Thursday, August 7, 2014

It Is Good That We Are Restless

I'm not sure where along the way I was sold the idea that to live a happy, successful, meaningful life, it would be a life of ease and constant peace - that there would be no moments of disappointment, of failure, no dark nights of the soul, no torment, no toil. Yet somehow I have realized this was the lie I was sold, or bought hook, line, and sinker. This is the lie that makes it possible for the enemy to take the smallest interruption, the tiniest frustration, and unsettle my soul enough to listen to the rest of his lies and become distraught.

This is the lie that makes us believe that we are so far beyond God's help, God's desire, God's love - the lie that there is nothing redeemable about us because we are such a hot mess most of the bloody time. This is the lie that feeds on the sugar of comparison, comparison between what we perceive to be others' lives and comparison between our fantastical expectations and the real-reality of our lives. 

And yet...that restlessness that we sometimes feel might pull us under and drown us once and for all? That restlessness is such a good thing. That restlessness, that struggle, that toil, that dark night - it all means we are in a good place. We are longing for something more, something better, and that is so very good. A placid complacency is a sign of spiritual death, of the death of an abundant life. These torrents, these storms? While they are undesirable in the moment, and can often display our own spiritual immaturity or human fragility, they are gleaming signs that we desire something more. We desire that constant peace. We desire tranquility. We desire to choose good all of the time. We desire to act in love with every breath. We desire Him.

This is the tension of a life separated from the one who created us. This is the tension of living in a fallen world. St. Augustine knew it so well and forever immortalized his words that would echo truth in the heart of every person seeking that eternal union for all of time - "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You." 

We strive to lay our hearts at rest within His, or rather to make a home for His heart within our own. In the trials of life, in the moments of darkness, we fail. It is not the end of the world. Sometimes it is embarrassing, but it is not fatal as long as we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, or know to reach out to have someone help pull us up and clean us off. Eyes on the cross and not on the others on that same road to Calvary - comparison is not only the death of joy, it is also a dangerous steep edge on the brink of a downward spiral into darkness. 

So we struggle arm in arm with those who God has put along our path to help us along, all a beautiful dance. Sometimes we pull ahead, sometimes we are the ones behind, sometimes we are lifted high, sometimes we are dragged along the ground, but arms linked, we head into the rest of the One who made us all. 

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