“Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up.” (Matthew 4.16b, The Message)
For all my consistencies as a person – I wake up at the same time every morning, I have the same morning routine (which, sadly, doesn’t include a jaunt at the gym, like I envisioned), the same afternoon routine, the same evening routine, and even the same handful of websites I browse during the same windows of downtime – I am wildly inconsistent as a Christian.
This morning, while listening to the local Christian radio station (particularly, Casting Crowns‘ Until the Whole World Hears) I had the dangerous thought of, “What does it all mean [to be a Christian]?”
I live a happy life, one that is pretty low-maintenance, relatively low-stress, I haven’t killed anyone (purposefully or otherwise…just kidding), and I can make at least my children laugh easily. I sometimes curse, most recently when I dropped a piping hot slice of pizza on my newly-washed jeans (that they were newly-washed is oh-so-significant, because they only fit right straight out of the dryer, and besides, did you read that? The pizza was Piping. Hot.), I argue with Bug when he uses the sarcasm gene I unwittingly passed on to him, I’ll even sleep in on Sunday mornings after a particularly wakeful night with Bean.
I accepted Christ in sixth grade, during a church retreat, when the minister leading the retreat asked everyone in the room to stand up if he or she were ready to accept Christ. I was tinier than most, and Asian in south Alabama, and a newcomer to this particular church, and on the brink of my dreaded Awkward Stage, so no way was I going to stick out even more by keeping my butt planted. And because my conversion to this Christianity bit was somewhat coerced (my twelve-year-old self will claim) and because I knew it, I rededicated my life to Christ. Several times, actually, over the course of the next six years. Every retreat, every revival, shoot, even every Christian rock concert I went to.
None of that matters, I just wanted to ramble.
Anyway, somewhere along the lines, between all the weepy altar calls and college drinking binges (they weren’t that bad, Mom, I promise), I encountered Jesus Christ, and I feel like I should say that I haven’t been the same since, but that doesn’t seem quite right. I have, for the most part, been the same, except now my soul has a residence in Heaven.
I abide by most rules the Bible and the church declare for those who call themselves Christians. I even tithe (ten percent of nothing is…nothing! Just kidding, honest). I still love my husband, I can’t get enough of my children, I get along with my parents and siblings, I haven’t really ticked anyone off in a long time that I’m aware of, I’m even courteous to people who call to sell me stuff.
When you put it that way, I am really living life, aren’t I?
(There goes that sarcasm gene.)
Did God always intend for me to have this three-quarters-life, this pretty rad life, one that I’m pleased with, but maybe not always fully satiated by? Hahaha, that’s a good one! Actually, it’s not about my life at all, not in the least. But because of my imperfection, because of my inconsistencies and my ability to accept less than greatness, because of my inherent laziness, I can say that I’d rate my life pretty high on the Awesome Scale (it exists).
But what exactly am I tapping into, when I tap into God? Maybe just a hit of Feel Good, a little flutter in my heart, an assurance that I’m doing a little more than yesterday.
For the most part, I am perfectly dispassionate about a God who is grand.
It’s a shame, actually, that I got my passport into the Kingdom of Heaven, just to sit back on my haunches with my box of bonbons. (To be clear, I have actually never eaten a bonbon.) And I don’t honestly expect to ever be fully satisfied in seeking out the Lord – how do you get your fill of something that is Infinite? I do, however, want to be able to taste that dissatisfaction, that need to search for more, to taste more and to learn more. I want to be able to overcome my inconsistencies, my imperfections, my laziness, to delve ever deeper into a real relationship with God, one that is unquestionable and leaving me with wanting more.
Is that so much to ask?
Not really, because I happen to know that God loves when we ask that. And is He ever capable.
So here’s to (yet another) resolution, the resolution to be constantly aware of my hunger for the Lord, to forego the illusion that I can fill that hunger with other things that only mute it for awhile, to revel, daily I hope, on the Price of my imperfection, to eschew, daily most likely, my cloak of irreverence and indifference to a God and a calling and an identity of royalty.
Here’s to hunger.