Sunday, September 19, 2004

that awful emptiness

A fellow thirsty soul and I have been talking (emailing, actually). We've wondered if what we're experiencing is a midlife crisis. Aren't we a little young for that? Perhaps, then, it's an extension of our adolescent search for identity?

We thought we already found our identity. We left Bible College with big dreams and a desire to really make a difference in the world. Were we kidding ourselves?

She says, "I think before college life seemed so full of possibilities and dreams ... then college was so busy ... but when I married and settled down into 'normal life' I was dismayed to see that I was living that 'boring' (though happy) life that my parents lived. They're great people, but they weren't changing the world as far as I could tell in high school. So when I realized I was/am doing the same thing, I guess I'm disappointed but I'm afraid to really do anything about it. I guess I have a desire to be 'radical', but a fear of actually being 'radical,' and I'm not even sure what it would mean to be 'radical.' So maybe that plays into the restlessness...."

She desribes the restless feeling. "I get this sense of emptiness and restlessness that feels horrible, and that is the time when I crave something pleasurable that doesn't satisfy... for me it's the time I often crave a movie (must watch movie, any movie!!!), but dread the moment that the movie ends because then, once again, I will be aware of that same awful emptiness."

We have both realized that God desires to fill us with His life-giving Spirit, and that we can tap into that resource at any time by cultivating a relationship with Him and by obeying what we know to be our task from Him. But, as she expresses so well, "Even knowing the 'cure' though, too many times I still choose the movie or the chocolate ... believing that common lie that if I just line up enough pleasures in succession, I'll never have to face the emptiness again."

So just how radical do we have to be to make a difference in the world?
Has every generation had to fight against the tide of disillusionment?
What about the days when the idea of being radical sounds exhausting?
When we try to tap into His life-giving power but still feel empty ... then what?
What happens if we face that awful emptiness head on?

We'd like to know what you think.

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