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Table of contents
Life can be hard.
Ever since Adam and Eve we’ve lost the privilege of living perfect lives. That’s not to say we don’t experience great happiness and joy but that doesn’t change the fact that in the long run, life can be difficult, period. It is difficult if for no other reason than because there is always a part of us that is unsatisfied, yearning for something more.
As Christians, we often feel a longing for something we can’t identify. It’s that nagging feeling that we quite often misdiagnose. You know the one. It’s that feeling we don’t want to admit to-the one that in our moments of reflection we just know that there is more. Peggy Lee, a singer of a past generation, said it best in a soulful song aptly titled “Is that all there is”?
Thinking we have to project happiness
Most of us don’t want to face those moments. We don’t want to admit life can be hard and we feel we are failures if we can’t lay claim to complete happiness. We think that John 15:11;
(verse about make my joy complete in you.) means it’s part of our entitlement program as Christians. Yes, even Christians are guilty of feeling entitled. And aren’t we even guaranteed it in the Preamble to the Constitution-life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
We often say there is a vacuum in all of us that only God can fill but the truth is the vacuum will never be completely filled this side of heaven. The visions of heaven recorded in Revelation paint a picture for us of a perfect world. It’s truly the carrot at the end of the stick. At times it seems almost cruel to be told there will be no more tears in heaven while we’re crying buckets down here. No more pain seems the cruelest hope of all when our own pain here is severe.
Why can’t we just have it all right now, we ask?
It’s going to be ours anyway, isn’t it? Couldn’t God just send a little heaven our way while we still live on earth? While we are living our lives? Heaven will be for perfect people and we won’t be perfect until attaining heavenly citizenship. So until then, this “here and now” life is all we’ve got.
Near perfect days.
I must admit, though, that I think God does let us experience a little bit of heaven now and then. When times are dark those glimpses of transparent gold streets (Reve 21:21) (I mean, can you even imagine?) keep us going. I can think of many days I’ve experienced that have come as close to perfection as any day can get. I’ll bet you have, too. But those days eventually fade to gray as we acknowledge the hurts we feel, the fear that grips us, the doubts we face.
No one and I do mean no one can be happy all the time. I guess they can say they are; people can say anything. I’ve met some of these people myself who simply refuse to admit anything is wrong in their lives even though everyone around them can see the problems. Everything has to be perfect because they couldn’t bear it any other way.
We hide our hurt
But if you were able to strip away the veneer, you would undoubtedly find some pain. Jeremiah 17:9 states our hearts are deceitful, meaning we don’t know ourselves very well. And we don’t know ourselves because we stuff a lot of stuff inside. We are afraid to bring much to the surface. If we admit we have some problems, we might have to deal with them. Better to hide the behind our sanctimony.
When depression rears its ugly head, it’s so easy to look at people who seem to have it all and believe they really do. We look at ourselves by comparison and our depression grows as we envy their lives. We wonder why we can’t be like that, why we can’t have their lives.
Comparisons aren’t good
Each of these tulips are beautiful But if they could talk, what might they say? “You’re brighter than I am”, says the med pink tulip to the gold. “Yes”, says the pale pink tulip, “but you’re both brighter than me. It’s just not fair.”
Now depending on your point of view, some of you might actually prefer that palest tulip anyway. But no matter what, a pale pink tulip will never become a gold one and a gold one will never become a pink one. And each of these tulips are beautiful.
Everyone has a story
If we just realized that every person we meet, every person, no exceptions, has a story that were we to read, it would immediately dispel those myths, we would relax and get on with our own lives. The truth is, everyone does have a story.
A story with a childhood, (perfect parents, anyone?), teenage years, (need I say more?) young adulthood (remember the mistakes you made?), and so on. Not only do each of us have a story, but we are also a story. You are a story, too. Do you want your story to end in hope or tragedy? If someone were to write your story, how would you want it to read
Heroine or villian?
For me, I came to a place where I simply had to determine the flavor of the story in which I was the main character. The way it was heading it could have been one of those melodramas full of tears when we leave the theater feeling worse than when we entered. I decided early on I prefer to be the heroine in an inspirational story rather than the villain in a dark drama. Besides heroines are always pretty, wicked witches have warts on their noses.
Who is writing your story today? Are you? If not, why not?
Gob bless and have a great day.