Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

A blog by Josh Humbert

Pretty Disturbing

“Maybe we’ve been living with our eyes half open,
Maybe we’re bent and broken. Broken.
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside.”

Meant to Live—Switchfoot

Yeah, I’m giving you a heads-up….

There is a question coming just a few lines down from here that may challenge you to think a little deeper for a minute or two. There is no getting around it, no sugar-coating this, no church-answer allowed, no faking permitted. This question will require some gut-level honesty on your part.

If you are reading this and you haven’t stopped yet, I’ll just tell you that this question has hung around in my head, haunting me in a good way, for the past couple weeks. So know that whatever I write here, I write for myself as well as for others. This question has forced me to evaluate things more critically, and I sincerely hope I can bring the same urgency to it for you.

So brace yourself. This will challenge you (and me) and it is a bit of a longer writing (so you need a couple minutes to read this). And if you are ready to go deeper for a couple moments, go ahead and read the question below.

What does it take to satisfy you?

Seriously, take a minute and try to lay aside thoughts of dinner plans, work schedules, school work, family things, and the many things that pry at your thoughts and be still for a moment.

And ask yourself………honestly….No, not just honestly, but like, look-yourself-in-the-mirror-honesty, yeah, that kinda honesty…..and really, ask yourself this question:

“What does it take to satisfy me?”

Go ahead, read it outloud to your self (assuming you are not in a public place where talking to yourself outloud may affirm other’s suspicions that you are, indeed, crazy).

“What does it take to satisfy me?”

Here are a couple of other questions that go with the main question: Ask these as well:
Where are you going to be filled?
Where do you take your longings for life? (Not just longings for “excitement”, but REAL LIFE!)
When do you feel alive and what are you doing? (not just “happy” but Alive)
What brings joy to you on a deeper level?
What really MATTERS to you?

“What does it take to satisfy me?”

And you can’t duck this question. Everyone answers this question everyday. Simone Weil has this phenomenal quote about the human hunger for satisfaction:
“The danger is not lest the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but lest, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.”

See, the reality is, we all seek satisfaction somewhere. We ARE HUNGRY. But where do we take that hunger? What fills you up? Or have you bought the “lie?” The Lie that says you aren’t really hungry. Where do you fit in here?

Do I have you thinking deeper yet? Let me continue. Don’t stop reading yet. Please. “I neeeeed a minute”—-some of you know what I’m talking about here.

A few weeks ago, leading up to a church-wide fast, Pops brought this question up in a sermon. Like I mentioned earlier, it has haunted me since. What does it take to satisfy me?

Let’s keep going here….let’s hear from some other people on this issue.

I know I’ve referenced this C.S. Lewis quote before (as have many other people), but I’ll present it here as it pertains to the question that I’ve put on the table for you. Here are his thoughts:

“Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us……We are far too easily pleased.”

Agree? Are we far too easily pleased?

Are you satisfied in a relationship that, for now may feel good, but deep down, you know is not where you need to be? Is it the distractions of work or school that you bury yourself in? Maybe you can’t find real life in your own life and so you stay consumed with the drama of your friends lives or even worse, some hokey poorly acted TV show? Is it getting totally sauced on the weekend, so that you can’t even remember what happened?

Is this where you are going for satisfaction?

Is it sports? Is it video games? Is it an Internet Beauty? Is it the movies? Is it politics? Is it a substance? Is it sex? Is it achievement? Is it failure? Where do you go for satisfaction? And….if I may ask another question…………..Are you satisfied there?

Are you and I too easily pleased?

“Stranger than your sympathy
This is my apology
I’m killing myself from the inside out
And all my fears have pushed you out
I wish for things that I don’t need
All I wanted
And what I chase won’t set me free”
Sympathy— Goo Goo Dolls

Will the thing you chase (your satisfaction) set you free? Do you wish for things that you don’t need? Does it really satisfy on a deeper level? Honestly, there are many things (like what I mention in the things above) that satisfy me for a short time, but that satisfaction is fleeting.

The famous and controversial poet, Walt Whitman, had this to say:
“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”

Ah yes….now we get somewhere. But what is it that satisfies the soul?

Is it riches and fame? Can’t be, with all the messed up celebrities running around. Have you read the paper lately???

Is it sex? Proverbs answers this perfectly in 27:19 “The eyes of man are never satisfied.” Think of what happened to some of the “sex symbols” of their generation: Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears.

What’s interesting is that you can arrive at the answer to question of “what satisfies the soul?” from a backwards perspective. You can look and see how terribly, and sadly, unsatisified some people are when they try to get satisfaction somewhere else. C.S. Lewis says this, “What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring.”

Let me see if I can summarize it all up to this point:
So essentially, the list of things that truly satisfy the soul (what we are ALL seeking in some way) is short (only 1 thing) and the sad reality is that we all try to substitute other smaller satisfactions. These smaller satisfactions will never work and therefore, also shows us that the smaller satisfactions are not what we are searching for in the first place.

Interesting perspectives on the question. There are tons more I’m sure you can add (and please do add any that you like in the comments section. Great lyrics, movie lines, book quote, whatever ya got, I’d love to hear them).

So what’s the point?

Well, I think the point will vary on how you can evaluate your life and what you value. You HAVE to answer the question, and so do I. Every day. Are you satisfied too easily? Are you ok with living with your eyes half open? And, maybe worst of all…….do you know the truth that what you are chasing is NOT satisfying? And even still, you are ok with that?

“What does it take to satisfy me?”

When I answer that question sincerely, I seem to find myself in agreement with Lewis in that I am far too easily pleased. Too often, I left the smaller stuff rob me of the Real Thing. The challenge is to rise above that and search harder and more earnestly for what really satisfies. What satisfies my soul is my relationship, my worship, my praise, my prayer, and my listening to God. He is my Savior, my King, and ultimately, He alone satisfies. Period.

I certainly don’t have all the answers here and I’m challenging myself with this writing too….but maybe some words from a real pirate (YES! This guy was considered by some to be a pirate. But kinda in a robin hood-good-bad-guy type way) will help us.

Here is a prayer by Sir Francis Drake. My prayer is that as you consider the question, you also consider the words of this man. In his words, I hear the echoes of my own heart. It is a good prayer to pray. It is a good starting point for all of us. May his words haunt you, in a holy way.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
I tell you what……I’ll take this dude in my boat over Jack Sparrow ANY DAY!

This guy gets it.

I pray you do too. I pray that you and I both are disturbed out of our smaller satisfactions. Don’t get full on the junk that will never fill you up. Let’s be hungry for the only thing that satisfies. Let’s be searching for the Life the Father offers. Let’s not be satisfied with what won’t last.

In closing, recall what Peter said to Jesus when Jesus asked if the disciples were going to leave. This was kind’ve like a “are you in or out moment” for the disciples and the exchange happens in John 6:67-69

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Peter got it right. No one else has the words of eternal life. No one and no other thing can satisfy for eternity. Where else are you going to go with your satisfaction?

“This time, all I want is You.
There is no one else
who can take Your place.
This time You burn me with Your eyes,
You see past all the lies.
You take it all away.
I’ve seen it all, and it’s never enough.
It keeps leaving me needing You.
Take me away, Take me away.
I’ve got nothing left to say.”
Take Me Away— Lifehouse


As always, thanks for reading. Love to hear your feedback, comments, additions, etc.

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2008 by in Uncategorized.

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