When I first heard the title of Amy Simpson’s latest book, I was immediately intrigued: Blessed Are the Unsatisfied: Finding Spiritual Freedom in an Imperfect World (InterVarsity Press, 2018).
Of course, our world is imperfect. And who wouldn’t want to find spiritual freedom? But how does that relate to being unsatisfied, and where is the blessing in that?
I appreciate the way Amy unpacks this topic by sharing her personal story, drawing on Scripture, and carefully defining her terms throughout the book.
For her, satisfaction is
a deep, overriding, constant, soul-deep satisfaction that removes all our longings and conquers our human limitations. (page 5)
While we may have moments of satisfaction and experience great fulfillment and meaning in life, we still live as imperfect people in an imperfect world that cannot fully satisfy.
This reality may lead to dissatisfaction:
For dissatisfied people, no amount is enough. No thing is adequate. No person is acceptable. Everything falls short because dissatisfied people either expect too much or simply refuse to be pleased. (page 41)
Instead of relentlessly pursuing satisfaction or living dissatisfied, Amy encourages us to live intentionally unsatisfied–to recognize that we are not meant to be fully satisfied in this life, to accept that our longing for more is a sign of spiritual life, to appreciate that “unsatisfaction reminds us we need God.” (page 22)
When we choose to live unsatisfied, we remain open to our longing for what is far better than what we have, while we abandon the quest to find or manufacture it for ourselves. We embrace current reality in light of our future reality. We accept what we cannot change, knowing someday it will change dramatically. (page 145)
In this, there is much blessing, which Amy defines as “good things intentionally given” (page 57). As we live unsatisfied, God intentionally gives us new perspective, focus, growth, vision, a sense of anticipation for the future, and much, much more.
I’m still mulling over what it means to live unsatisfied and yet be content; to accept that life does not always go my way, yet still experience joy and fulfillment; to realize that this life is not all there is, yet still find meaning and purpose in it.
This is an excellent book to ponder on your own or with a group, and this week I’m giving away a free copy. To enter the draw, just leave a comment below in response to the Writing/Reflection Prompt. Entries close on Saturday, July 14, midnight (Pacific Time).
Writing/Reflection Prompt: The author defines blessing as “good things intentionally given.” What blessing are you thankful for today? Leave your response in the comments to enter the draw for a free copy of Blessed Are the Unsatisfied. I’d love to send it to you!
Thank you to InterVarsity Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. As always, the choice to review and the opinions expressed are my own.
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24 thoughts on “Blessed Are You Who Live Intentionally Unsatisfied”
I am thankful for my family.
I’m thankful that you started this litany of thanks, Jill. I appreciate you!
I am thankful for a few dedicated women who gather to study the Bible with me. Their insights have helped me see new understandings in the ancient text.
What a gift to gather around the Word as a community to study, learn, and gain new insights together!
I am so thankful for my pastoral team colleagues. They laugh at/with me, cry with me, and never fail to prod me in the right direction.
I wish every pastor could have that kind of team, Sue. They sound wonderful!
I am thankful for the gift of retirement, recently begun. I am grateful to share more time with my husband: going to the gym; taking care of the yard; helping to proofread his book/manuscript; and opening our home (more often) to a variety of people.
Your retirement sounds like it’s off to a good start, Marlene. All the best to you in exploring this new season of life.
What the title of this books makes me ponder is where that “intentionality” comes from. An intentionality makes us live unsatisfied against? So my abrupt conclusion is that intentionality is also a gift from God, not human manufactured or willed. But the problem is that no one prays for the intentionality to come and help us live “holierly” unsatisfied…..
I appreciate your conclusion that living intentionally is itself a gift from God. I find it freeing to think about it in that way. Thank you.
Today I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness even when I don’t fully understand God’s plan for my life.
That’s a beautiful testimony, Ruth. We walk by faith and not by sight–when we think we understand and when we know we don’t.
I’m thankful today for insightful writers that challenge me to “think again” or look at things from a different angle.
Me too – that’s one of the reasons I appreciated Blessed Are the Unsatisfied–it made think in a new way about satisfaction/dissatisfaction/unsatisfaction.
I am thankful for those who show God’s love in praying for me from the other side of the world. A priceless, powerful gift.
I am blessed that the incision from my knee surgery on April 20 th, has finally closed. I am now doubly blessed because I can do my knee exercises in the water now. I am triply blessed because I am beginning to walk down the stairs again, a hard task for those like Irene Reimer who has ms, and Denise Parkes who works so hard at walking again after brain surgery. They are an inspiration to me.
I’m thankful to hear of your progress, Maria. And yes, I’m thankful too for those examples of inspiration – quadruply (is there such a word?) blessed!
As I learned last night that my grandfather who raised me has a brain tumor, I am grateful for all the time spent together, for all the happy memories that will stay, no matter the outcome of this even though my heart cries right now; even though arthritis is making my life hard, I am grateful for living in a place where I have access to medical care and relief; in the face of an uncertain future, I am thankful for my spouse’s love, God’s love and grace which are renewed every day and accompany us throughout the night, and a pastoral team colleague who always has an open ear. Life… is a wonder and a precious gift.
Dear Diana, I am sorry for all that you are going through during this time, and am struck by your spirit of gratitude that shines bright even as you speak of these hard things. May God’s grace continue to carry you and your grandfather and all of your family.
I’m thankful for thoughtful writers, seeking God always in their words. It helps me along my spiritual path, carrying empty bags, waiting to be filled!
And so often as writers, we are the ones carrying those empty bags waiting to be filled….and God is faithful!
Thank you for your comments and for entering to win a copy of Blessed Are the Unsatisfied by Amy Simpson. All entries were assigned a number in the order listed, and an online random number generator chose Debbie Baergen as our winner. Please send me your address (https://aprilyamasaki.com/contact/), and I’ll send you your copy. Congratulations!