In light of eternity…

12 Jan

I wish I could turn my brain off. I wish I could stop analyzing. Stop comparing. Stop condemning. Myself, that is.

You see, I walk around with this shadow of guilt sitting on my shoulder. I haven’t done anything wrong… but then, I haven’t done anything right either. I’m mediocre, stuck in the middle. One of the masses. Your average Joe…Joette?

And I want to be fine with that. I used to be fine with that. I’m not the kind of person who needs the infamy of the limelight. I am content in the background, supporting, organizing, planning.

But there’s this restlessness in my head that just won’t let me be content with my life. I keep seeing the ways I could be better, ways I’m not measuring up. Ways I should be different.

A leadership book I’m reading says I should accept myself. “How does a Christian do that?” I wonder. “Is that even a biblical principle?” I dare say it’s not…

At least not totally.

What does Paul mean when he says “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” I think he means exactly what he says. There is nothing good in him.

Does that sound like self-acceptance?

No.

Hmmm… then what? Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that we might have life, and to the fullest. Pray tell, where do I find that life?

Some would say the fullest life is found in self-acceptance. But I’ve tried that and found that there’s really nothing much in me worth accepting.

The trite (though true) Christian answer: the gospel.

But what does that mean? The terminology is thrown around so much that I think a telling head nod and eyebrow rise should go with it… you know, the gospel?  What they don’t explain, though, is how does the gospel give us life and life to the fullest? Because I understand the gospel, at least in principle. But as of yet, I don’t think I’ve found the fullest life. At least, I can imagine a fuller one. I can imagine a lot of things. And therein lies my problem.

If you asked me why I’m discontent with my life, and what I thought I should/could do to make it “better,” my answer would be something like, “Well, I feel like I should be making a difference, more giving of my time, more generous with my money, less lazy with my evenings, more productive with my weekends, more loving toward my husband and more enjoying of my life.”

So you ask, why don’t you do those things then?

Good question.

Self, why don’t I do those things?

::Silence.::

I guess you’ll have to check back later.

But I had the insight as I was driving home from work tonight, that it’s all because of eternity. Living in light of eternity is always presented in a positive light as something Christians should do. We’re reminded about it so often because our natural tendency is to live for the present only and forget that we’re going to heaven when we die and that our actions here do matter for eternity.

But you know what, I think that my initial inclination was wrong. I thought I was too concerned with eternity, so much so that I couldn’t live in the present without feeling the “weight of glory” on my shoulders, as C.S. Lewis puts it. But actually, I think that I, too, am only concerned with the present. Whereas most people’s inclination is to lose touch with the fact that their present actions have eternal ramifications and they just go about their day without thinking, I can’t seem to move off of that notion. I am consumed with thinking that everyday, eternity is being written. This is my one life…

And this is how I’m spending it.

Just as I longed for the days of unanalyzed eating in the midst of my calorie counting obsession, I now long for the days of unanalyzed living.

I can’t wait for eternity.

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