Barry Schwartz is a psychologist and a compelling speaker. In his book The Paradox of Choice, he draws from research that for most people “more” really is “less”. He reasons that the more choices someone has, the more the person is set up for unmet expectations and regret.
For example, imagine that you take your wife on vacation and choose online from one of 30 condos on a beach somewhere. If Schwartz’s thinking is correct, as you walk the beach in the late evening, you will look at the 29 condos you did not select and wonder how your vacation would have been if you had chosen a different place to spend a week. Instead of savoring the moment on the beach, you will notice the chairs in which you did not get to sit, the view which you do not have, and the hammock that is not hanging on your porch.
Maybe I am just more sinful than you, but I have been there. Only I believe the problem is not with the number of choices, but with the sinfulness of the human heart. In our sinfulness, we look for something other than God to quench us and it never does. Thus we find ourselves empty wanting something else.
Christ is the One who satisfies, the only One who quenches the deepest desires of the heart. He who is never satisfied is he who has never met Christ.
The apostle James wrote:
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war… (James 4:1-2)
The word for “cravings” in the original language is the word from which we get “hedonism.” It is uncontrolled and passionate desire. The internal conflict within those who do not know Christ is ongoing; their desires are never met. This conflict manifests itself externally in quarrels and fights. This unquenchable desire comes from beneath the surface and plagues all of humanity.
But God offers us grace in Christ Jesus. As Augustine said, “The thought of You (God) stirs man so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises You because You made us for Yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You.”
If you are walking on a beach this summer wishing you had booked another condo, realize the 29 other condos would not satisfy that internal desire either. Only He does. Draw near to Him. Humble yourself before Him.