All of the teenage angst, about ten years too late...

I can’t even begin to pinpoint what these feelings are that have been creeping up on me the past couple of years. I think if I could define them, then  there wouldn’t be a problem. On the outside, it might appear to be what another blogger (Sarah Mae) described as “functioning depression.” It is not as much a-woah-is-me,-my-life-is-hopeless, as it is a desperation for something MORE. That desperation can at times feel a little crippling. Maybe even smothering. On some of my low days, something as simple as washing my hair involves all of the mental energy that I can possibly muster. Some of my days involve compartmentalizing each and every task. A still, small voice that encourages me, just focus and make it through this one task before becoming overwhelmed by the next one.  This is especially key at my job that requires me to juggle many tasks while dealing with everyone else’s changing moods.


I am finding myself in good kinship with King Soloman these days. Not sure how many of you are familiar with the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible, but it is crazy to find what this wise man of God actually has to say! Unfortunately, this is my jam right now:


Ecclesiastes 1 New International Version (NIV)

Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
   says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
   Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
   at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
   but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
   and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
   and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
   ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
   yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
   there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
   more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
   nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
   “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
   it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
   and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
   by those who follow them.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
   what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
   the more knowledge, the more grief.



I may feel broken. But through all of this, my faith is taking an even deeper, complex shape. Sometimes I feel like my life is being whittled away to bare bones. Some days I am just baffled as to why I feel so sad. I am living the American dream, how can I feel so empty? I feel like many people my age (Christian or not), also feel this way. They are just too afraid to admit it. I can see it in their eyes, I can read between the lines. I think, they, like me, feel that if someone were to search one ounce of their anxious heart, that observer would run gun shy. Or suggest antidepressants. Or some new form of psychotherapy. Although I definitely do believe there is a place for such things, I think there is some important learning in any kind of pain, great or small. And I know for me personally, I don’t want my  first answer to be to try and quiet that with some sort of pill. (Please, reader, know that I do not judge or condone these things. I know that many times they are necessary and very useful)  My intuition is leading me to believe that my thoughts and feelings are pointing to something, I just don’t know WHAT yet. Each time I seek God about this, he gives me something new that sustains me until the next fit strikes, and then He gives me more. It has been a constant, where I reach for Him and He just has more grace to pour upon me.


Here are some bits that I’ve picked up while working this puzzle:


-It’s important for us to realize and be more open with how fragile we all actually are.
To use this as a point of connection instead of another reason just to disconnect.


-It’s important to have a view of ourselves in respect to our God:


“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” -1 Chr 29:11


Okay, God. You’ve got this. I’m stepping down. I’m taking count of all of your beauty and blessings in my life.


-It’s important to research and know what the right and holy kind of thinking actually is.


The world will always try to impart its “wisdom”. But only searching for and obeying God actually endows wisdom. The world’s wisdom is a like a soft pillow to cushion a hard fall. The only problem is, the pillow is so enamoring, we keep embracing the same falls over and over and over again. God’s wisdom can be hard,gritty, and just plain awkward to the touch,  but it’s the mortar that keeps the bricks a home.


Here is a truth that I ran across recently. It is from The Screwtape Letters by CS LEWIS. It was kind of a slap in the face (but the good kind, the kind that I needed):


“The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart- an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since he does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme…
Now just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty.”


The world says if you are unhappy, just simply change your situation. Yes...but No. Most of us don’t really know what makes a joyful life. So we make a change, and then are right back to where we started. Our souls were not made for this tug of war that we suffer each day-the reality of right now and the fantasy of what we think we really want. Novelty has become the idol for the new millennium.


When Jesus taught us how to pray it was “Give us this day our daily bread.” Not that He was discouraging planning and dreaming about the future, but He knew how distracted we get. He wants us to be present in the moment. He wants us to have enough faith in Him that we pray for the here and now, not worrying what may or may not be the future.

Like I said, I don’t have all of the pieces. I’m not even sure what picture this puzzle actually makes. Maybe I never will, since I am just the result of living in a broken world. But I will keep searching. Trusting. Growing. Sharing.

2 comments:

  1. What I think this all means is that you should quit your job to sew for a living ;)

    Seriously though, dear friend, you are full of so much wisdom. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I can sense the frustration in King Solomon, but there's a comfort in it as well. I have no doubt God is letting you battle this unrest for a reason. To be completely honest, I felt the same way for several years before I had Gracie, like God was preparing me for motherhood in a sense. I constantly felt a yearning for more, but I had no idea what that meant. Not that I don't at times feel it now too, but it has mostly been quenched for the time being. I'm sure it will come about again. I don't know what the answer is either, but I will be praying for you.

    I love that you quoted Screwtape. One of my favorite books! Now let's hang out and talk about this some more :)

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    Replies
    1. Girrrrllll! I wish I could sew and sew and sew :)
      Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. That's awesome that you like Ecclesiastes too! Basically anything by David and Solomon is my favorite.
      I really think we are kindred spirits! I have often thought that once I get to stay home, raising a child, that my life would feel more like it has some sort of purpose. I'm done looking for a "career" that will give me any purpose. There is not a calling much greater than being a momma!! Thanks for all of your prayers, lady. I am realizing more and more how much I need God to run this race. And friends like YOU!
      And how could I not quote Screwtape?! I think I could have a whole blog dedicated to CS Lewis and his writings!
      Love you! And we HAVE to get together SOON!

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