Hungering for more

Yesterday, I started tearing up while reading a nonfiction book on the subway.

Think that’s a first. I would say that I’m embarrassed, but actually I’m not––in fact, I’m happy. These were not depressed, self-pitying tears, but the kind of tears that come from being deeply moved, from remembering an unfulfilled longing you used to have or a quiet despair you used to live in and realizing that the something more you were hungering for actually does exist.

The other day, I was telling a close friend about both the overflowing joy and profound loneliness I’ve been experiencing here in Korea. As I shared, I found myself confused about how good and yet how hard being here has been. Am I having a good time or a bad time? It seemed contradictory. But when my friend observed that the deep loneliness and joy were probably connected, something clicked: They are both emotions.

I’ve been opening up emotionally in a new way here, and because of that I’ve been feeling everything more fully.

But what has been happening in me is deeper than mere emotions.

When I think back to my life six months ago, survival is the word that comes to mind. I was finishing up my last semester of grad school, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, so stressed that I got a stomach ulcer.

At the time, I was aware of my anxiety about the future, but now I see that I also felt discouraged. I thought “growing up” was merely about learning to take care of myself, and that struck me as a bit depressing. I thought of my future in terms of getting a job, getting married, becoming financially independent, finding/maintaining friendships, figuring out where to live, etc, unaware that God wanted to give me so much more than that.

What is that so much more?

I’m afraid I can only barely scratch the surface in explaining, but, in short, life.

There is a hunger I have felt at various times that I always feared couldn’t be filled on this earth. I thought that asking for that longing to be fulfilled would be asking for too much. But now I am experiencing that more. It’s too much to go into all the details here, but all I can say is: Seek and you will find!

I’ve been experiencing joy and power on a whole new level. Life has been far from easy––pain and difficulty have perhaps even increased as well––but I wouldn’t go back to a life of mere survival (if that were possible) for anything. I feel alive.

And now I’m not afraid to be hungry. I have tasted and seen and press in for more.

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Elizabeth holds to simple faith in a complex world. She values the beauty of the everyday and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is currently pursuing her MDiv at Fuller Theological Seminary, so when she isn't busy writing academic papers, she is usually out enjoying the LA sunshine. She is constantly learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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