I’ve been wondering recently why I sometimes feel like I’ve missed the boat, or why I feel so insecure when others don’t approve of me or my work, or how, when I hear about other people doing amazing things with their lives, it makes me often feel inferior, and like I must be getting something wrong. Because if I think about it all logically, I can clearly see that I don’t have to be like other people I know, that I should just be me, that I don’t have to feel inferior just because I’m not doing the same thing, and that those people I think have really “got it together” probably feel the same way as I do sometimes. We as people are always comparing ourselves to others, asking other people to tell us who we are, and it’s not their job. That's another blog post, though. Back to the main idea.
I know we are none of us created for this world as it is.
“There are no ordinary people. You’ve never talked to a mere mortal.” -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Even so, I function day to day as if we were, and as if this world were all there is. That makes every disappointment, every perceived failure, every comparison, every imperfect situation, more of big deal.
If I did have just one shot to get it all right, if there wasn’t anything else to look forward to, of course I would wonder if I hadn’t ruined my one chance, or compare myself to someone else I think got it right. If this was all there is, it would be quite easy for me to mess something up irrevocably, and very easy to worry that I had. I would probably have a vague sense that my life “should” be something else, even though I couldn’t tell you exactly what my life “should” be. If this is my one shot, the stakes are incredibly high, and I know I’m more than likely to fail.
And there’s always that one thing. That one thing we think (mostly subconsciously) will fix it all. We know we want—need—something, and we don’t have it. It must be_______.
But that’s not how it works. There is no one thing that will fix it all here, on this earth. It’s never going to be perfect. That’s what would make this world so disappointing, if that were all there was.
But it’s not. This world won’t ever be perfect in this life, but it will when it’s all made new. There will be more.
As disappointing as it is that this life will never be perfect, I’m glad, too. I’m glad that it isn’t up to me (or anyone or anything else in this fallen world) to make things right. I’m glad I don’t have to live up to that, and that this world, and the story I'm in, is bigger than that.
And I think that’s how I’ve been functioning. Honesty, I think that’s how most of us function. But that’s not how things actually are.
The truth is we don’t belong here, not as it is. The truth is, our life here on earth is just a fraction of our eternal lives. I’m not saying that in eternity we’ll have more time to become famous, make money, etc. I don’t think most of the things that matter to us now will matter then. But my point is if I back up a bit to look at my life in terms of eternity, most of those things I obsess about now seem tiny.
No wonder we aren’t satisfied even when we are relatively successful according to the world's standards.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” –C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity.
I’m so glad the story I’m in isn’t really as small as I act like it is.