"When we define our happiness by some point in the future, it will never arrive." I read this recently in a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye (how about that for a title?) by Joshua Harris, and it really struck home. He goes on: "We'll keep waiting until tomorrow. If we allow impatience to govern us, we will miss the gift of the moment. We'll arrive at that point in time we expected to provide fulfillment and find it lacking." I'm an expert at escapism, a professional when it comes to daydreams. I look forward to events and times in my future with an eager desire for that which I don't have right now. My next travelling excursion, for instance (whenever that is). Marriage. Children. The grand opening of my greenhouse colony on Antarctica. The publication of my book on the fascinating behavior of hungry tourists. Et cetera. I am an escapist, and proud of it.
But can escapism go too far? Is it possible to overdose on daydreams? If dwelling on the future means that I completely forget the present, then my escapism has gone too far. When I put all my energy in waiting for the Someday, I fail to serve God in the Right Now. Josh Harris was making this point in terms of romantic relationships, but this concept of contentment, of serving the Lord no matter what time, could be applied to lots of areas in my life, not just to romance. There is a season for everything. Summer is on its way in all its sunshine and green-grass glory, but if we sit around in the basement waiting for winter to be over, we'll miss the beauty of the snow.
I find myself face to face with the ugly side of me, the side I don't want anyone to see. I try to hide this ugliness even from myself, but I know it is there. I know my temptations and how easily they come. But the moment I realize this, I see the grace of God, making me free. When I recognize my sin (yes, I just said the S-word), then I can completely understand forgiveness. Only when I hate my sin, hate myself, that is when I really love Jesus. When I am up to my neck in sorrow, that is when I know the fullness of joy.
"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." ~ Psalm 23:6