There was some point between high school and where I find myself, where theology and religion became regularly a lot more complicated. Partially to get grades, partially to prove that I’m not simply in youth ministry for pizzas or for a short term, and partially just because I enjoy it – much of my relating to and searching for God comes at deeper levels than before.
To the point where phrases such as “everyone has a Jesus-shaped hole” began to rub me the wrong way. To sum up all that God has done and desires to do in something that so obviously falls short….shiver.
Thankfully, I’m in youth ministry AND a parent. Both things that constantly require to embrace God as a child, and as someone who desperately needs something I can grab hold of in a world that’s unstable.
Sure, statements such as “accept Jesus into your heart”, and “Jesus-shaped hole” fall short. But then again, so does the latest best seller by NT Wright, Donald Miller, or John Caputo. That’s the frustratingly beautiful aspect of the created seeking the creator. It’s an eternal endeavor, always out of reach and always compelling us to try anyway. And yes, it’s illustrated wonderfully in the topic I’ve also been spending time chewing on lately – marriage.
“I love my wife.” A simple statement that can mean anything from how I love her smile, to a deeply symbolic statement about how I appreciate the fact that we’re growing old and building a legacy together.
I think in both cases, whether in speaking of God OR in conversations about loving my spouse – it’s helpful to be aware of the heart. The motivations for the words. Like Sarah used to ask me when we were dating, and still asks from time to time when I tell her I love her – “What is making you say that in this moment?”
Truth is, there are definitely times where it is healing salve to my soul to think of myself as a Jesus-shaped donut. And then there are other times where I need something more. Thankfully, God continues to be God through any season of me…:)