Early on in this Lenten journey I see that I struggle allowing emptiness to exist. I often feel that something needs to be happening and not just any something, but something great and important needs to be happening. It seems I want to be constantly occupied by something great and important and if I’m not occupied than I become pre-occupied.
And in being pre-occupied I don’t listen to people very well and I become anxiously consumed in looking for a sign.
Luke 11: 29 has something to say about those who anxiously look for a sign.
In all this I learn that I desire to be in control. That I quickly take on the image of consumer immersed in a world of consumerism. Empty space, patience while waiting, and sincere listening run contrary to the surrounding consumerism. Consumerism creates a fear of vacancy.
In general, I feel that our culture of producing and consuming creates an unhealthy sense of expectation and dissatisfaction. Yesterday, my friend Kevin, in the midst of a conversation said, “You and me, we have pretty easy lives.” And something in me resented him saying that. What I was thinking about that morning was how I didn’t sleep well the night before, how much or how little money we had in the bank, and how I was going to get our town home sold. Right then when he said that I was thinking how inconvenient my life was.
A couple hours later I read this in The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch,
“Mark Sayers, a friend of mine, has noted that one of the most alluring religious appeals of consumerism is that it offers us a new immediacy, a living alternative to what heaven has always stood for in the Judeo-Christian tradition—the fulfillment of all our longings. We have at our fingertips experiences and offerings available only to kings in previous eras. Offered “heaven now,” we give up the ultimate quest in pursuit of that which can be immediately consumed, be it a service, product, or pseudo-religious experience. Consumerism has all the distinguishing traits of outright paganism—we need to see it for what it really is.”
While in the mindset of producing and consuming, I’m continuously left wanting something more. In Christ I’m reminded of something that fully quenches. Something fulfilling.
Of a God who wishes to dwell in my emptiness.