The Ache of Christian Hedonism

I hope this is coherent. . . Since I’m continuing to learn that Grown-Up Land doesn’t leave much time for extracurricular activities like “life” or “blogging”, I took the lazy girl’s route and just copied the October 14th entry in my journal. Voilà! Insta-blog!

“Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in Him.”–John Piper

I found this quote at the beginning of the month and immediately latched onto it (it sounds so dadgum holy!)

And every since I started praying it, a small but certain ache has started to grow in my spirit. Rather than feeling more satisfied, I’ve felt less so. Instead of walking around smugly content with my satisfaction in Christ, I’ve begun to yearn for him, running to the Word multiple times a day to seek him. I feel like I’m searching for something I can’t quite grasp, as though I tried to take a deep breath and my lungs caught before they were full to capacity. I have air, but it’s not quite enough. I have Christ, but I want more of him. And as I’ve grappled with this unsettling sense of disquiet, I’ve started to realize a few things.

1. My capacity for satisfaction is minuscule. I’m rendered quiet and content by a cup of chai and an early bedtime. While there’s nothing wrong with delighting in the small pleasures of life, it’s a bit complicated to fit a God-sized satisfaction into a space filled to overflowing by a cup of chai. Stretching that capacity is necessarily going to be somewhat painful.

2. My pleasure and satisfaction in Christ is not primary. The goal of delighting in Christ is Christ, not delight, and the whole thing falls flat when I begin to focus on seeking my delight instead of Christ. When I put my satisfaction, even satisfaction in Christ, at the center of my striving, I’ve lost focus of the only thing that can satisfy.

I think the ache is ok. I think it’s just a by-product of living as a sinner in a sinful world. That dull longing for something doesn’t belie the presence of contentment, joy, or peace in my life. I have hope in Christ that offers me strength, joy, and peace for today, should I appropriate it. But as my capacity for delight and satisfaction expands, so too will my awareness that I was made for much, more more than this life has to offer. While I yearn for and can taste traces of satisfaction in Christ while here on earth, I won’t be completely satiated until I’m finally with him. Yet in the meantime, I can be content and peaceful because I know that day will certainly come. And until then, I’ll keep praying that my capacity to be satisfied in him continues to expand and grow, even if that means the ache does, as well. . .I’d rather be yearning for him in light of the hope of heaven than render myself shallowly satisfied but ultimately purposeless and spiritually impotent by an underdeveloped capacity for delight.

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