Saturday, November 23, 2013

Restless


This great guy named C.S. Lewis said, "If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." I'd like to warn you that I couldn't agree more.  I find it funny whenever someone comments on how the faithful people they've met seem to "have it all figured out." I've seen many of my friends struggle in their faith, and personally the last time I felt like I had it all figured out was as an immature 15 year old.  The faith is full of questions and mysteries that I can't understand.  Trusting God's will for me leaves me feeling I have very little control over my own life.  I have to put all my talent and effort into a mission that gives me no instant gratification.  I believe in a God who allows me to suffer, who doesn't even give me the security of seeing Him.  It's painfully uncomfortable.  Yet something keeps me from running back to my comfort zone.
I don't exactly want to be comfortable- I'd rather see how truly terrifying, difficult, and important my life is.  I want to be able to look the truth in the face without excuses.  And the truth is I want more than comfort.  I think being comfortable is overrated.  Even my best days in life leave me longing for more.  I want a happiness so beautiful and immense that I can't even imagine it.  I can't get rid of this feeling that I'm incomplete, that I need to know more, and give more of myself.  I want a deep purpose for my life.  I want to ask questions and get answers that are true.  I've given up on being comfortable. I'm Restless, and I think I will be for the rest of my life. 
This other great guy Saint Augustine said "You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
God made my heart for the deepest beauty and the fullest truth of all...he made me for Himself.  If I listen to my human reason it seems sort of unfair. I'm longing for something that I can't grasp on my own- I can't know God completely, and my attempts to love Him always fall short of what they should be.  It's frustrating to think that I can only be satisfied in Heaven, that all my time on earth will be spent struggling.  Sometimes getting close to God and staying there seems nearly impossible.
But my restless heart asks me to look beyond that.  If God has created me for Himself, why would he ever refuse to satisfy my longing for Him? He won't.  I will be with Him one day.  I will be able to rest.  And by putting me through the pain of always seeking Him, He has saved me from the greater pain of living without a purpose. I find it amazing that I will never learn everything there is to know about God.  Where is the glory in a God I can fully understand? I will always be able to discover something new.  I will never get tired of searching for the truth about Him and who He really is. 
And I'm not going to settle for a miserable or desperate life just because perfect happiness is beyond me right now.  I'm going to spend everything I have trying to get closer and go deeper, so I'll be ready when my opportunity for Heaven comes.  God is destroying my fear of being incomplete.  He has the power to draw beauty and goodness from the imperfect- He is a Redeemer.  Augustine says that "God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist." I really think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever known.  God has the strength to turn suffering into victory, guilt into innocence, evil into goodness.  He chose to let us hurt Him and to turn our backs on the good he made- to show us that His love will still overcome all things. He loves us enough to let us run away from Him and break our hearts, so that we'll know He will come after us and heal us.  In my life he turns my pain into blessings and my heartbreak into growth, and I love Him more than I ever could have if He had made me content and my life easy. He shows me glimpses of Himself in the unfinished people around me and it's awe-inspiring.  He even uses me in the midst of my struggle to show Himself to those around me.   I love my life in spite of its difficulty, I find joy in every small step towards Heaven.  And I'm ready to suffer for Him because the distance and the longing is temporary but His love is eternal.  It's the only thing that's worth my whole life.
I look for Him all the time.  I rejoice in every little thing on earth that is good, beautiful,  and true because it reflects Him.  I try to share what I find with others, because I know that we are all restless.  I'm not afraid to wait for the day when I'll see Him and be united to Him forever.  I'm supposed to be unsatisfied.  I'm supposed to have questions.  I'm supposed to be uncomfortable.  But I'm supposed to trust God to help me through my struggle and to satisfy my restless heart.


~ Sarah






Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Fearless Collision (or, a title explaination :)

Fear is one of my biggest enemies.  I'm not afraid of normal things, like spiders or dark alleys or heights.  Ok...maybe I can be, sometimes, but I struggle more with not-so-tangible fears.  There's the fear of change.  Then, when things do change it's fear of the unknown and uncontrollable, wondering how my life will work out.  There's fear of digging deeper in life, finding out the difficult truths, the ones worth shaping your life around.  And there can be fear of exploring ideas, listening to other opinions, maybe losing mine.  I guess ultimately it's the fear of becoming a completely different person.  Nobody likes the idea of losing themselves, of transforming beyond recognition.  Not to mention, becoming who you want to be can be really hard.  But I think maybe life is "becoming," we can't really stop ourselves from growing.  We're surrounded by things that happen, that constantly grow, change, and progress.  It's impossible to build yourself a bubble of constancy.  I don't want a life or a faith that can be contained in a bubble, anyway. 

The past couple of years have been crazy for me.  I've learned and changed at a sometimes terrifying rate.  I've had so many ideas and experiences churning around in my head.  I recently came up with the image of a collision for that...I've crashed headlong into unexpected people, places, books, thoughts, etc.  And when very real things like these come into contact, the impact changes them, like glass shattering into sparkling pieces. Collisions can be beautiful, but only when they're done right.  For me that means I have to have a purpose.  If I let my circumstances shape me, hoping I come out alright, I most likely won't.  I need a goal in the midst of the collision, and my goal is love.  I mean love as defined by the great theologians, which is wishing and working for someone's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.  I want to become ultimately as amazing as I can be and encourage (literally, en-COURAGE) the people I love to become more amazing as well.

But how can I do that if we're all afraid to say the things that matter? 
I'm starting a blog and I'm starting it because I have a lot to say about things that matter to me. 
I'm slightly uncomfortable with the thought of people reading this, partially because I can't tell if it's going to make sense...and partially because I could imagine they'll be uncomfortable reading it.  Maybe we should all just talk about our friends, or interests: our music, parties, sports, and jokes.  In all seriousness, I certainly don't want anyone to feel obligated to read what I write.  But I think maybe I'm obligated to at least say it.  That way, it's there.  It's there in case anyone else is ready for a collision of thoughts.  It's there in case anyone else wants to see more than the ordinary pieces of life.  It's there in case anyone else wants to become somebody better on purpose. 
And it's out there, so I can remind myself that I will be fearless.   
~Sarah (:

The Forgiveness Myth

I do not enjoy forgiving people because it makes me feel like a doormat. I would honestly rather get all Carrie Underwood/Miranda Lambert up...