“Awake my soul, for you were meant to meet your maker.” – Mumford & Sons
We are not meant to live life in grayscale.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you’re just going through the motions every day. Life can certainly seem like one long exhale. Go to work, pay the bills, make sure the kids do their homework. Recycle. Repeat.
But what if there was more available to us?
Do you ever read a line in a book and feel something move deep inside your heart? Or watch a scene in a movie that stirs something within you in such a way that you lose yourself just for a moment?
Aragorn poises himself, sword in hand, as the dark minions of Mordor storm through the gate. He turns to his companions, well outnumbered by the enemy, and smiles, tears in his eyes. “For Frodo…” he says before turning to face what may be their final battle.
Merida escapes her parent’s castle on horseback. She is in search of something bigger than the life her mother, the Queen, is preparing her for. She wants mystery and adventure, and when the sprites lead her to the little cottage in the middle of the woods, she opens the door and finds that adventure is indeed waiting for her, although it’s not quite what she had in mind.
These scenes awake something in us, because we too long for something more than cleaning toilets and changing diapers. Adventure. Danger. Companionship. We will gladly pay the price of admission in order to be swept away, even if its only for a couple of hours. A billion dollar industry has been built on these movies plucking at the strings of our heart, one scene at a time.
We live in a world of shadow, and yet there is still a piece of Eden in our hearts. It’s there to remind us that we were meant for something more. This is not our permanent state. Eden calls to us, and it almost seems like a cruel joke when we compare our ordinary, mundane lives to the desire this awakens in our hearts.
How we respond is so incredibly important.
Sometimes we try to carve out our own little slice of Paradise. We seek to control the uncontrollable. We vacation in exotic places like Hawaii and Fiji, or we immerse ourselves in fantasy novels or video games that transcend our existence and offer something extraordinary. Some of us try to ignore the call of Eden altogether, or at least seek to quiet its voice. We turn to temporary vices that offer a form of relief but in the end enslave us through addiction. Illicit sex, drugs, alcohol and pornography have destroyed many lives seeking to fill a void in their soul.
Paradise was lost and we live in a world under siege. But that is precisely why Jesus came.
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 (NASB)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)
We are meant to live in color. There is a joy available that many of us don’t yet know because we are wrapped up with chasing after life instead of experiencing it. And some of us are simply drowning.
I don’t mean to sound flippant or to dismiss the hardness of life. This world can be callused and many of us have experienced terrible things. Evil is abundant and hellbent on destroyig everything that was intended to be good. Our story is one fraught with pain and loss. I know this all too well.
But Friends, this is exactly why we need to be intentional with our hearts. We are promised that one day all things will be restored. Paradise will be ours again, and we will no longer live as a shadow of ourselves. This is how our story ends! Creation restored and made whole again. This is the hope that not only will guide us through these dark days but offer us the ability to let go of the things outside of our control.
Our perspective changes when we allow the hope of restoration to permeate our hearts. There is joy to be found in each day. Adventure. Friendship. Danger, yes. But we are not left to face it alone.
I enjoy walking through our grove of hardwood trees, listening to the wind rush through their long arms, reaching toward the sky. They are all barren now, and the wind that whistles through them is crisp. Winter is settling in, and even though I know the days ahead will be cold and dark, I also know that spring isn’t that far away.
In the wind I can hear the promise of God. In the crunch of the leaves underneath my feet. In the sting of the air across my face. I am alive. There are things that need to be tended to. Broken things. There are things that need to be done. Responsibilities. But I also have a responsibility to my own heart, and in these moments I am reminded that I was made for more than what I often settle for.
I will allow my soul to awake, and I will acknowledge that paradise is calling to me. I will listen, but I won’t seek to control it. I will not fill my life with things or lose myself in the pursuit of temporary pleasures. I will pursue my creator instead, because that is the road I was meant to follow. Paradise will be restored, and learning to walk with God is the way I will embrace it. And I will seek to live life to the fullest, because that is what has been promised unto me. And I will seek to love with a fierce determination that will not only fill my own soul but awaken others.
So now awake, my soul.