The Myth of “One Day”

The MythofMore

For years I thought I could finally relax, finally rest and feel satisfied once my world was in the order.

Once my house was cleaned . . .

Once the kids were in bed . . .

Once we could save a little money . . .

Once our careers really got of the ground . . .

Once I attained my ideals I thought the emptiness—the gnawing hollowness and discontentment would fade. I thought once I achieved “enough,” I’d be satisfied, but that day never arrived. Click To Tweet

I finally did get my house cleaned, and the kids in bed, and a little money saved. Our careers really began to fly, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something.

Meanwhile, I had dinner to cook and soccer practices to cart the kids to. We bought a house in the suburbs, the kind of neighborhood I never thought I’d live in, with a lake and manicured lawns. Time slipped by and I kept sensing the hollow feeling, that I was meant for more and made for more.

I totally misinterpreted this restlessness. I pushed myself to produce and do more. And boy did I have things to do with the diapers and dishes stacking up. And then, in what must have been an act of insanity, I volunteered my husband and I to take over the youth group at our church. In the flurry of activity and then a new baby, I kept coming up empty. I knew the answer was in Jesus. Of course I did.

But I was Eve staring at that piece of forbidden fruit, dissatisfied with the known. Always wanting more.

The Path to Lasting Satisfaction

That first sin crippled mankind’s ability to live loved by destroying mankind’s relationship with God. The world has never been the same.

I picture sin’s entrance into the world a bit like the movie The Wizard of Oz, only in reverse. When Dorothy reaches the way to Oz, the yellow brick road, her world transforms from black and white into a Technicolor dream. Sin, on the other hand, left humans in grainy black and white, the absence of God’s presence.

Sin’s devastation wreaked havoc on the union Adam and Eve shared with God. It ended their strolls their the garden. I can’t imagine the regret Adam lived with, the gaping absence of God’s nearness. The pain he must have suffered the remainder of his life. How do you live in harmony with all of nature, wielding the greenest thumb of all time, only to battle with the ground by the sweat of your brow?

To know Love himself, but then lose intimacy with him? To go from ultimate satisfaction, finding identity in God alone, but to have that ripped away only to face frustration and discontentment?

Imagine winning an all-inclusive vacation package, complete with decadent food, expensive drinks, and an opulent suite, only to be kicked out of the resort. A few days later, you sit hungry and alone, eating leftovers out of a restaurant’s trash can on the other side of the island. You remember the taste of the creme brulee, the bubbly feeling of champagne in your mouth.

When you’ve tasted perfection how do you return to bland food?

The ache for more that we all experience is the echo of eternity written on our hearts (Ecc. 3:11). Click To TweetPerfect Love continues to woo us—the dissatisfied and disappointed, the forbidden-fruit eaters, the fail-ers and the unfulfilled. We don’t pursue God without him first pursuing us. We love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). No one comes to the Father unless the Spirit first draws them (John 6:44). God invites us to seek fulfillment in him.

He longs to rescue us from eating out of the trash heap so we can be his guests at a never-ending feast.

Author’s note: The above is an excerpt from my work in progress, a book about chasing contentment in God.

Four Things I Learned from Living with Cockroaches

Photo by Kathy via Creative Commons Flickr,

Photo by Kathy via Creative Commons Flickr.

Another Kathy photo, via CC Flickr. "Eating at night always makes me gain weight."

Another Kathy photo, via CC Flickr. “Eating at night always makes me gain weight.”

My ability to see a cockroach out of the corner of my eye borders on a superpower.

I honed this skill after five months of watching these creatures crawl back into walls when I turned on the kitchen lights.

I worked among roaches, too.

Since my work commute included a jaunt into the spare bedroom, crawlers surrounded me all day.

Can someone say heebie-jeebie? I shudder to type the word roach now, but I will for two reasons. I want to face my phobia and tell you what I learned about tough times from these little fellas.

1. Hard times can infest any home. Just as roaches don’t care whether you live in a mansion or a shack, difficult times are no respecters of persons.

We all go through valleys and slumps in life and have moments we long to do over.

2. Only God gives lasting peace. I know my little roach story may not compare to real suffering, but I know the One who carries us through the large and small trials.

This peace Jesus gives—this Peace He is—doesn’t go away. It’s permanent hope for our life and can be applied to ANY circumstance.

Believe me, those five months living with roaches tested me. Our roachy apartment showed me how peace can calm an ocean of fear.

We always have the ability to tap into this peace through prayer and meditating on His truth.

Kathy, you may have too much time on your hands. Still, nice name, "I think these make my antennae look fat." Via CC Flickr.

Kathy, you may have too much time on your hands. Still, nice photo title, “I Think These Make My Antennae Look Fat.” Via CC Flickr.

3. Cockroaches love a dirty house, like hard times love a messy life. Ever met someone whose drama never ends? At some point their drama snowballed and started creating its own drama.

Sometimes God leads us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and other times we pitch our tent there.

I wish I could tell you I’ve avoided self-inflicted difficult seasons, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Here’s what I know. My life gets “messy” when my thoughts stray from God’s truth.

When I choose to let my mind feast on the negative, tough times are almost sure to follow.

4. Move on and don’t let any bugs (or excess drama) come along. Since roaches are natural hitchhikers, I consider it one of God’s greater miracles these bugs didn’t follow us when we moved into our house four years ago.

These are the things nightmares are made of. But I did take a ton of precaution to keep the little dudes from jumping into our boxes. (I bagged everything in plastic).

Hard times teach us to rely on God. Sometimes we need extra time and care from Him. If you’re in one of these seasons in life, please believe, God longs to meet with you and speak to you. He’s not against you. He’s always for you.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:2-5).

How God Remodels a Shabby Heart

me and mike

I wasn’t coincidence I booked the grungiest hotel room in North Dallas. I’m pretty sure the Sovereign God pre-planned the metaphor.

I entered a broken, near suicidal woman and penned the following in my journal.

My heart looks like this shabby hotel room.

Peeling wallpaper. Water-stained ceiling. Roach in the toilet. Curtains as old as me. Pictures one step up from clown art. Only the TV looks like it belongs in this decade. It’s in desperate need of a remodel—just like I am.

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I pour my life out and ask God to remake it. Will His Spirit hover over my chaos and confusion, like He once hovered over the depths? With my last bit of faith, I ask Him to remake me and create in me something beautiful.

I ask God to part the sea of anxiety I have been swimming in for months. My mind longs for silence, and I hope for death if only to quiet my anxious thoughts.

I can see myself pull the trigger. I imagine blood soaking the pillows and sheets, flowing along the seams of the mattress. I will wrap my head in a trash bag to stem the mess of blood. Will the bag be much help against a bullet?

Where do I place the gun? At my temple or the roof of my mouth?

When I entered that hotel room, I had forgotten God’s goodness. Fear bullied me. Bitterness and self-pity kept me company day and night.

In the bedside table lay a Gideon Bible. I lifted it out of the drawer and turned toward Psalms. The Psalms of lament were the only Scripture I could stomach. The first passage I read sparked hope.

“The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful” (Psalm 116:3-5 ESV).

The verse hit me like a life preserver strikes a panicked, drowning woman, and I clung to the hope. I willed myself to believe in God’s grace and mercy.

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I began to pray that God would remodel me. I didn’t want to live a bitter, angry life. I didn’t want to just plaster a smile on my face at church. I wanted to live from a wellspring of joy.

Right on top of the quilted bedspread, I repented and asked for God to remake me. But how does God remodel our lives?

He usually starts with truth from his Word. When I let that truth seep into my heart, the remodel process began. Like a sledgehammer, it knocked down a structure of lies I had let the enemy construct.

God had to do more demolition work in my heart, but the work He started in that shabby room, he would complete. Not only that, he would lead me to healing through meditating on his Word.

Like balm on cracked lips, his Word infuses healing into our lives. “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107:20 ESV).

I didn’t see a way out and I couldn’t envision hope, but he came and whispered truth to me.

That’s why I can confidently tell you God can lift you out of your pit, whatever your situation. It doesn’t matter if you dug the pit yourself. God can and will rescue you if you’ll let him.

Whether you war against anxiety, depression or another form of lies, Jesus is the door to peace. He is Hope itself.

The reason the Son of God put on flesh and stepped into time, happens to be you and me. The Doctor came to relieve the sick.

If your life is in need of a remodel, don’t settle for anything less than the remaking love of God.

When Self-Hate Threatens Another Beat Down

Photo by Rachel Cramer via Creative Commons

Photo by Rachel Cramer via Creative Commons

 

I had a holy moment today. Not quite a take-off-your-shoes-you’re-on-holy-ground moment, but almost.

You’ve probably had your own God-epiphanies.

The word revelation comes to mind because my heart instantly understood what my head has always known.

God loves me.

I did what I always do in these God-thick moments, and I cried.

I realized how void my life is of His Love. I saw how often I run from this love because I don’t feel worthy.

I test and measure myself and always come up short. Jesus never measures me this way.

He is love. He is forgiveness. Redemption. Peace.

So, why do I struggle sometimes—and I mean truly wrestle with condemnation, fear and all-hands-on-deck self-hate? Not to mention my daily tug-o-war with anxiety.

My history of legalism, no doubt, has contributed. And without God’s love in the center of our lives, won’t we always teeter on the edge of legalism?

When love doesn’t motivate us, how can we experience a relationship with Christ that doesn’t end in an authoritarian relationship based in fear?

I’ve also had many run-ins with those who speak in God’s name but don’t espouse His very nature of love.

Church has taught me to be wary of loving myself, to care little for myself.

I’m learning there’s a difference in loving yourself and making an idol of self.

God’s teaching me how to love myself because He first loved me. If I can take a peek through His eyes, I won’t swim in self-defeat. I won’t even stick in my toe if I can daily catch a glimpse of this all-satisfying love.

We like to believe we’re carving out time for God when we pray or read our Bibles.

But isn’t it really time to position ourselves before the God of love because somehow a holy transaction takes place and this God-type love rubs off on us?

When we experience God’s love at our core, we love ourselves. Self-hate and God’s love can’t coincide. We love ourselves as a byproduct of God’s love working in us.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39 ESV).

Will you posture yourself to receive His love today? In a nanosecond, He can reveal His love to you and buoy you out of a swamp of condemnation and fear.

Will you let Him?

 

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