Monday, February 21, 2011

How full is our love tank, and who or what do we trust to fill it? (edited version)


Why do the longings of our heart never cease?  We love and lose, only to love again.  Or we love, and keep loving, only never to be really fulfilled by that which we love.  We're made with a love tank, it seems, and its need to be filled.  Like my kids, I grieve when things that bring me temporary happiness are gone.  Therein lies the rub, huh?  I tend to focus more on that which is temporal rather than that which is eternal.  I spend more time thinking about ___.  Fill in the blank with whatever your heart desires...fame, fortune, sex, food, perfection, status, toys, bigger-better-newer-faster toys, the perfect golf swing, the perfect kid, the position, the club, to be "in" instead of "out" of the "in" whatever the "in" is at the moment as far as you know for right now, etc.  The list goes on.  Don't get me wrong.  I think God wants us to find pleasure with things in our lives, but with a proper perspective.  When will I realize that the "things" I  allow into my love tank are there for my temporary enjoyment, not my ultimate fulfillment?   With passionate devotion, why don't I cling to the one where love itself finds its source?

I'm weak to temptation and arrogant about doing life my way.   Still, my heart gravitates to so many things that won't fulfill my love tank.  They won't, because they can't.  We claim things, they don't claim us.  The fact is, "things" don't endure because "things" have no obligation to us.  We bring the things into our world.  How ironic is it that God began his redeeming relationship with his people not with a proposition, but with a promise.  "I will be your God."  He committed Himself to us!  In spite of ourselves, He claims us.  I need to trust my fulfillment to come from the one who promises to be my portion. Out of gratitude, I should faithfully cling to the author of my being who promises to never leave me nor forsake me.  My love tank was created to be filled, ultimately fulfilled, by the very one who created it.  Maybe if I meditated more on the spiritual rather than the temporal longings of my heart, I'd actually be more free to love!  My ultimate fulfillment wouldn't be contingent upon the existence or absence of something or someone that isn't constituted to meet that need.

God's presence creates a fulfilling love that produces a peace that passes all understanding.  He keeps and completes His promises.  That gives me hope.  Our heart longs for that presence because His love is the only love that has no end.  He doesn't leave us, because He can't.  We exist in His world.  How full is our love tank, and who or what do we trust to fill it?  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What fills my love tank and are there any floaters?

My daughter came into my room with her eyes filled with tears and her chin drooping with the weight of sadness.  The reality set in when she heard her own voice saying what she knew but didn't want to believe. "Something sad happened. Bella died!"  She was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of a fish that I forgot even existed.  My little girl was experiencing the pain of losing something she loved.  Bella's existence filled Laurian's heart with happiness.  She filled her love tank, so to speak.  Upon finding poor Bella floating belly up, she no longer had the presence of dear Bella.  Now her tacky little fish tank was representative of her heart.  It was less full.

Life throws some mean punches, doesn't it?  To unleash our emotions and cling to something or someone is as natural as breathing.  Yet toys deteriorate, metal gets dented, electronics fall into the toilet and have technical difficulties, someone tries to revive it by baking it in the oven and it suffers irreparable damages (oops...only trying to help, honey), and we are flawed and will be on both the giving and receiving ends of hurt and disappointment.  Yet longing, loving is never an option is it?  Why does the yearning never cease?  We love and lose, only to love again.  Or we love, and keep loving, only never to be really fulfilled by that which we love.  We're made with a love tank, it seems, and its need to be filled.  Like my daughter, I grieve when things that bring me temporary happiness are gone.  Therein lies the rub, huh?  I tend to focus more on that which is temporal rather than that which is eternal.  I spend more time thinking about ___.  Fill in the blank with whatever your heart desires...fame, fortune, sex, food, perfection, status, toys, bigger-better-newer-faster toys, the perfect golf swing, the perfect kid, the position, the club, to be "in" instead of "out" of the "in" whatever the "in" is at the moment as far as you know for right now, etc.  The list goes on.  My latest obsession is mid-century modern furniture, and I'm in total sweaty-lust-love with an oval Saarinen table taking up residence in my breakfast room.  I dream about it!  I long for it!  I want to own it and love it like a wee little baby!!!  I think it will fill my love tank...and it would look absolutely fabulous!  See, I'm so short-sighted.  Don't get me wrong.  I think God wants us to find pleasure with things in our lives, but with a proper perspective.  When will I realize that the "things" I  allow into my love tank are there for my temporary enjoyment, not my ultimate fulfillment?   With passionate devotion, why don't I cling to the one where love itself finds its source?

When the punches are thrown, I'm prone to wander, though.  I'm weak to temptation and arrogant about doing life my way.   Still, my heart gravitates to so many things that won't fulfill my love tank.  They won't, because they can't.  We claim things, they don't claim us.  The fact is, "things" don't endure because "things" have no obligation to us.  We bring the things into our world.  How ironic is it that God began his redeeming relationship with his people not with a proposition, but with a promise.  "I will be your God."  He committed Himself to us!  In spite of ourselves, He claims us.  I need to trust my fulfillment to come from the one who promises to be my portion. Out of gratitude, I should faithfully cling to the author of my being who promises to never leave me nor forsake me.  My love tank was created to be filled, ultimately fulfilled, by the very one who created it.  Maybe if I meditated more on the spiritual rather than the temporal longings of my heart, I'd actually be more free to love because my ultimate fulfillment wouldn't be contingent upon the existence or absence of a dead, floating fish, for example.

Just as Bella's presence created a (temporary) sense of happiness for my daughter, God's presence creates a fulfilling love that produces a peace that passes all understanding.  He keeps and completes His promises.  That gives me hope.  Our heart longs for that presence because His love is the only love that has no end.  He doesn't leave us, because He can't.  We exist in His world.  I like word pictures, so I'm going to visualize my love tank as if it's that tacky little fish tank.  How full is my love tank, and who or what do I trust to fill it?  I need to slow down and examine its contents, the desires of my heart, more often.  I'm sure I'll find some floaters.




Friday, February 4, 2011

What legacy are we passing on to our children?

This is an excerpt from Sacred Parenting, written by Gary Thomas

     Our search for significance can become really pathetic, like two kids fighting over a broken toy.  Now that his season home run record has been broken, how long will people remember Roger Maris?  Who was the senior vice president of General Motors in 1975?  In 1983?  Who were the two senators from Virginia in 1910?  Who pastored the largest church in America in1935?  What are the names of those who climbed Mount Everest in 1991?  Who was the top fashion designer in 1954?
     Few of us could answer more than one or two of these questions, and yet these sorts of people are the ones who most often earn profiles in USA Today and the most popular magazines and on television programs.  Children teach us the profound and simple message that what popular society values most grows irrelevant and even comical when confronted by the inexorable weight of history.  What often gets our least attention - a heritage of faith - is the only thing we actually leave behind.