“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
I spent the first part of my life in devout introspection, seeking a rest for my restless soul, trying like crazy to figure out why I was here—here, as opposed to not existing at all. As a young kid, being substantially almost normal, I engaged in carefree fun and games, and looked optimistically toward the possibilities of life ahead. Then, like most adolescent counterparts I knew, my optimism waned as I dealt indistinguishably with life’s slings and arrows, culminating in my hefting a mixed bag of coping stratagems like self-doubt and over-confidence (and these were my better traits) as I grew up and out the door to face the world’s madnesses, ill-suited as I was.
While coping inwardly, outwardly I pretended to be my winsome best, or whatever else I was expected to be at the moment. I was fake living—though you might not have spotted it as such—and continued the ruse for two decades more. All is not as it should be was the prevailing awareness I carried inside—one that seemed to come with me into this life, and it has never left me; nor should it, till I’m with God (Gen 3:16-19; 1Cor 13:11-12; Rev 21:4). It presented itself most conspicuously in early adulthood as I prepared to take hold of the proverbial good life–elusive rascal–as if I even knew what that was.
After many years of chasing this world’s sham versions of the good life, God’s timing prevailed and, at middle age, I finally found it for real, and His name was Jesus. Being sensible on some level, I surrendered my broken, fake life to Him—best thing I ever did—and I received His indwelling, real life in return—best thing I ever got. It was the perfect mid-life crisis to have. No more weal and woe for me, to use a Kierkegaard phrase. (And who doesn’t want to use one of those?) My wandering over the years, turns out, was a purposed route that wound its way through the fits and starts of a restless existence, before delivering me, collapsed in a heap, at the foot of a cross. Whereupon, I heard my Savior give me an offer of an eternal existence I wouldn’t refuse. He drives a kind bargain. He is full of love.
Post heap, there I was, a newborn Christian with two prevailing expectations: 1) that I would finally understand the point of life, which I did. It is to love; more specifically, to love with God’s love. And 2) that by way of such understanding, I would be moved to eradicate all my foibles, one by one, by surrendering them to Him. Which also I did, rather, do, but at a maddeningly slow pace that has yet to result in the finished product I hope for, being predominately a work-in-progress still.
So to recap: The first third of my life was lived in restless wandering; the second third, in ongoing transformation; and, presuming there is a third third, for the remainder of my life here, and later there, in Heaven, I am blessedly set up to apply what I was created to do: see expectation number one—to love, and thereby exhibit all the downstream parts of love, like showing more of God and less of me. And best of all, my surprising privilege and role through all of this is that I get to rest in Him (Mt 11:28); which I am learning to do; which is all I ever wanted from the start.
These days, I am still a devoutly introspective sort. Here is what I come up with when I ply my proclivity: Earth is the place where self-centered men’s temporal dreams come to die for lack of wanting more. Or, it is the place where searching men who place their dreams in Christ begin to live and love in eternal ways that they only dreamed about as children. For me, it is the latter place. It’s what I chose. It’s why I’m here; why I’m no longer restless. I see life as it is truly meant to be lived…with Jesus. I’ve lived both ways, with Jesus and without, so I speak with first-person experience: This is the good life. This is real living.
I hope this encourages you to enjoy real living today.
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