“Dream big.” “Embrace the good times.” “Love yourself.” “Choose happiness.” We’ve all heard these before. The constant push towards a life filled with temporal gratifications. The lingering pressure to live “your best life now.” The rampant assumption that we are deserving of anything at all.
I disagree with our culture’s emphasis on the presuming need to conceive a life filled with such pursuits. Life should rather be about dreaming simple (yet intentional), embracing times of suffering, loving sacrificially, and choosing holiness. There should be a push towards a life of eternal glory. A lingering pressure to pursue divine obedience. A rampant hunger for that which is not of this world. A satisfied understanding that we are unworthy.
For so many people, life consists merely of mundane existence, measured by the number of times we inhale and exhale. Documented by the places we travel to and the people we meet. Remembered by a collection of memories, a multitude of laughter, and exchanged moments of brief happiness. We have exhausted life’s meaning. We have ripped the purpose of existence to shreds, searching for our individual purpose, desperately seeking its place in a “bigger picture.” We associate success with emotion, status with terrestrial precedence, and happiness with practical circumstance. All in an effort to find some kind of connection that will fulfill the nagging desire in our hearts to reach an answer for life’s abounding question of what life is in the first place. And it never seems to be enough.
We are so often inspired by nonsensical words of encouragement like “do what makes you happy,” “let your smile change the world,” and “life is about creating yourself.” We are broken. We are blind. We are lost. But God. But God. But God… “being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”1 Don’t let your smile change the world, let the gospel change the world. Don’t waste your life trying to accomplish something we have no authority to do, but rather nurture the light we have been given not by our own doing. May our lives never be infatuated with self, but rather about lifting high the name of the one who gave us life in the first place, before the foundation of the world.
We will never be completely satisfied with earthly promise. We will never have enough knowledge to entertain our souls. There is not enough happiness in the world to mask the darkness of who we are by nature. This world will never be enough.
But God is enough. But God is enough. But God is enough.
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”2
Before the foundation of the world. Before any man was introduced to this thing known as “life,” God foreknew. God predestined. God fulfilled.
“But he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”3
God is a generous God, offering the redemptive gift of sufficient grace to an unworthy receiver.
Did you catch that? A sufficient grace. A grace that satisfies. A grace that fills the darkest void.
And even so, we are caught in a never-ending web of misguided fascination; a desperate chase after that which is unattainable. We press on. We search. We long for that moment when the wind picks up again, sending us out into the vast ocean like a sailboat lost at sea.
1Ephesians 2:4-8// 2Colossians 1:16-17// 32 Corinthians 12:9
“Be who you are. That may sound strange, almost heretical, given our culture’s emphasis on being true to yourself. But like so many of the worst errors in the world, this one presents a truth powerfully perverted…God does want you to be the real you. He does want you to be true to yourself. BUT the ‘you’ He’s talking about is the ‘you’ that you are by grace, not by nature.” – Kevin DeYoung