Monday, April 14, 2014

Where is 'there' anyway?

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise."    - C.S. Lewis
I used to think 40 would be the ideal age.  Hopefully by then I would have gained some wisdom through experience.  I wouldn't be too young and I wouldn't be too old.  I envisioned my 40-year-old self to be confident, not caring much what people think.  I would have 'arrived' when I turned 40.  Funny, that's how I felt about my 20's when I was a 12. 

Sigh.  I'll never get 'there'.

Where is 'there' anyway?  Is it when I am like the person I look up to most?  Is it when I am thin enough?  When I have a perfect marriage?  When I have thousands of people reading my blog?  When we have too much money at the end of the month?  Is it when I have read the Bible through in a year and memorized enough scripture?  Or maybe when I can pray for 30 minutes (more like 10!) without my mind wandering or dare I say, dozing off?

I will be 'there' when I am consistent with my routines. I will lay my head on my pillow every night with a smile, knowing that I have thought of others above myself.  My weekends will be full of community service projects, gardening, bbq's and reading until knowledge spills out of my ears.  I will know the right thing to say and do in every situation.  My life will a picture of perfect health and tranquility.

If this describes you, then congratulations!  You have arrived.  One day I will never get there. At least not in this life time.

I read a quote recently that has stuck with me:
  "The kind of life you want lies on the other side of death." - Jennie Allen, Restless
Ain't that the truth?
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit ... Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. - Jesus, John 12:24-25
 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.  The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.  - Galatians 2:20
I hate dying.

If I want to be fit, I have to let my cravings for all things yummy die and give in to discipline and daily exercise. I know, I know, there are healthy foods that are yummy, but just go with me on this one. Okay?  If I want a strong marriage then I must let my expectations and my desire to always be right die. ... Even if I am always right!  Are you getting the feeling that I still haven't learned?  Good.  You would be correct.  I have to die to selfishness and laziness if I want to have meaningful relationships and a productive life. Sigh.  Do you understand my dilemma?

Ultimately, the perfect life I am craving is on the other side of eternity.  On the other side of death - Heaven.

Nope.  I'll never get 'there' in this life.

So I am going to stop chasing 'there'.  Because 'there' has already been promised to me.
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?" - John 11:25-26
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going ... I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:1-4, 6 (ESV)
What I can do is be here.   I believe 'here' is about this:  
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. - Romans 12:12
'Here' is about being present and available today.  It's about being slow and meaningful in the ordinary.  When I am 'here', I am alert, awake ... aware.  The surest way to be these things is to be grateful for where I am right now.  In this moment.  Good or bad.  Instead of chasing an elusive extraordinary life of perfection, I can "...stop running and kneel"(Chasing God by Angie Smith)
“Running hard after an extraordinary life turns out to be chasing a lie. The realest extraordinary is always found in the ordinary. The extra everyone’s looking for - it’s found in ordinary.” - from Ann Voskamp's blog
Photo found on

I can just walk with Him without trying to measure up.

The truth is that 'here' is messy.  It is imperfect.  It can be ugly.  It can be just plain hard.  But hope makes the hard bearable.  And our hope is not in the things here that can be seen.  My hope is not in behaving or in being perfect.  This is good news, else I would be utterly hopeless!  
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. - 1 Corinthians 15:19
 So, who else is ready to give up on perfect?  Let's live the ordinary with the hope of all that is promised to us when we get 'there'. 


  1. Thank you for this Olivia. I've learned when things get hard instead of taking it day by day, I take it hour by hour, and sometimes even minute minute. God bless you.

    1. Thank you, Barbie! You are right - sometimes we have to take life moment by moment; trusting moment by moment!

  2. I needed this for sooo many reasons. Thank you for being inspiring! :)

    1. I'm so glad, Amber! I needed it too - preaching to myself!


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