Un-Settled: The Uncomfortable Life of a Pilgrim

UnsettlingBkgrndsmLife is good right now. Our youngest daughter is getting married, our middle son and his wife are giving us a fifth grand baby and our oldest son has set a great new trajectory in his life.

How about you? How has life been? Tough? Wonderful? Painful? Expansive?

Sometimes  life  hands us transcendent, happy moments. A dream comes true. Sometimes it slams us with  traumatic, heart-breaking moments. A nightmare comes to life.

But most of the time there is a mix of these extremes sprinkled into the banal routines of everyday living.

Yet here is the rub: it really doesn’t matter how transcendent or traumatic life is. Whatever else it is, it is transient–passing by at ever quickening speed and daring us to grab a few moments of joy from it.

Nothing we experience in life seems to fully satisfy: the joys that fill our hearts remind us that our spirits are somewhat empty. The sorrows that drain our souls remind us that life is not as it should be. And this reality leaves us with a sigh of the soul that says, “there has to be more than this”.

So what is  that subterranean longing in us that is never quite satisfied and always reaches for more? We are homesick. We are not yet where we were made to be. What we so often feel is a wanderlust because we cannot seem to reach what we grasp for. There is more…and our souls know it.

Here is the kicker: God told us that this is NORMAL. Why? Because we are not home yet.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own…longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” –(Heb. 11:13-16).

If we are to live full lives in the world as it is, we must learn to live for the world as it will be.  We are not settlers, we are pilgrims. When we forget that, life has a way of  ‘un-settling’ us.

Living unsettled means we resist the subtle, soul-deadening danger of our culture: letting this world and its experiences numb our longings.

Pain or pleasure; success or failure; abundance or lack–this world is designed to make us forget our homesickness. The culture we live in lets us mask or anesthetize the deeper desires of our hearts but it urges us to avoid at all costs the experience of this eternal separation anxiety.

But we are made for more and our souls cannot forget that. So we choose every day to be un-settled.


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