Thursday, July 3, 2008

This Isn't What I Signed Up For (WARNING - Long and heavy)

I referenced this phrase 2 posts ago in regards to how I think my children must feel. As I stated then, it is a feeling that I think is ingrained in us from birth, but shifts as we age. It's a feeling I'm fairly certain was placed there by our creator due to that fact that this, indeed, is not all we were created for. We were created to transcend the minor motions of day to day life. (Yes, I did just use the word transcend, I know it's a big word for me.) Transcend to what, however, is where most of us screw it all up. (Okay, all of us.)

Thanks to Jeff, I will now write on and on about this subject. :) In fact, it will be something I will probably speak to a lot in one way or another, as it is a very pressing issue in my life (and has been for several years now). Oh, and for those of you who think I was too hard on myself and over thinking my role as a mom in the "keeping them alive" post (no PJ, you were not the only one :) ) , just know that is how my brain works. I wish there was an easier way for me to come to realize things, but I've always done things the hard way - including process. Know, however, that through posting that (and many other posts), I came to realize many things that Aaron has been trying to help me process for some time. So, it's all good. :)

Anyway, back to the topic of "This isn't what I signed up for".... This is a feeling I've been wrestling with for some time now. Don't get me wrong, I have an amazing life that I am so very thankful for. But in the daily demands and realities that I live in (as do we all), I find myself often thinking, "I was made for more". I've tried numerous ways and times to find more and sign up for something different. From before surrendering my life to Christ, up until 10 minutes ago, it's been a struggle. I won't go into the nitty-gritty just now (is that how you spell nitty?), but let me just tell you - they don't work. So, I press on.... what will work? I brought this internal conversation before the throne - FINALLY - about 2 years ago. Every now and then, little glimpses of what "more" looks like are revealed. And every now and then, I try my own route anyway just out of pure stubborness. I fail, and then He again points me in the right direction. And of course, because of my current role of mom of 3 little ones - that is the where the lies straight from the Enemy will mostly effect me. I will begin to think that what I'm doing isn't worth much of anything to anyone's kingdom. Of course I know that isn't true, but that is where the "desire for more" will bleed out of in my life today. For others (as well as for me once I'm through with this phase), the lie will come from other areas. The Enemy, in whatever our role is in life and ministry and relationships, will try to feed us this lie that "this is not what we are made to do". Well, the lie isn't so much that we were made for more, as much as it is that 1) What we are doing isn't worth squat, and 2) where He will try to guide us in our pursuit of more. No.... the car won't do the trick, nor the big house, nor the relationship with someone other than our spouse, nor the higher paying job that robs us of our time with our family, nor the new skirt at the Gap (darn it). I think I'll stop now with some of my measly thoughts, as I'd rather share some of someone who is much smarter than I.

There is an amazing book that I'm currently reading called A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Amazing, and difficult. It is so incredibly challenging in that he walks you through so many ways of thinking that we as humans have (and how wrong many of them are). He is so good at pointing out how, due to our sin, we begin to build this small little "kingdom of one" rather than striving toward things of the one true eternal kingdom. No, I have no answers yet, as I'm still reading. But I want to share some things that were so powerful to me as I read last night. (And I hope this isn't illegal. Know that the following paragraphs I DID NOT RIGHT - although I wish I had.)

...No, it is not evil to invest in a good car, to buy a good house, to enjoy a relaxing vacation, or to relish the pleasures of a succulent steak. Each of these things points, in someway, to the creative glory of God. The issue here is what drives the system. It is all about what you are living for, what gives you meaning and purpose, what gets you up in the morning, what gives you identity, where you seek to find joy, what you seek to satisfy your heart, and where you are looking to find life...

....Of course, I am supposed to be a good steward of the gifts the Lord has given me, and I should care for my immediate friends and family. It is not wrong to do so. What is wrong is to spend so much time caring for me that there is no time or energy left to expend on the cares and concerns of the vast universe that exist outside the borders of my life....

....The kingdom of self tends to be more focused on what the hands can touch than what the heart should embrace....

....Is my life expended by a protection of personal boundaries, personal property, and personal entitlements; or am I willing to lay down my rights, to sacrifice my comfort, and even expose myself to mistreatment for the sake of the work of God's kingdom?

And finally....

....The size of my living was meant to be connected to the depth of His greatness. The fathomless greatness of God is the more that I was designed to live for.

I would write out the whole book if I could.... but I can't. So go buy it! Sorry for the length and heaviness of this's all Jeff's fault!


Jeff said...

I'm happy to shoulder the blame for that post :-) Thanks for the shout out! lol.

There is no magic bullet to cure our quandry. My anal type-a personality wants to make it about something I can do - make my list, have my quiet time, pray, play nice, do good... check it all of my list. And still, it just doesn't work.

I am definitely learning for me it's more about just 'being' instead of 'doing'. Being present to the realities that God has place d all around me - an amazing relationship with Him, an awesome family that helps put hands and feet to His love, a very cool church body (with an awesome worship pastor), significant work to apply myself to - it's all good. And I can't over analyze it.

Just be.

It used to be about just surviving. Asking is this all there is? There has to be more.

There is... all longings placed in us by our creator just like you said. A longing for home.

Great post! Thanks for spending the time to spit it out.

(this is about as much as you'll ever get out of me - way too extroverted for my tastes)

Dena said...

How interesting! I've been reading through 2 books lately, and they seem to echo your thoughts too (Desiring God - Piper, and Waking the Dead - Eldridge. Okay, so I'm also starting "The Mom Factor" but that's neither here nor there!)

God truely wants us to have life in Him. Not just eternally in the here-after (which is an awesome thought in itself,) but also life NOW! I'm just getting to the good parts of each book on HOW that happens...I'll get there soon...seeing as how I'm so desperately trying to find joy in the everyday...just like you. Thanks for sharing and giving me somethings to think upon (and a new book to read!)

Thinking and pondering with you.....D.