. What is the price? Surrender. I will not attempt to explain surrender in this post. But I will say this, surrender enables a person to step into the pathway of freedom, and freedom brings with it a reward that makes you forget the price you paid. 


Continue ReadingIs freedom possible?

How do I convince my spouse to get help with our marriage?


Here is a common phone conversation we have: 

Stranger: “Do you do marriage counseling?”

Us: “Yes. We help couples with marriage. Is your spouse wanting to get help as well?”

Stranger: “Well, not really.” 

It is highly frustrating to be in a bad place in your marriage and your spouse is not willing to get any help. I would like to offer three options on how to approach the subject with your spouse. 

Do not make it about them. Make it about us. 

Normally the person that speaks up first about a marriage problem will appear to be accusing the other person of being in the wrong. This will immediately put your spouse on the defensive. They will feel as though you are tattling on them and they will not be sent to the principal’s office for their punishment. Try saying, “Honey, I know we are both frustrated and we don’t want to be where we are right now. I don’t think we know how to fix this. How about we go let someone help us?”

Do not make it about the past. Make it about the future. 

A lot of junk can quickly pile up in a relationship. The thought of digging into all of the things that have happened is an exhausting thought. One person may want to dig into the past, while the other spouse is horrified to bring up the past. Digging into the past is not the key to having a different future. The past needs to be faced at some point, but it cannot be fixed. Try saying, “When you go golfing do you ever take a mulligan? What if we give ourselves a mulligan? What if we let someone help us figure out how to build a great future for us, our kids, and our future grandchildren?”

Do not make it about their problem. Make it about the life you want to have together. 

The problem is rarely the problem. One spouse may be doing something very objectionable, and it may seem like it’s the problem in the relationship, but it is rarely that simple. Your spouse may be drinking too much, gambling, or doing drugs, but focusing on that problem will not be the pathway forward. Instead, try saying, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like where I am as a person. I want life to be more than it is, and I fear that I am holding us back. I would love for us to sit down with someone that can help us build the life of our dreams.” 

If you are needing help with your marriage, I want to encourage you to check out this podcast recording we made. This will offer you some hope and perspective. 


I hope this has been helpful. 

Continue ReadingHow do I convince my spouse to get help with our marriage?

Does Marriage Still Work?

Let’s begin by looking at three stats:

  • About 50% of marriages end in divorce. 
  • About 40% of first marriages end in divorce. 
  • 60-70% of second marriages end in divorce.  
  • 80% of people that get divorced are remarried within five years.

What do these statistics show us? It is interesting that the same stats can be used to draw very different conclusions. 

Some people would say that marriage does not work. I would say that we don’t know how to build a marriage. Marriage is not the problem. How we do marriage is the problem. Many things in life require work to be able to accomplish. Most human endeavors will involve failure, or end in failure. How many people experience failure in building a business, learning how to dance, or learning how to play an instrument? Do we say “Building a business no longer works?” Do we say that dancing doesn’t work anymore? Certainly not. But we tend to blame the act of marriage instead of evaluating how people act in that marriage. 

Here is what we find:

1. We don’t know how to be married.

Who teaches us how to be married? There are programs that help us with many of our endeavors, but who helps us learn how to be powerfully married? Building a marriage, just like learning to play a sport, can take much time, practice, and coaching. 

2. We blame our life problems on our spouse or our marriage.

When we become bored or discouraged about our life we look around us for an explanation. It is very common to think our marriage is the reason for our unhappiness. Our life may have become boring and dull. It is easy to look at our marriage and point the blame at it. What if my marriage is only boring because I have become boring? Marriage exposes who we really are. Our fears, our insecurities, and our selfishness will be exposed by this relationship. Human instinct is to see our marriage as the problem instead of seeing our own personal problem. 

3. We have the wrong expectations about marriage.

We want marriage to work for us, but we don’t let marriage work on us. With this wrong expectation we fight against our own marriage. We get bothered when our marriage pressures us to change. We want a marriage that makes us happy, but we don’t let marriage change us in order to find this happiness. 

Why do 80% of people get remarried within 5 years of divorce?

What does this statistic mean? Why would people marry again after going through the pain of divorce? Maybe some people are looking for financial security. Ultimately, this stat shows that people want love. You might even say we are desperate for love. I don’t see that as a human weakness. Nobody would say that someone is weak because they need food and water. Maybe the heart is made for love just as much as the body is made for food.  

If my marriage is off course, can it be brought back on course?

Realize that every marriage gets off course at some point. There is no other option. Some people believe that a marriage will be great as long as nothing goes wrong. This is not the reality. Actually, marriages become great because two people work through the problems. 

A lot of people need some support to work through the problems and build a great marriage. For the average couple, the only thing they need is some guidance and support. But most couples do not get help. Here is why:

  • We are embarrassed that we have problems.
  • We can’t afford to get any help.
  • We don’t believe that anything can help.
  • Only one person is willing to get help. 

I encourage you with one final thought. Marriage does work. We just need to do the work to build it. If we build our marriage, it will build our life. As we do the work to get our marriage back on course, it will help our entire life move forward. 

Continue ReadingDoes Marriage Still Work?

End of content

No more pages to load