When I’m not even sure how to live


I’m an expert at over-analyzing things, especially when it comes to myself.

I’ll pick apart in detail how I reacted in situations in order to determine if I responded in the most ideal ways.

I’ll beat myself up over and over again regarding mistakes I know I’ve made and over things that may have not been mistakes at all but nonetheless could have been.

My default perspective of life is to view it through the lens of how I’ve failed.  This naturally lends itself to a generally negative experience of life.

Conversely, a perspective that focuses on my successes would result in narcissism.  My experience of life may be more of a net positive for me, but it would be miserable for those I love, which would eventually lead to misery for me, too.

If focusing on the self ultimately results in an unhappy life, one would think the alternative of focusing on others is the cure.

While that’s true to an extent, it’s incredibly difficult to shift your focus off yourself onto others consistently.

And at least for me, that results in more despair.  I recognize my problem but feel powerless to address it.

How do I go about living in any form of contentment?

The answer is simple enough but hard to live out – it comes in a continual growth in appreciating how much God loves me.

I’m struggling mightily with this.  I know the right answers in my head, but my heart struggles to grasp the reality.

How does God’s love satisfy me when it seems so ephemeral?  Even in fleeting moments of meditative transcendence, the experience – while powerful – leaves me longing for more.

What “more” is there?  Are we destined to live this life in some variation of a state of perpetual longing?

I think in a way, yes we are.

God is everything we need, but this side of the transformation of all creation, we, like the rest of creation, are groaning in anticipation, as Paul puts it in Romans.

That sucks.

But faith and hope become moot when the full reality of God is actualized for us, and God values faith and hope immensely for reasons we aren’t fully aware of, so we are left in this intermediate state until the eschaton.

Meanwhile, we hone our faith, hope, love, patience, perseverance, and other gifts of the Spirit by learning to see God throughout all of our physical existence.

We aren’t gnostics, so we recognize that physical reality is good and will be redeemed in the end, so we learn to see God in nature and in other people without ascribing to a form of pantheism.

I suppose part of the point of the Spirit’s indwelling in every believer is for God to use each of us to help comfort one another.  Fellow Christians – along with the elements in the Eucharist –  are thus the most real presence of Christ we can see and touch until Christ’s return.

Our vocation as Christians, in the broadest sense, is to become more intimate with God – to allow the gifts of the Spirit to continue to develop throughout our life in preparation for the life to come.

More specific vocations fall within this rubric, but it’s helpful for me to remember – even (and especially) when it’s very difficult and I’m frustrated – that this is the point of my life.

Yet that doesn’t remove the tension and the longing within my heart that is part of the calling of creation to its Lover.

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