I was up late last night struggling with a good amount of discontent. I was suffering from the desire to buy a new PC game when I haven’t played all the ones I already have. I’ve never had this problem before. I’m the kind of person who just needs food, clothes, shelter, and amusement once in a while. Never have I suffered from an insatiable craving for material things. And then it hit me: I was experiencing what Christians refer to as a ‘hole in your heart’. It’s the knowledge that something is missing in your life and the inability to find that which will satisfy the craving. I was unfamiliar with the concept because I’d never had cause to experience it before. My life has always been sufficiently filled by God. I went to boarding school when I was ten. We had church services every Sunday, and compulsory prayers every day. I discovered a love for the Bible and I read it ceaselessly. I’ve always been filled, but that has been changing for more than a year.
It started very subtly. I returned from an extended stay in the hospital to find myself on a few mood dampening medications. Despite all the good they did, they made it a struggle for me to get anything done – from taking a shower, to studying for school, to going to church. I struggled, and was able to make it to church about twice a month, but I gave up attending Sunday school and Bible study. It was just too much effort. I was aware that a lax church attendance policy is dangerous (spiritually and otherwise) but I had no first hand experience with the issue and I was making the best of a bad situation. My state of mind also meant that I barely did anything at all – even reading my Bible, so just like if I had started eating an iron deficient diet, I was bound to feel the effects soon enough.
Thankfully, I realized what was going on before things got really bad. Once I realized what the issue was, it was very easily remedied. The temptation to buy something lessened, because I was aware that that was not the solution. It was too late to do anything, so I went to bed and woke up this morning feeling better. I finished reading 2nd Kings and went to Sunday School for the first time in a very long time. My problems haven’t disappeared. I ran out of energy halfway through the service and was itching to run home, but it was cold, I was hungry, and they were serving pancakes at Sunday School. I did a lot of thinking in those two hours and came to several conclusions.
1. It was not my fault, but I sinned against God anyway. I’m usually pretty good at blaming myself because my focus is on not excusing myself for my wrongs. I might be wrong in this, but I don’t believe I set out to turn away from God. I fell prey to temptation because I was weak. My emotions were all over the place and I wasn’t handling anything well. But I turned away from God anyway. Evidently, you can sin when you have no evil intentions.
2. I can now see why my fears about turning away from God are so silly. I’ve been worried about my ability to hold on to him, because I have no such ability! Rather, all I have to do is want him. He is the one who holds on to me. The determining issue is not how good I am at keeping his laws and seeking after him. It is how my heart is trained on him. I am human (weak, in other words). Of course, now I’m scared that I could stop wanting him, but I know that’s a silly fear too. I just haven’t figured out why yet. God stopped me (hit me with a brick, really) when I went sliding away from him because he knew that was not what I wanted (ultimately, anyway. I’m quite certain that I wanted to lie in bed for a few Sundays. But I’m human and stupid).
3. It’s interesting how even though I know what I am craving, and I know what will not satisfy me, I keep being tempted to do it anyway. As an analogy, it’s like I know soft drinks won’t sate my thirst, but I want to try them anyway. Why is that? It’s like I don’t want what I need, but something else, even while I know that such an action is foolish and futile. I suppose it must be an issue of wanting something that I shouldn’t, and not wanting what I should. It’s fascinating.
I must succumb to the need to play a game, now. I’ve achieved more today than I have in a while. I’m going to go beg God to let that continue.