I have had a restless mind for the past few weeks as well as a troubled spirit. I feel that something grand is at my doorstep but I just can’t open the door. I have a conviction that I am only experiencing 0.1% of the richness of life and it is making me utterly dissatisfied.
How do I dive deep into that fresh rich water of life? How do I open the door and step out into the unknown – because that is what it is, I do not know what exactly I am being called to, but I feel as though staying put is not an option.
I listen to so many Desert Island Discs interviews with successful people in the public eye in Britain, almost one a day. I also read Forbes on the habits of driven people who get results, Relevant magazine for tips on relationships and how to live life as a Christian, I have been reading Genesis and about Abraham who was the father of the nations – big man he was, and I read, read, listen, look, observe, ask questions, and pray – Lord, I would do anything to be fully who you designed me to be.
Malorie Blackman, a successful author of adult fiction, was too shy to share her work at first. But after numerous times of her refusing to read her work out loud her teacher asked, ‘Malorie, do you want to be a writer?’ And she replied, “Yes, more than anything else in the world.” So her teacher said:
“Well [poop] or get off the pot!”
I loved that. What a colourful way of putting the age old saying, that I’ve written about before, that is ‘if you want something badly then just do it.’
What I have experienced while ‘on the pot’ – where I have been for quite a while, is actually sorrow. I know it might sound shocking but this is how I feel and recently it has been magnified. I often feel an intense sorrow.
I am of the belief that sorrow is a tremendously important and telling emotion. Sorrow is the spirit telling us that something is phenomenally wrong, or off balance, or misplaced. I have come to appreciate sorrow so much that during the times when I do not experience it at all I worry. And that makes me think – am I not able to be happy?
But I feel lucky to be so sorrowful. I believe that I am able to empathise and to experience the weightiness of the world and to carry it together with those who are severely burdened. I believe that I have no choice but to carry it in some way or the other and that as long as I live my life for myself only, I will only experience sorrow in the heart-breaking sort of way.
Because, from what I have read and heard from Francis Chan and Mother Teresa, sorrow can lead you to your destruction or to your destiny.
Mother Teresa said that although God had given her tremendous joy and that she was so deeply in love with Jesus from a young age that her heart was on fire, she felt a perpetual sense of sorrow. This sorrow was juxtaposed with her joy and also, from what I understand, pivotal to her experiencing the heights of joy that she did through her service to others and to her God.
Francis Chan is such a powerful speaker. In his talk on Experiencing the Presence of God’s Spirit he talked about a lot of juicy things. One thing was Luke chapter 18 in which Jesus told a rich man to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor.
Luke 18:23 says “When he heard these things he became very sad for he was extremely rich.” He was sad because he couldn’t walk away from all of his stuff and his really amazing life. The rich guy was actually overcome by an overwhelming sorrow. And he had the option of either remaining with that sorrow for the rest of his life, knowing that God Himself had revealed to him what was behind his door and the secret to how he would receive the full riches of the heavenly kingdom. Or he could have allowed that sorrow to lead him to repentance, to encourage and strengthen him to open the door, to step out in faith and to give up everything he had in order to gain ‘67 fold’ from God.
Francis calls the first sorrow deathly sorrow and the second Godly sorrow.
If you don’t believe in God or are not sure, this is still relevant to you because what Jesus did with that rich man was that he revealed something grand to him that he then knew was the truth and was his calling, but the greatness of it overwhelmed him with deathly sorrow.
I know that there are so many people out there that feel moved to do something big, to do what they do in a big way, to be really successful, to be excellent, to be great at what they do, to win a marathon like my friend Becky Wade did last weekend or to work at Google, the supposedly best place to work, ever, to change the world, to give back, to help and serve people, to do something meaningful with their lives. A grand calling to not just be, but to be with a purpose.
Yet so many let the sorrow of what they must give up and what they must face eat away at them and tear them apart, to kill their spirits.
Instead, why not recognise how powerful such an experience of immense sorrow is and how lucky we are to have it, to be forced to stand up for something, to figure things out, to be more than just average? How lucky we are to be called to something bigger?
And how highly rewarded those people will be who respond to that calling and turn that deathly sorrow into a sorrow that brings life!
I pray for the courage to open that door and to dive headfirst, eyes closed into the immense richness that is life.
I pray that you too, if you are experiencing the same thing, will have this courage.