signposts of another world

May 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm 2 comments

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only …to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.” – C.S. Lewis

If I find in myself a desire which no experience on this earth can satisfy…

Have you found any of those, hiding deep down in your soul?  I have just begun to discover mine. 

Some of them can’t be named yet.  There is indeed an awkward gulf between the language of the heart and the language of the tongue, and even our beautifully expressive English comes woefully short of bridging it.  So I’m gradually discovering that these longings are there, but I can’t name them or describe them or even, really, figure out what they are longing for. 

But one of them, I know, centers around relationships (no surprise there – as a woman, that cuts to the very core and heart of who I am.  I was created to be relational!).  I want to be truly known, truly loved, truly liked.  I want to be chosen.  I want to be cherished.

I know that I already am known, loved, liked, chosen, and cherished by God.  Though that knowledge is still taking its good old time crossing the bridge from my head to my heart.  But I also long for this kind of beautiful communion with people. 

And I can see that this manifests itself in a myriad of ways.  I often think that, with the beyond-amazing friends I have, this desire will be satisfied when I can see them or do something fun or have a good conversation.  And it is – sort of.  But it never lasts.  And I find myself right back where I started, wondering why, with all these blessings, I still have this ache.  I still want more.  I’m never satisfied.  Sometimes I forecast the complete satisfaction to marriage.  I’ve heard so many times that this is a lie – not that marriage isn’t a beautiful and intimate union, but it’s still not the cure for loneliness and it can’t ever completely satisfy – but still.  Simply because it’s a life stage that I haven’t experienced yet, that I know nothing about, I sometimes think it just must be the answer to everything. 

And I wonder what is wrong with me that I still want so much.  What about contentment?  And is there something wrong with me or my relationship with God – that I don’t know Him well enough – that I keep running to other people, that I still want to be filled by these kinds of relationships, too? 

Have you ever whirled around in this dizzying circle of desire – not understanding, feeling there’s something wrong with you, that you want too much?  Or maybe you’ve succeeded in stuffing it, deadening it, lessening its persistant ache and reminder. 

I’m slowly discovering a painful but strangely freeing truth: some of these desires will never be satisfied on earth. 

It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me.  It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with my life right now, that I’m not satisfied.  And it definitely doesn’t mean that I should try to bury my heart and stop longing. 

As C.S. Lewis writes in the quote above, “Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.” 

At first I assumed that people and earthly things never satisfied because, indeed, they were not meant to – they were meant to be reminders to send me running back to God, who satisfies everything. 

And that is partially true.  But the other part is that maybe God won’t satisfy them either.  Not that He can’t – and He does fill us in a way that nothing else can – but if He satisfied all my longings, that would completely dissolve their purpose.

He’s placed these longings in my heart because He’s put eternity in my heart.  I am, indeed, made for another world.  “Our Father will refresh us with many pleasant inns on the journey,” C.S. Lewis reminds us, “but He would not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

My deepest longings and desires and needs may be partially met by the blessings of this life.  But not always.  Because God wants to remind me that this is not home, and I shouldn’t make it my home.  That I was created, indeed, for something better – for perfect intimacy and beauty and stability and order and fun and so much more that I can’t even imagine. 

The last thing He wants is for me to forget, to become happy with a broken and cheap imitation when He wants to give me so much more.

As Paula Rinehart writes in Strong Women, Soft Hearts, “God gives some wonderful gifts in the here and now, but let’s face it – they never really fill out the edges of the dreams we carry inside us.  The ache of incompleteness returns, a longing that is never truly satisfied.  That can produce profound frustration with our lives and the people in them, or it can become the bread crumbs on the trail that lead to the beauty and wonder of being with the Lord in that great never-ending day.  It will work out beyond our wildest dreams.”

I said that it is a painful truth, but strangely freeing.  It’s painful because it means I have to simply accept that I’ll be living with these longings and voids that won’t be fulfilled in the here and now.  Not when my friends and I have silly photoshoots or when I get married or anything else I’m tempted to put my hope in.  But it’s freeing because I can stop striving.  I can let go.  I can stop thinking there is something the matter with me, and stop trying so desperately hard to be satisfied.  Because I know that, in the end, I will be. 

Where does that leave me now?  I don’t know.  And I’ll probably forget everything I’ve just written by tomorrow, if not tonight.  But I think these longings are already doing what they’re supposed to – they’re making me run to God (even if I only remember after I’ve tried everything else!).  They build my relationship with Him – and that fills me with peace.  And in the end, they remind me where my hope should be placed – not in temporal things, but in the time and world when they will be perfectly and beautifully satisfied, beyond my wildest dreams.

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Entry filed under: faith, Quotes.

Fashion Friday Miscellany Monday

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Annie  |  May 16, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Thank you so much for this, Megan. I know exactly what you feel, in thinking we want too much. But you’re right, it’s a deeper longing for the fulfillment we find in God’s perfect love, when we are found in Him.

    Reply
  • 2. jeoteobia  |  May 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian

    Reply

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