Open-ended Questions for Introspective Souls // eternal joy vs. temporal okayness

Lately, I’ve been having trouble sleeping.

Not in a dark, dramatic, “the cares of this world keep me up,” kind of way. Or in an, “I’m an incredibly unhealthy being who surfs the internet when I should be sleeping,” kind of way. (I may be a teenager, but I’m not THAT far gone…) I’m not prone to mindless worry, so it isn’t like I’m tossing and turning as I stew over endless pessimistic theories for the next day.

Yet I can’t sleep.

Nighttime, it seems, is a playground for the mind — my mind, at least. When the house is quiet, when daytime tasks are done, when I’ve used up my daily quotient of snarky quips… That’s when my brain comes alive. And as I ponder life, the universe, and everything in it, willing the numbing hours to fly faster so morning will come again, I find that oftentimes, I feel… sad.

Not depressed. Not glum. Not mopey.

Just sad.

Do you ever drink an entire cup of hot-chocolate only to realize you were so preoccupied with whatever else you were doing, you didn’t take the time to properly enjoy it? That’s how I feel. I get to the end of the day, I look back, and I see an entire hot-chocolate gone to waste. Not because I didn’t get anything done, but because the things I did weren’t the right things to do — not exactly.

When it all comes down to it, my mind goes back to a single question. A simple question, really, though I have no answer for it:

Why do we sacrifice our eternal well-being for the sake of a few shabby imitations of pleasure?

It sounds strange, and a tad philosophical. But the applications are perfectly down-to-earth; in fact, I think we’ve all pondered this at some point in time, in some way or another. And I think we’re all equally stumped by it.

Because really, I mean… why?

Why would we rather daydream instead of pray?

Why would we rather read fluffy novels instead of the Bible?

Why would we rather talk about ourselves when there is so much wisdom to gain from listening to others?

Why would we rather stare at a screen for hours on end instead of watching the sunset, or counting the stars, or sprawling in a patch of afternoon sunlight, or laughing just for the heck of it?

WHY ARE WE SO BLINDED BY HUMAN GLITZ THAT WE CAN’T SEE THE GLORY OF GOD?

For the record, I’m not judging people who do these things. That would entail 99% of humanity, and I’m not so arrogant as to say I’m any different. I like my fiction. My music. My computer. Good grief, the entirety of my blog is me talking about myself. And these things are perfectly fine, to a certain extent.

But at the same time–

I should want God more.

And I do, I really do — at least, I think I do. I want to hear Him speak to me in prayer, I want to feel His presence, I want to know He’s with me always. I want that desperately, and it scares me that I don’t have it. Why don’t I have it? Why does He feel like a ghost more often than not, slipping around the edges of my consciousness but never fully there, never tangible — never real to me?

And there it is, the reason I’m sad. Not because God isn’t with me. He is. He’s always with me, always near. It’s His nearness that makes me sad, because even though we’re so, so close, we’re separated — divided by crudely constructed walls of my own fleshly desires.

Brick by brick, stone by stone, every single one of us builds a wall between ourselves and our Lord — a wall made of mindless distractions, frivolous entertainment, and foolish ways of sating boredom. I fight against these handmade chains, bemoaning the fate of time ill-spent. But that’s where a paradox comes into play: Though I hate the distractions, I don’t know how to stop them. I see the end perspective, the big picture. I know that in the long run, all is vanity. And yet–

And yet…

And yet.

I like my mindless entertainment. My human silliness. My shallow fun. Though the glimmer may be temporary, the lure is no less real. And second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, time slips away.

Day by day, humanity inches toward forever, completely ignorant that we’re sacrificing eternal joy for temporal okayness.

So I lay awake at night. I think back. I contemplate. And I feel sad. As life quiets, the distractions fade away and the powerlessness of my human condition rests heavier — deeper — as at long last, I fully comprehend how fallen I am, how wicked my flesh is.

And in the sorrow of knowing I’m not strong enough to change myself, I hear the Lord whisper through the darkness–

“My mercies are new every morning.”

Perhaps we don’t have what it takes to struggle through the distractions. But He does. And when morning comes — as morning always does — sadness turns to hopefulness, and hopefulness turns to faith.

Minute by minute, humanity slips over the brink of forever. And Jesus waits beyond the shadows of our temporal existence, beckoning us forward, beckoning us to give our seconds and minutes and hours to him.

Minute by minute, forever comes.

~Sarah

15 thoughts on “Open-ended Questions for Introspective Souls // eternal joy vs. temporal okayness

  1. Aww. *sighs* I related to this post much more than I should’ve. I loved that you were a bit more serious today (not that I don’t love your less serious posts. :P) especially because this is the struggle of my own heart. Really – I feel like it the struggle of every human heart.

    Thank you for being honest about this, and it’s really encouraging me to press forward in light of eternity, instead of focusing more on the things that aren’t really so important.

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  2. This post is very convicting. Wow. I’ve asked myself similar questions… why does praying feel like a chore sometimes? Why is the computer so captivating?

    Thank you for this post. Humans need reminders that we are just humans and that everything of this world should not matter more than God and people’s souls.

    As the pastor of our church said on Sunday, “Compared to God, we are like little grasshoppers. The rulers of countries, though they may puff themselves up and say “Look at me!” are really only little grasshoppers over other grasshoppers. Oh, foolish grasshoppers.” 😛

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  3. How is it that you always end up writing about what’s on my own heart the day I come to read your blog? *shakes head* Coincidences are weird 😛

    But this completely sums up my life (and every Christian’s life, probably). I wake up, I try, I get distracted, and I go to sleep feeling like a failure most times. Then God’s reminding me that “actually, you were supposed to lean on Me today, not your own strength.” Duh. But I get distracted so easily. It’s only after a billion days like that that you finally realize how patient God really is with all of us.

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  4. Obviously you’re a mindreader.
    *Folds arms and leans back*
    Really though, this post was super relatable. I find many a night is like that for me as well. So yeah, *Points Fingerguns* great post Sarah!

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  5. This was absolutely beautiful, and a question I’ve been asking myself here very recently. This definitely resonates, and it’s wonderfully written. It’s definitely such a struggle, and for me it leaves me empty and aching, and really, deeply questioning–especially because I know people in my intimate surroundings who are this way with God, a way I’m certainly envious of having.

    But at the same time every time I think I’m making progress toward that goal, that desire, I find myself slipping back to do dolorous origins I started in. And it’s like a soul-rending circle.

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  6. Oy. Sarah. This hit home more than I thought it would, and thank you for that. Woah.
    I don’t think I can say any more. Except that this? “It’s His nearness that makes me sad, because even though we’re so, so close, we’re separated — divided by crudely constructed walls of my own fleshly desires.”
    AMEN. AMEN. Say it louder for those in the back.

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  7. This post goes hand-in-hand with my reading of Practicing His Presence for school today. This is a great post, and one I could stand to remember the message of more often. 😛

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  8. *has absolutely nothing useful to say*

    Um, amen.

    I’ve found the only ‘solution’ to this to be just daily pouring out the problem to God and ALLOWING Him to pull you out of the rain, again and again and AGAIN. Surrendering every little thing, and letting Him point you in this direction: do this instead of that right now; read this instead of that; appreciate the blessings of My world that I made for My glory, but also your enjoyment, before hoping to find it in media or anything else; pray to Me first before going anywhere else; remember it’s a long-term universe, not made up of earthly enjoyment; I AM YOUR GOD, BUT ALSO YOUR FRIEND; etc.That sounds trite, and I’m preaching to myself ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT more than I am to you. It’s the only release, though, and even that is open-ended….

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  9. AHHHH. That is all. You said it so well there’s nothing more to say… Except I LOVE these posts of yours and please keep them coming because they are entirely refreshing and convicting and beautiful. Thank you, Sarah. 🙂 ❤

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  10. The analogy, the convictions, the relatability… I love your posts that make me laugh, but I think this is officially my favorite blog post ever.

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  11. Sarah . . . .

    I don’t even know what to say.

    You know you are reading a truly gifted author when you find that not only does her heart lie bleeding on the page, but yours does too. You have captured my felling on this entirely, and I can’t explain how.

    But thank you! I needed that reminder, that even when we hate ourselves the most (and only a tiny fraction of how much we should hate ourselves if only we knew our hearts better), then that’s when God leans down out of his throne and reminds us that He’s chosen to love us more than himself, and that we bring him glory just as much as the cross.

    Keep writing for our Father!

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