What does satisfaction look like to you?

“That was so satisfying,” my grandson said.

Surprised, I wondered, “Where did that came from?”  

He had just fished out a slippery shard of thin ice from a puddle. It lay  shattered like glass where he’d thrown it. Red-cheeked and half-frozen, he beamed with pleasure. 

The statement sounded funny from the lips of a sage four-year-old, whose understanding of satisfaction can be summed up by two cookies rather than one, winning a game of Memory, or beating his brothers at Tag.

In his underdeveloped world, where happy and unhappy rule, his regular vocabulary doesn’t yet include the word, “satisfaction.” At this stage of life, getting what he wants pretty much defines how satisfied he feels. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like me, even at my stage of life.    

His fourteen-year-old cousin leaned over and whispered into my ear, “He got that from me, cause I said the same thing.”

Ah. Yes. How quickly we grasp what defines satisfaction by other people’s ideas or examples. How readily others inculcate our perception of what fulfills us. 

Satisfaction can be defined as “fulfillment of need or want,” “contentment,” or “gratification.” 

Jesus talked about true satisfaction in Matthew 5. Crowds came to hear His Sermon on the Mount, and His simple yet powerful message turned the status quo upside down. God’s view of those He named “blessed,” differed from the outward trappings of religious garb and tradition. It laid open the heart. 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Those who hunger for righteousness, or as the original Greek describes, “crave ardently,” are people God calls “blessed.” Those who thirst, or as in the original, “painfully feel their soul’s need,” will find refreshment. The famished heart discovers true satisfaction in Jesus.  

I easily fall into a trap of believing the lie that something, anything, other than Jesus can bring satisfaction. But will it?

Years ago, when I studied the Italian language, I discovered that the typical American mealtime comment, “I’m full,” does not correctly describe the Italian experience. Instead they would declare themselves “satisfied.” Need is met, and no more wanted. 

Eve, with all necessities perfectly met, in a lush and beautiful garden, reached for the forbidden fruit. Humankind’s insatiable desire for satisfaction drives us toward an elusive destination.  

If we leaf through the pages of Ecclesiastes we find its author’s ho-hum experience attests to how riches, power, and fame fall short of gratification or contentment. Sometimes that satisfaction we cannot get leaves its aftertaste in all of our best intentions and greatest achievements. Humankind’s insatiable desire for satisfaction drives us toward an elusive destination. Share on X

So what does true satisfaction look like? 

In the New Testament, a woman once came across Jesus resting at a well. She had tried in vain to find satisfaction in all the wrong places. But what her searching soul longed for, Jesus offered. What does true satisfaction look like? Share on X

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

An older Apostle Paul, bearing life’s scars and in prison for his faith, displayed joy and contentment. He testified to the satisfaction which only Christ could bring. 

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11-12 ESV) 

This is the time of year when we are often caught up in pushing ourselves into planning toward goals which ignore the first and most important truth foundational to everything we do. 

Jesus fulfills our soul’s needs and desires.

The satisfaction we often seek is as difficult to capture as a fragile film of ice skimming on freezing water. And often as momentary. Jesus fulfills our soul’s needs and desires. Share on X

Our relationship with Jesus brings, not necessarily the changes in circumstance we think we need, but the relationship for which our soul longs.

This is lasting satisfaction.


*Photos by Philip Schroeder

14 Replies

  1. Charity Reply

    Love this one! Beautifully written.

  2. Don Pahl Reply

    Thanks, again, Sylvia.

    I think you and I were probably brought up on the same hymnal. Your post just brought these words to mind which I haven’t recalled in 50 or more years.

    “All that I want is in Jesus;
    He satisfies, joy He supplies;
    Life would be worthless without Him,
    All things in Jesus I find.”

    Thanks for jarring the memory … of old hymns and of familiar Scriptures!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      We likely were brought up on the same hymnals, but that one is still a new one to me. Then again there are a lot of things 50 years can wipe out! The words are lovely though and I’m happy to jar your memory. Love those old songs! Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Don!

  3. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Well-penned Ms. Sylvia. How we define satisfaction depends upon whom we are seeking it from, the world or the Word. Some great points ma’am. What satisfies one person may leave another woefully short.

  4. Sylvia Schroeder Reply

    Thanks J.D. I love your statement, “the world or the Word.” Kinda sums it up doesn’t it! Thank you for reading it and it is great hearing from you!

  5. Candyce Carden Reply

    Sylvia, this is so good. I love your analogy of your young grandson’s understanding of the word satisfaction and how it often mirrors our own.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Candyce. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s always a bit unsettling to see yourself in the mirror of a four-year-old!! But, I’m grateful for its lesson.

  6. Ron Gallagher Reply

    Really found this stimulating, Sylvia–read it earlier, but wasn’t in a place where I could get a comment in. The culture we live in makes it so easy to get caught in the treadmill and locked into our routines that the question of how satisfying and fulfilling the outcome of all that effort is. Sometimes just the prod to ask a question leads to insights that have lasting benefits. Thanks for being God’s instrument again.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Ron, I so agree with you. I feel as though that treadmill is a sneaky one too. So many good things become distractions from seeking Jesus and His will first and foremost. When I just run the treadmill, dissatisfaction always seems to be my destination. I really appreciate your thoughts, and I’m honored you took the time to read and respond.

  7. Marilyn Krehbiel Reply


  8. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I confess to continual striving toward goals and not content when I achieve. I just add another task, another project to work toward. Thankfully, our Father is patient and keeps working with me on this. Your message is helpful and hopeful–that I will see the true path of satisfaction through our Lord and Savior. Thank you, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. You are always an encouragement and testimony to me of the strength of Jesus in your life.