It had always been the “life in all its fullness” that tripped me up… the examination of my life circumstances seemed to be everything but a full life. Unless it meant a life full of busyness, a packed schedule, constant doing & going – I had a full plate, but not a full life. I didn’t desire to take stock of my life because I knew that I didn’t like it already, & revisiting that fact to ‘revel’ in that wasn’t appetizing, anymore than a root canal would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon. Reviewing my life? Why? To be reminded that something that Jesus promised to give me wasn’t evident in my life? That somehow something that was to be given to me had somehow been missed out on…?
Maybe I was trying to earn it. Show myself to be worthy. Not necessarily in a competition with another, but more in a competition of worthiness with me – late in the evening, long after all had gone to sleep, I was still stewing, & it was then that it would come to torment me, like an unseen mosquito in the dark room –
You should be doing better.
You’re missing something – what is it? If you were trying harder, you’d get it…
If you were different, you’d be getting it instead of chasing it.
It’s pointless. Give up.
There were a lot of givens that I had accepted at face value, things that I’d picked up from a life inside The Machine…through observation & experience… others didn’t seem to be living a full life either. A real life. Something enjoyable, regardless of life circumstances. Like living for Jesus was something that we’d told ourselves was the best life there was, all the while living a drastically different reality. Hollow & empty. Spent like a tube of toothpaste that has been squeezed out until there’s absolutely nothing left to get from it. That’s how life felt. The duplicity of it haunted me. Nauseated me. Challenged me. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? This should not be so.
I went to a conference for vocational ministers & someone quoted Eugene Peterson to the crowd – something about how the words “BUSY” & “PASTOR” should never be used together – & how a “busy life” is a travesty… It went over my head – inside I scoffed. Busy was success – it meant doing lots of things, & the more things that a pastor did, the stronger he was. The better he was. The more effective he was. Only those who “couldn’t handle so much” weren’t busy. The weak ones. The ones that hadn’t learned effective multi-tasking.
Arrogance. Without life. Pain & hurt, more hurt than I’d want to admit. Emptiness. Anger at being ripped off, holding title to worthlessness, refusing to give in, refusing to give up.
And still, the hope of life in all of its fullness kept me going…