Today I am feeling listless and restless. I am frustrated with myself because I should be really happy right now: I’ve just been on holiday, I’ve had loads of sunshine and good food and great chats with friends. I am emotionally replenished. I’m so blessed.
But for some reason, over the last couple of days, I have had that ‘urgh’ feeling of dissatisfaction. I know, I know – I’m perverse. I don’t have anything to moan about and I’m moaning.
I feel like the weather at the moment, still and sticky and annoying. (Can I blame pathetic fallacy for my mood, I wonder?)
I am annoyed, because I don’t feel blessed. I know I am blessed, but I feel a discontentment. Somehow, at the moment, nothing is ‘enough’. I have time to relax, brain energy to write – these things are a blessing, but I want more. I want more time to relax, more nice food, more sunshine, more time with friends.
And then I feel guilty, because I know that I have so much to be grateful for, and what am I doing being so self-obsessed? I have so much, and I have especially had so much to be thankful for in the past few weeks. I infuriate myself.
I try to conjure up thankfulness for various things. It fails.
Then I feel like because I have had more time recently, I ought (somehow) to be feeling more holy. I ought to be reading the Bible more, and getting more from it. I ought to be encouraging others – or something. Instead, Jon and I sit in the evenings, both in the same ‘urgh’ mood – for no reason.
And then a line comes to mind: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’ (Eph 1:3)
And immediately I think, ‘Big deal! I don’t want spiritual blessings! I want more ice cream’. I want material blessings. I want more time and brain energy to see friends and to be able to go for a run, and a ticket to see the Olympics, and the ability to attend friends’ weddings, and most of all, everyone everywhere to like my blog and see how profound I am.
And as soon as I think that, I know that I don’t really want more material blessings, that they don’t satisfy. I could have more ice cream, but I don’t really want it. I’d just feel fat and slightly sullied by the quantity of sugar.
And I don’t really want more approval and popularity. I mean, I want it, but it’s junk food. I know if I get it I’ll just feel fat and slightly sullied, in much the same way.
I return to the verse again. He ‘has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’ I say it slowly.
I don’t want Christ. And I really want Christ.
I want my soul nourished and my spirit to be fed, but I don’t know how to. My Bible reading is plagued by the same ennui and muggy, sticky urgh feeling I’m feeling. It feels like eating porridge – boring and stodgy.
I just read through the lines slowly again. ‘He chose us in Him…He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ…in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…the riches of God’s grace that He lavished upon us…’
In Him. Through Him.
And suddenly I get a sense of release. I am in Him. My perverse, sulky soul is hidden in Christ. Whether I like it or not, I am blessed. Whether I feel it or not, I am blessed. Whether I am grateful for it or not, I am blessed. That is just the way it is.
I don’t know why that brings me joy, but it does.
Over to you:
- Am I the only one who is so ridiculously contradictory in my responses to God?
- What are you most thankful of at the moment – God’s material blessings or the spiritual ones?