Monday, January 25, 2016

Merely Passing Through


Saturday I returned from a trip out of town where I spent an entire week with my best friend and her family. Getting to spend every single day with your best friend is a dream, especially for this extrovert. We stopped by multiple bookstores (she’s as wild about books as I am), frequented a particular coffee shop, jammed out to a variety of music during the car rides, had long conversations both deep and ridiculous, ate way too much pizza (just kidding, “too much pizza” is an impossibility), and in general enjoyed life away from life.

But now the week is over. She’s returned to college classes today and I’m back home trying to adjust to the norm, and we both have to accept the fact that we probably won’t see each other again until the summer (living miles away from your best friend is the worst). Regular ol’ life has returned and it’s a bit hard to swallow.

I’m feeling rather scattered; I can’t seem to get my mind to focus on anything. I have about a million and one things I need to catch up on and get done, but all I seem to want to do is disappear in an exciting book or just sit on the porch and stare into space. My mind is refusing to settle back into normality.

I think even the quietest of us longs for adventure. Every day life can sometimes be hard to accept. The drudgery. The sameness. We read books and watch television and wish we could go off to other worlds and have exciting adventures with our best friends. After all, fiction is an escapism. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. As J.R.R. Tolkien says. . .

Fantasy is escapist, and that is its
glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it
his duty to escape? If we value the freedom
of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty
to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

God loves to create, He created everything. And I think we were given that same love and desire. To create. To make new things. To ask “what if?” As long as we are using our abilities to glorify Him, I believe He encourages us to use our creativity to its fullest potential. Sometimes we need distractions from the drudgery of life. But, eventually, we do have to return to normal life.

For so long I never understood why I was dissatisfied with the life I’ve been given. Was I ungrateful to God? Was I just bratty and hard to please? Then, only a couple years ago, I found a quote by C.S. Lewis that made it all clear.

The fact that our heart yearns
for something Earth can't supply is proof
that Heaven must be our home.”

There it was, and has been all along. We aren’t supposed to be satisfied with this life.

That yearning in our heart we feel every day, it’s a yearning for something far bigger and greater than our earthly minds can even imagine.

We yearn for Heaven, to spend eternity with the very One Who created us.

After all, we’re not to be a part of this world, to be so consumed in it that we forget our Lord and Savior.

But this is the tricky part. Where do we balance being content and peaceful wherever God puts us, while also still yearning for Heaven? That’s where the journey comes in.

You know all those books and TV shows we watch that we wish we could be a part of? Guess what. We’re already there. We’re Frodo and Sam taking the Ring to Mordor. We’re Alice falling through the rabbit hole. This life that we live every single day is the journey.

As exciting as these stories are to read, they’re not always so fun for the characters. Every day Frodo and Sam yearned to return home. Their journey wasn’t exactly fun and games. It was downright hard. But did they regret it? Of course not. Because as hard and impossible as it seemed, they saved all of Middle Earth, and in the end they returned home. Had they given up, not taken the journey, Middle Earth would have been overrun by evil.

This world we live in, its dark and sad and sometimes just hard. But this is our journey. The drudgery, the heartache. Every day. This is what we’re meant to do. Sometimes it’s a scary plummet into the unknown like poor Alice. Sometimes its just a seemingly endless, dull walk like much of Frodo and Sam’s journey. There are joys and pain and excitement and the same ol’, same ol’. But it’s our journey.

God put us here for a purpose. We are His warriors. And if we put one foot in front of the other, eventually we’ll find our purposes fulfilled and that we’ve made it Home.

And that, I think, is how we find contentment in this life and longing for the next. The heroes in our beloved stories press on to make the world a better place. To make it home knowing they’ve done what they were meant to do.

It’s not easy. But it’s worth it to one day hear those word.

“Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

I want to be His warrior. To press on through the drudgery. To live through the adventure He has given me and to be grateful and content with the big and small things of life. But to always keep my eyes on Home.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, Christine, you've done it again. Just...YES. I don't even know what to say. You encapsulated the thoughts that have gone through my head a million times. I often get sooo tired of the same thing day after day after day. But all that monotony is part of our journey. Just like Frodo's and Sam's. One day after another, pressing onward to the goal that our Savior has set before us.

    Asdklfh this post is every kind of awesome. I really needed it today. Thanks so very much for your continual encouragement <3

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    1. D'awww, I'm glad it was helpful to you! The day after day drudgery can get so tiring. I have such a hard time with it. But I think we can enjoy it more if we think of ourselves as adventurers, journeying toward Home. ^_^

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  2. Thank you for sharing this, it was very inspiring and eye opening!

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    1. You're so welcome! It helped me a lot, because it's something I know, but so forget and hardly ever apply to my day to day life. Putting it in words brought more of an understanding to my own mind.

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  3. Sounds like you had a blast with your friend. I love how you put things into perspective for me. So eloquently too. <3

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    1. We had the best time, yes! :D

      Awww, glad you enjoyed it, Skye! I think God was giving me more of an understanding while I wrote the post. I love when that happens!

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  4. lsdj;aslkjf;alskdjslk
    i am once again rendered speechless and utterly wordless by the sheer amazingness of the awesome posts you write lauri
    i can't even punctuate or sentence words properly
    like
    how even do i word
    this is so perfect and so very true and i adore it so much
    and the way you tie together several different subjects just effortlessly in this beautiful post in such a lyrical manner
    you amaze me
    yes yes yes to this whole post
    thank you for posting it you wonderful person you
    i feel like i have so much to say about this but my brain doesn't function just now so i'll just say yes and leave it at that
    <3

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    1. Now I am rendered speechless!
      Oh my goodness gracious.
      Just.
      THANK YOU!!!

      I'm so glad it came off okay. I actually had NO clue what I was going to post, I just started typing and this came from it. I think God was revealing this to me AS I wrote it. So it's all Him! But I was worried it came off as too scattered, because I did end up almost making three different points or so that could be their own topics for a blog post. Hopefully it made sense in some form or fashion.

      BUT YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO GOOD. THANK YOU!!!!! <3333

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this; I needed to read it today. And I love that last quote by C.S. Lewis. In fact, I love all the quotes you shared. Beautiful.

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    1. You are so welcome! It just came to me while I was trying to come up with a blog post, so I give it all to God! I love when those things happen.

      C.S. Lewis is amazing. His quotes impact me so much.

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  6. Beautiful post, Lauri! Thank you for sharing. :]

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    1. Thank you, sweet girl! So very glad you enjoyed it. <333

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  7. Oh my. I can't ... can't even ... wow. I loved this post so much, Christine! We must be separated sisters or something, because this is EXACTLY how I feel sometimes :). Thank you for posting this!
    Any by the way, I agree that there is no thing as too much pizza. *nod*

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    1. Agh, girl! You are so sweet! I give it all to God. I'm pretty sure He put all the words there. I didn't even know what I was going to post about when I sat at the computer! He's so amazing.

      ALL THE PIZZA! :D *fistpump*

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  8. I felt the same way after my best friend visited for eight days earlier in the month. Life just isn't as exciting without her. Contentment is a tough thing for me. I always wanted to look toward something better and it's hard for me to be okay with the now. Thank you for this. :)

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Being able to be with your best friend all the time is the most amazing thing. It's so hard separating, isn't it?

      I am the same way. I have in my head life will be better and more exciting eventually. But, ya know, sometimes life is as it is. I guess we have to find joy and contentment where we are. Sometimes it's hard having that mentality for sure.

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  9. Oh, it sounds like you had a marvellous week with your friend! It's hard sometimes to come off that high . . . reminds me of coming home from summer camp. You go from busy and excited and on fire to just--normal life.

    But GIRL. You basically read my mind. I've pondered this so many times too, and you verbalized it so beautifully! I especially loved this: "Guess what. We’re already there. We’re Frodo and Sam taking the Ring to Mordor. We’re Alice falling through the rabbit hole. This life that we live every single day is the journey." It's really true. We are living the adventure. It doesn't look and feel as glamorous and epic as we might have expected, but this is the nitty-gritty, rubber-meets-the-road adventure we're on. Between those epic moments are long stretches of this journey . . . the trudging, the trekking, the climbs and the struggles. (I often find books to be a wonderful lens through which to view and understand life, don't you?) But in the end, it's all so very worth it. Heaven really is a thrilling thing to think about.

    (As an aside, I happened to be listening to Anthem Lights' song "Stranger" while reading this post. It fits perfectly!)

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    1. We had the best time, yes! It so is! I can imagine being at a summer camp would definitely make it hard time come back. As you said, you have all that excitement and then an immediate cutoff back to the norm. Definitely a difficult adjustment.

      D'awww! I give God all the credit! I honestly didn't even know what I was going to post and I just started typing and this is what came of it. I love when God shows me things through my writing!
      Yes to everything you said! This is our journey, and sometimes it's long and dreary, but so worth it! I definitely agree about books being a lens to understand life. And I LOVE how you put that!! Books are sometimes like a portal to a deeper understanding of life. It's wonderful!

      I love that song! And oh, oh! Did I tell you I got the first Anthem Lights CD or Christmas?? I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

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  10. This makes ALL THE SENSE, OMG! XD Actually, it reminds me of something this teacher (Beth Moore) said in a video series once; how people might long for their childhood home, and want to go back, but when they get there, it falls short of their expectations. It's just not the SAME, and they're left dissatisfied. And it's because our souls long for home; their real, true home. To be in Heaven with Jesus will give us all the fulfillment, joy, and adventure we could ever want or need. ^.^

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    1. That's how I felt when I saw the C.S. Lewis quote! It was just like, "OH YEAH! Whoa!"

      Oooh, Beth Moore. Yes, she has some amazing stuff out there. And I love that! That's an awesome way to put it. We're longing for our REAL Home. Such an amazing thought.

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  11. This is absolutely beautiful, Christine!! <3 <3 In fact, it brought tears to my eyes. You word it so perfectly, and I think each of us understands that feeling you're talking about. Thank you for reminding us that we're just passing through, and one day our hearts and souls will be completely fulfilled in heaven! ^_^

    But yes, for now, we just keep on keeping on, like all our favorite characters. And find joy everywhere we can! :) Yay for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien! Such great quotes! :)

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    1. Oh wow! That means so much to me. I'm so glad God can use me to touch others. But I give it all to Him. This is something I think He's trying to hammer into my own mind.

      Keep on keeping on. Exactly. ^_^ I love stories that give us heroes to aspire to be. That persevere no matter what, because I think we all need that reminder to just keep trekking. And find joy everywhere, just as you said!

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  12. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :0)

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    1. Awww, thank you!!! That just makes my day. ^_^

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  13. It sounds like you had a blast with your friend! Having a best friend like that is most certainly a rare treasure; hold it close to your heart. ;) (And let's be brutally honest: pizza needs to be its own food group. XD)

    But wow. This post... it's so good. Actually, it's more than that. To me, it's a Godsend. There've been days over the last few months or so where, in the quietness and regularity of life, I've wondered if my writing pays off. I think, "Is there worth in what I do?" And it's hard. But these words confirm that when I'm using my gift for God, He takes it, multiplies it, and uses it better me as well as others. Even in the silent moments when it seems like my work isn't paying off, He's moving behind in the scenes, turning the gears. I suppose I need to trust Him in the drudgery of normality.

    And then there's also when I have moments where I reflect on the number of real friendships I have. I could count on one hand the number of them. And it hurts. A lot. But the world wasn't made to be in its current condition. We were supposed to walk with God, a friend closer than a brother. Leaning on an invisible friend is no easy task. But He's the best friend I could ever ask for, and I have to believe He knows what it feels like to be alone and that He has people whose paths I'll cross someday. But until then, I have to simply trust.

    This post is a timely reminder to keep my gaze on His Kingdom--on my true Home--and keep pressing on. Like you said, the journey is no easy thing. We're merely passing through, and we can feel deep within that this is not our destination. It's the path that brings us there. And even when it feels like parts of my life are a desolate valley of sheer "ordinary life," I have to take one step at a time.

    I want to fulfill my God-given destiny. I want to hear from Him that I did well. So I'll keep marching on. Through the pain. Through the sorrow. Through the mess. If I pursue Him and His righteousness, then all the good things will added to me. Through Him, I will be victorious.

    I'm really not sure if my thoughts are coherent. Looking over this post brings me close to tears. I don't even know if any of the ways I was touched by these words was what you had intended.

    Whatever the case, thank you for allowing God to use you as an instrument of beauty and encouragement. ;)

    -Josiah

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    1. We had a wonderful time! And wait...pizza ISN'T a main food group? :O How ridiculous!

      Okay, now you're putting me close to tears. You make so many good points. And this post was intended to be taken for ALL walks of life. It's about everyone's journey, whatever they may going through.

      I also struggle wondering if my writing has any point. I mean, the many, many, MANY hours I've spent on writing kind of overwhelm me. Should I have been using that time for something else? But then I remember God put this passion inside me, and I do try to use it to glorify Him. I don't know what will become of it, but I DO think He wants me to continue writing, to always write. As you so beautifully said, He's moving behind the scenes and turning the gears. You have such a talent for writing and always put touching messages in your stories. You should absolutely keep on. God has wonderful plans for you!

      I know not having many friends is so, so hard. I kind of feel like my few friends are slipping away. Like I said, this friend I spent a week with lives hours away and we only see each other like twice a year, if that, and hardly ever get to talk in between. My other couple of friends are now married and having children and in just completely different stages of life than me, which I think sometimes puts a wedge between us. I mean, we still care about each other and love being together, but it's not quite the same as it used to be now that their lives are so drastically different from mine. And it is such a struggle not having many people in your life. But, like you said, when we have God we don't need anything or anybody else. And maybe, because we aren't overwhelmed with a ton of friends, we'll lean more on Him and become better people in the end because of it.

      Whatever this life deals us, we have God, and we have Heaven to look forward to. The reward is completely worth the journey.

      This is becoming a monster comment, but I just want you to know if you ever need to talk feel free to toss me a message at any time!

      Keep trekking on. God's got something beautiful in store. ^_^

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    2. That's awesome to hear. :) It totally is! We need to band together and declare to the world that pizza deserves to be a category of its own! XD

      Well, I can definitely say God used it to meet me where I'm at.

      At risk of sounding like an echo of what you said to me, I totally agree that this passion you have is from God. You have something special to offer the world; reading the Burning Thorns novella way back when was proof to me of that. I can't wait to see you get published. God is going to take you places you never dreamed possible. To acknowledge you have a gift and never use it for His glory (or never use it at all, period)would be a mistake. But you're writing to advance His Kingdom, so I'd say you're doing the right thing. ;)

      Thank you for your kind words. They're something I really needed to hear. It brought to mind something that happened a couple of years back: Sometime after Tracey had first started working on a novel, I was inspired to write one as well (and discovered my talent while at it). I didn't finish it, and it definitely doesn't come close to what my writing is now. But I read the chapters as I wrote them to my best friend, whom I've known all my life. One day, sometime after I had stopped, we were playing "Would You Rather" via texting, and he asked me, "Would you rather give up all your LEGO or your ability to write?" I replied, "That's really hard, but I'd give up my LEGO." He said, "Good, because your writing is a God-given gift."

      Wow, that doesn't sound easy. But God's promised that with Him, all things are possible. That includes getting through the lonely seasons of life. Having a Friend who never fails you or leaves you is a beautiful thing. And that's an interesting thought you have there. I've never really looked at it like that before. I think for me, part of the reason that this time of my life feels especially lonely is because I'm graduating this summer, and I honestly don't know how many friends I can invite. I go to a youth group, but I also don't know if there's anything that would go beyond youth (and I feel like my confidence has dropped due to... stuff that happened in the past). So yes, I definitely need to lean on God more.

      Aye, that it is. Perseverance has its rewards. :)

      You have a monster comment? Every time I post on your blog, I leave monster comments (and it's happening again :P). But thank you for the offer; I really appreciate it. ;)

      He does indeed. Thanks again, Christine, for letting God use you to encourage others. ^_^

      -Josiah

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    3. Aye, aye!!

      Oh man, that means so much to me. Writing can be so discouraging. You have no clue how encouraging that was. Thank you!!

      Awwww! See? I'm not just saying it, it's TRUE. You've got an amazing talent and should never, ever give it up or question continuing. NEVER.

      Exactly. I think sometimes lonely seasons are an important part of life, some quiet time to get closer to God so we don't forget Him during the busy seasons.
      I know precisely what you're going through! When I graduated and was ready to send out invitations I was just like, "Wait, who can I even send these to??" We've never really had a swell of people in our lives, and events like that makes it hard. But, again, I'm sure it's only a season and I KNOW God has amazing stuff He's orchestrating for you right now.

      Yes it does!

      I love your comments! Chatting with people is my favorite thing, and you always bring up wonderful conversations and make me think. So comment away!

      And thank YOU for being an encouragement to me!

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