I was journaling during a quiet time this week when the thought struck me. I’ve realized I’m in somewhat of a transitional period in my life and somewhere along the line, I’ve reasoned that it’s OK, best even, to put my life on a hold. How does one do this? Very simply. I’ve somehow convinced myself not to get too involved and invested in the community around me because I’m going to be moving soon and I don’t want the abrupt end of those relationships and connections caused by my inevitable moving. And moving is definitely the goal as I’m currently living with my parents, saving money so I can afford a place of my own (with roommates, of course).
I now understand how many people can come to hate their jobs and even their lives. It only takes the reasoning, “I’ll only do this for a little while,” and then the person wakes up half a lifetime later living a life characterized by the settling that they assured themselves was temporary. The danger in settling, not seeking God’s joy in every aspect of our lives is that it’s contagious. It is a disease that starts with our interactions with friends and family, for instance, and then spreads its way into our very souls. Most of the time, when people begin to understand what has happened, their little, harmless settling has matured into a full-grown apathy. This is soul poisoning because something is most definitely wrong, but since settling is all that is known, there is little to no effort in changing the situation; these people become captives in their own bodies.
“No I’m not alright
I know that I’m not right
A steering wheel don’t mean you can drive
A warm body don’t mean I’m alive
No I’m not alright
I know that I’m not right
Feels like I travel but I never arrive
I want to thrive not just survive”
“Thrive” — Switchfoot
God is ironic, because the same morning I had this revelation I was listening to the new Switchfoot album on my way to work and the song “Thrive” stood out to me. Just look at the chorus (above) and you see a picture of a man who’s struggling with this very same problem. However, there is a realization here that I feel is often overlooked. Reading slightly into the lyrics, I think it’s safe to say that Jon Foreman understands that his desire to thrive is the result of his God-given design. We were made to thrive, but somewhere along the way we’ve all been told that it’s OK to settle for survival. This is a travesty.
The worst thing about being a Christian and struggling with this is being able to reason a subsistence lifestyle with the promises of the greatness of heaven. I can’t count how many times I or someone else has responded to struggle with some form of the “treasure in heaven” adage. While there is great truth in this, we’ve decontextualized it in a dangerous fashion. Heaven will be amazing. However, my dad last week helped me to realize this past week as we stood looking out over the valley at the sunset that there is so much beauty here and now. While heaven will be…indescribable, our existences here are not lived for a minute without God’s grace raining down on us. The real difference between this life and heaven, must be the fact that in heaven God does not have to use evil events to manifest His good will. Instead, in heaven all is good and beautiful, made whole again.
The fact of the matter is that we have accepted the highest calling in the universe and it’s to be lived out here on earth. That calling is one devoid of apathy and settling, but is not to be confused with selfishness. We were created for a purpose and that is what what brings our souls to life. Have you ever seen a soul aflame? It’s a scary experience, because this person is so foreign and their liveliness is infectious. It’s really uncomfortable to the apathetic, because the soul alive is active and comfortable with risk. So, it’s up to us. Will we settle to die before we’re ready to live or will we daily make the choice to live out our God-given purpose? Maybe the better question to ask is in what areas are you settling today?