We Were Not Meant To Live Like This

Rush Hour
Photo by ChrisM70, via Flickr

It’s a been quite a weekend week two weeks month life lately. I’m working on a novel revision which I intended to have finished the middle of last week, but between spring break, meetings, presentations, kids’ events, and so on, I missed my self-imposed deadline.

I don’t like missing deadlines.

At the same time, I was wrestling with what to do about a very specific item that was causing me great anguish. The kind that keeps you from taking deep breaths. The kind that keeps you awake for three hours in the middle of the night.

I knew God had a solution, but I couldn’t find it. I kept asking. But I didn’t have time to be quiet and still to let him talk, and when I did have thirty seconds, I couldn’t find the quiet center that would allow me to hear anything. Whatever course of action I took, I could see potential disasters.

The good news is that when you seek sincerely, God will get through eventually, one way or another. And by the time I took off on an all-day-and-evening field trip with my daughter on Friday, I had found an course of action that eased my mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Somewhat.

That day, as we walked around Kansas City, the sculpture pictured above stuck out at me. Often, I’ll look at art and be struck by it, but not really know why it resonates. This one made its meaning instantly clear. Look at those people–grim-faced, heads down, leaning into a maelstrom of overwhelming stress. Weighed down. Completely checked out of their own lives. They are prisoners of modern life.

It resonated because it was precisely how I’d been feeling: trapped, powerless, entirely in survival mode–and resentful about it. The weather was beautiful, the earth coming back to life, and I was struggling just to breathe. I couldn’t look up to see–really see–the birds twittering and the baby leaves on the weeping willow. I couldn’t hear the hum of the earth going through its yearly resurrection.

I think we all know that when we’re weighed down and all of life feels burdensome, we miss the goodness of God all around us. But that sculpture reminded me that what I lack most in those times is guidance. I am always, always willing to do whatever God asks of me, however difficult–I just need to know what God’s will is! But when my eyes are staring at internal blackness, my brain wrapped in thick chains of stress and busy work instead of resting in God…

Well, at those times I’m short-tempered, easily offended, easily goaded into fighting, more judgmental, and generally a dim reflection of God’s presence in the world. Worse: at those time, I can’t hear God telling me His will for this moment and this situation and this question.

We were not meant to live like this, in a constant race around a pointless hamster wheel. We were made for better things. Made to live in a peace and calm that allows us to recognize the whisper of God’s voice in our minds, telling us the answer to our quandaries, and God’s hand on our back, nudging us toward His will in all the complexities of modern life.

We were not meant to live like this. The question is, are we looking for a way out?


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