I spend a lot of time with dissatisfied people. It seems an odd way to spend my time, but if I didn’t do this I might be alone a lot. Professionally, the dissatisfied seek me out. Personally, I know few people who are truly content right where they are. I mean those who seriously examine their lives and remain at peace with all that they see.
I am convinced one of the most elusive aspects of freedom, is the ability to be free when you are…not…quite…free…yet. It sounds a bit contradictory, but in many peoples lives this is the thing that holds them back.
They are waiting for their breakthrough. The moment life can finally begin as they have imagined it. The golden ticket, the bailout, the promotion, or finally the recognition they have deserved all these years. They are waiting for the One Thing that will finally make life work.
I wonder what it is? This mechanism inside of us that keeps us waiting, not just waiting, pursuing. This part of our heart that believes it will not be satisfied without the Elusive Thing. Whatever name we might place on this mechanism in our souls, I am convinced it is not our friend.
I suppose that at it’s root, it is not such a bad thing. We are made for more than we currently have. The world we inhabit is only a shadow, or a poor imitation of the one for which we have been made and destined. To be fully satisfied here and now may also be a trap. It is the other side of this self-same trap that I am trying to describe.
You know…the part of you that insists, something that exists on this unsatisfying planet has the ability to finally and fully satisfy. You become convinced that the new car, those last ten pounds, rock hard abs, or the latest The Rocket Summer CD is the final piece of the puzzle that will allow your soul to rest and be still. (OK, given, the Rocket Summer CD kind of comes close…).
But to finally rest, we must at some point recognize that it is the lack of rest itself that keeps us unsettled, not the lack of the object of our pursuit. Learning to balance the “we were meant to live for so much more” with the “I can be content in all things” is a great leap into this life called Freedom. If today, I am again denied that temporary desire, do I inwardly rage, or do I rest in the assurance that my Father who is in Heaven knows what I need, (and when I need it) and that He cares for me?
What I think we do not see with clarity, is that the unrest, the inward rage, is often the first step down some internal slippery slope of resentment, jealousy, fear, or even self-contempt. A downward slide that ultimately fuels a fire much hotter than just the wishing that I could have a (place object of desire here) . We come to equate the fact that our imagined breakthrough moment has not come with the idea that perhaps God has forgotten me, or worse, that He remembers but doesn’t care.
So today I desire. I will desire fully. John Eldredge says that desire is the central essence of our lives. It is the internal mechanism that is designed to draw us magnetically back to our Creator. It is the oft-hijacked mechanism that drives us toward various objects of desire. Our desires are an essential, if not the essential element of being one who is created in the image of God. I will not despise the fact that I desire. But neither will I be mastered by it.
If today the object(s) of my desire remain out of reach I will also trust. I will trust that the fact that I did not get my way, does not mean that God has been thwarted in His attempt to make me happy. I will trust that today God intends to give me satisfaction today, through some means other than feeding the particular appetite I have today.
Today I will both desire deeply and trust fully. I think if I do, I can be free right now!