Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee – Augustine
The human heart is so restless isn’t it?
Our soul’s break like ocean waves, always changing, always moving, always rolling over, under, through and around life.
We want. We want a lot of things. Then when we get them we want more. Or different. It’s not wrong to want things but if what we have (or don’t have) determines who we are, determines our contentment, we’re in a losing game.
I heard it said once (or a thousand times) that one proof of God’s existence is our human longing for him. I understand the reasoning behind it; we crave something bigger than ourselves, all-powerful, divine. Therefore, our desire for it means it must exist…somewhere.
C.S. Lewis summarized part of this thought when he said;
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
I do love that thought. It rings mostly true. The problem is that my heart longs for a lot of things; Narnia, a month-long cruise, world peace (truly).
They can’t all be true.
I’m oversimplifying that point to share something that I’ve realized about myself lately.
God calms my restlessness in a way nothing else ever has. Ever.
For me, that reality is a stronger proof than my heart’s desire for him to be true. Desire is good but to experience the reality of the desire if what births relationship.
Faith is difficult to describe. The invisible caress of God’s hand on my soul is even harder.
It’s all calming words that come to mind when I think about it - hush, quell, still.
But, here’s the thing. It’s not a flimsy, pat-on-the-back, sort of comfort. It’s a tough as nails strength to continue through the day and live with love. I need that strength. Because the pain doesn’t vanish; life hurts but God is real. It’s not trite belief, it can’t be. If it was I would crumble in the face of life. We all would.
The life-changing gift that God gives, that my faith gives, is the ability to discern, to write, to speak with truth and grace, to forgive. It’s the gifts of courage and healing and hope. It’s my lifeblood. It’s Jesus Christ. All present in the midst of pain.
These days I’m learning the depth of my need.
To quote Augustine again:
Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.
I need God.
Last night Tom and I were talking about faith. Over a bowl of cheese. Because, well, that’s all I could find the energy to serve him for dinner. I’m a working woman, people. Tom will have strong bones and be very thin.
I told him the hardest part of my faith is staying present.
It’s so easy for me to disconnect from life. To sort of course along in the parallel universe of my own mind for hours and days at a time. I’m physically present but emotionally and mentally a million miles away. That can make a living, breathing, God-given, people-serving faith…difficult and somewhat sporadic. It makes me a natural writer and a less natural conversationalist.
Engaging, really engaging with life takes work. It takes courage because life is painful.
One of the key ways I check the levels of my emotional involvement with people is to assess how dependent I feel on God. It’s an extremely subjective “test” but it’s a good check for me. The more in desperate need of God I feel the more balanced and engaged I likely am.
My counseling program has taught me a lot about all this; healthy boundaries, refusing to retreat into my own mind, how to handle conflict. Yada, yaya. Or, more like, importada, importada.
Life is funny, the way it meanders and sometimes tears along. The way God is in the fibers of it; in the unexpected corners.What grace in our times of need.
I’m reminded of all that lately.
In Him I’ve found myself.
Or maybe it’s, when He found me He gave me myself.