Friday, September 2, 2011

a snow-globe & eternity. What matters in this life?





I feel like a snow-globe. My mind feels like a snow-globe that is being shaken and shaken and you don't really know what the clear picture is going to be because all you see are sparkles and little chunks of things swirling all around. It's not my favorite feeling. I am ready for the chunks and sparkles to settle a bit so I can see what is going on. I'd like to see a clear picture and understand why the heck all this shaking is happening. The swirly sparkles are nice... all sparkles are nice... but its the chunks of things blocking my vision that have really become a bother.


Nothing sustains me. It's hopeless. Not money, nor marriage, not looking great, or laughing, or dressing like a princess, or drinking a lattte. Sex doesn't. Smoking weed didn't. Drinking too much didn't. Shopping doesn't. Reading doesn't. Eating doesn't. Bulimia didn't, dancing doesn't, volleyball didn't. Best friends can't. Sisters can't. Traveling doesn't. Modeling doesn't. Ministry definitely doesn't. California doesn't. Barcelona doesn't. London, Thailand, Korea, Colorado, Mexico, Hawaii, Michigan, India... none of them do. Being thin doesn't. Being tan doesn't. Having white teeth and a great haircut doesn't. Nothing on earth sustains me.


Its terrible, hopeless and completely stressful. Where are we supposed to go to be sustained? When I was a little girl, basically up until I started going to middle school, everyday when I woke up I wouldn't get out of bed until I thought of something to be excited for. At the time I had pretty low standards- so just the fact that recess was coming again and I could play football with the boys was enough of a hope to get out of bed happy. But as I have gotten older I have realized that though there are plenty of things to adore about life on earth, there is really nothing that will sustain me, nothing that I can put my hope in.


So then what do I do? Keep seeking things that will feel nice for a bit to numb the deep longing in me to have hope and feel fully alive? I could, it's what most people do. The problem with that is that it points to the idea that life on earth is all that matters, its all we have.. when we die.. we are just done. Well, I don't believe it. I believe in eternity. I believe that when I take my last breath on this planet, I will then immediately inhale my first perfect breath of the crisp, sweet, wonderful air of heaven. (I'm imagining the gorgeous mountain air of Colorado, and assuming heaven can't get much better than that.) If heaven is for real, and eternity really means forever, then that means the life I live after I leave the earth is going to be so much longer and more important than the one I'm currently living.. its hard to fathom.


It's kind of like high school. When you are in high school it feels all consuming. It feels like all that matters in life is what happens during those 4 years. Like being great at sports, popularity, grades, parties, boyfriends, hot girls, clothes, gossip, and DECA (haha I don't know why I put that in there but I just loved DECA). While being a high school student it is difficult to see beyond graduation, you just kind of live everyday trying to make the most of living in the high school world. I remember feeling annoyed when people older than me would encourage me during those years by saying, "none of this stuff matters, high school will end and all of the stuff you are going through will be nothing".  I hated it, because I really didn't believe that life could mean more than striving to be the best, most beautiful, high school girl that I could be. I mean, I hoped life would mean more than that, but when everything around you points toward one thing, it is difficult to believe something else. But then sure enough I graduated and almost immediately it became a joke to hear someone talk about being Prom Queen. The striving of high school ended and a whole new world began. It was quick and slightly shocking, with very little time to recover before moving into adulthood. But ultimately it was true, even though high school felt all consuming, the reality was that it didn't really matter, and that very little of what felt important then, was actually important in the grand scheme of life. 


Our lives on earth are like that. There are lots of things that consume our minds and feel incredibly important now, but when we arrive at the end of our lives we will look back and realize that most of it really didn't matter in the grand scheme of eternity. So then what does matter now? Wouldn't it be great if we could just ask someone who has experienced eternal life so they could tell us what matters now?


Actually we can. Jesus has experienced eternal life and He shared some of His heavenly insight with us on His sermon on the mount. In listening to Him we get a pretty clear picture of what will matter when we arrive at eternity.



What will matter at the end of our lives? Here are some insights Jesus shared with us during his sermon on the mount. You can read his full message in Matthew chapters 5-7. 


revenge won't matter: If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

having enemies won't matter:  43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 

giving will matter:4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

possessions won't matter: 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth.. 20 Store your treasures in heaven..21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

food & clothes won't matter:  25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

worrying won't matter: 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

praying will matter: 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

trusting what Jesus said will matter: 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”


What I gather from all of these insights is that though my mind feels like a shaken up snow-globe of thoughts and emotions, I can find my sustenance in the truth of God's Word. Jesus came to save me from sin, but He also comes daily to save me from myself and lead me into all truth. He is the Savior. He is also the Prince of Peace. In Him we find true joy that sustains and strengthens us. When we are shaken and we can't see clearly, His presence calms the storms in our minds and reminds us to pursue the truth. We are not living for today. We are living for eternity. There is no sense in stressing over the temporary when we can be faithfully preparing for the eternal. Life here on earth is short, life with Christ lasts forever. 

"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here 
 a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14

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