There are several people I keep in regular contact with via e-mail. I originally wrote the letter that follows in 2003 to them. I am including that letter and the comments I received back on the blog because I still believe that these feelings of “inner restlessness” are universal, if you happen to stumble across this post, maybe there will be something here that “clicks”. DM
I am looking for some insight. Those of you with whom I interact on a regular basis are in a very real sense my on-line “small group” One of the benefits of good friendships is that people can give and receive specfic input. I would like some help with a specific issue.
I’ve been a Christian since 1980. I’ve enjoyed a vibrant and fulfilling relationship with God for most of that time. I have been happily married for twenty three years. I enjoy my job, have a fulfilling ministry and yet, there are times when I still have this “longing” or “craving” inside for something. I suspect that somehow it is something God can and should be able to meet.
Certain things have a way of quenching it for a moment. Yet, very soon I am conscious of it again. Do you have any idea what it is? If someone were to come to me with this question, I would suspect maybe they still haven’t found God.
Food will quiet this gnawing; so will some good conversation. I love my job and don’t sense this restlessness during the day. It is only when I have some free time on my hands. It is not a constant thing either, it comes and goes. I thought maybe if I asked each of you, some of you might be able to identify what it is and offer some suggestions. Maybe it’s just part of the human condition. Did I mention that this is not something I’ve only observed recently? I’ve been aware of it for years. It is not depression. I know- I’ve been there too. Well , now that you’ve discovered I don’t have it all together, let me know what it is I’m looking for. Thanks for your help! DM.
Two weeks later…here are some of the highlights of the notes I received. Virtually, everyone that replied shared that this longing was something each of you could relate to, especially in your quiet moments.
Here are some of your comments:
“If you’re talking about what I think you are talking about, it can also be quenched with alcohol, a video game, or shopping to name a few. I have always associated it with my sinful nature. AA (and other groups) use the acronym HALT as a reminder of times of particular danger of relapse. It stands for Hunger, Anger, Lonely, Tired. If you are careful to watch for these conditions in yourself, you can often steer yourself away from a relapse (by calling a mentor, for example)”
“When I am busy at work, I don’t seem to notice anything…but when things are slow, and I don’t have much to do then…”
“Been there, am there, am frequently there! Sometimes I think it’s just because I think I am a task-oriented person. Every minute there is nothing done is time wasted.”
“I know what you are describing. I think it has something to do with homesickness (for heaven) or a desire for the fullness of Christ’s presence.”
“As you already know, “happily married” and “fulfilling ministry” are good gifts, but are not meant to satisfy our hearts. Jesus jealously reserves that for Himself.”
“I feel the distance….our anchor (the anchor of our hearts) is thrown over into eternity, and the tug remains until we are home with Him. We will never be without that “lack” as long as we live here. He wants it that way.”
“I think what you describe is universal…”
“My guess is maybe there is an inner longing for us to be “Home” I’m not sure we will ever be completely content and satisfied here on the earth in these bodies of flesh. I find that the longing grows stronger the older I get, and I expect it to continue to grow the nearer I get to going “home.”Do I still experience these longings from time to time ? Yes, but,the “sting” has gone out of them. Your thoughts?