The Gift of a Life of Substance

Steel bridge

Steel Bridge - Photo by Monica Beck

At what level do you find yourself living life most of the time? My guess is that the majority of us have come to live a large part of our lives on a rather shallow and superficial level. If we are in touch at all with the deeper thoughts, feelings and emotions of our heart, those things are probably rarely shared, if ever, with anyone else. Most of us have learned to either deny, ignore, dismiss, privatize, store, or compartmentalize those things that reside at the very core of our being. And the reasons we do so are varied yet common among us.

It is my conviction, however, this deeper level is the one from which we were meant to live, at least in some significant expression of our life. Connecting with another human being at this level is the essence of intimacy. It really is something we all hunger for…..something we were designed for. Without it, a very significant part of what it means to be human is missing.

That’s one reason why I find the Psalms in Scripture so fascinating on one hand and appealing on the other. Fascinating in the sense they appear so foreign to where many of us live our life…..appealing, because they strike a distant cord in our heart beckoning us to a deeper level of experience. Deep is calling to deep.

The Psalms were written by those who were in touch with the feelings and longings of their heart and were uninhibited in making them known. They wrote unabashedly about their fears, questions, inner wrestling and struggles, while at the same time revealed amazing insight into the nature, essence and goodness of God which could only come from first hand experience. These individuals knew what it meant to live life at a deeper level and as a result have passed down an incredible gift of substance for us who are beneficiaries of their writings.

From my angle, one reason we moderns tend to live life on the more superficial level is because we have buried the art of reflection in the busyness and noise of techno-laden, stimuli-filled modern living. There simply are too many things to distract, attract, entertain, and fill up every waking moment of our days. Hardly ever do we slow down long enough, or turn off the external stimuli to give much serious thought or attention to what’s going on inside, how we are doing, what might make our life more satisfying, or any other musing that could potentially drive us to a deeper level of living. And even if we are periodically successful at shutting off the exterior noise, the interior voices continue to rattle away uncensored.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to another person is a life of substance….one that is marked by a depth of content and character that has arisen out of a personal wrestling with the harder and more difficult issues of the heart and questions of life. It is a life marked by a passionate pursuit of God which has resulted in coming to know him intimately, not through a book, but in person. It is a life that has intentionally chosen to pursue life, and has found it, at a deeper level.

“Surely, you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” Psalm 51:6