For some people the longing for “something more” seems so out of reach, and everyone else seems so content that they simply try to make the best of what is and fall into a spiritual stagnation that leaves them unfulfilled. For others, they can’t seem to abate the longing. Try as they might to ignore it, knowing the cost of following it is great, but it continues to grow and invite them down the road less traveled. What’s the difference? Why do some people go on this journey and others content themselves with an unfulfilling status quo?
I’m not sure why some don’t leave… I’m not sure if (1) they don’t understand Gods love, and how to live by faith, (2) some might prefer their comfort zone with friends who can be their safety net when they are down and out, (3) for some it might be pride, and (4) some might be overly emotionally attached to their position.
For me, when I learned about Gods love, living by faith and following the Holy Spirit, it changed everything… and I also found that it was the main thing the church leadership seemed to be fighting against.
Thank God that He rescued me and revealed His love to me.
I stayed for a Long time because I was raised to believe that “Christians Do Church.” The whole Hebrews 10 thing. I am a Questioner since birth. Calvinism does not encourage Questions. Do as I say because I AM a Man of God and I KNOW what’s best for you. Turns out Calvinism isn’t alone… I tried - Oh So Hard to just be quiet- get involved, don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t look up. That pain inside didn’t go away- It got worse. Took decades- literally- for me to start thinking maybe I wan’t totally defective, maybe the Problem wasn’t me. I finally left before the last shreds of my faith were destroyed. Broke my heart to do it, because it meant I was giving up Hope for SomeThing better. What I have learned since is that in letting go of the hope that what I needed could be found in a man-made institution, I was being freed up to find Everything I need in SomeOne. In my 60s, I am Finally learning to be me, without constantly shoving me under a confomity cloak, without feeling an almost Constant need to apologize.
I would suggest that the “something more” is the inner longing for Him that He placed in us when he created us. Nothing (exegesis no thing) of the temporal realm, money fame, whatever, can replace that. Especially religious form and the like.
I think of Robin Williams death by suicide. Sure, the medical community invented some medical mystical diagnosis to cover the real reason he lost the will to live. IMHO, he had it all and was still empty. All the rich people I have known have inner poverty.
I believe it was Philip Yancey’s “Soul Survivor” which I read some time ago that brought this point out profoundly and with great impact. For me it was a game changer.
Lastly, spiritual poverty can become a form of personal identity, “that’s just who I am or how things are”. I think of a person who has spent their life in a physically disabled state, maybe in a wheel chair or the like. A new breakthrough in medical science makes it possible for them to live a life without the chair.
Amazingly, many would resist that, mainly because they have come to believe that there is no other way. Getting up and out of that wheelchair is just too big of a hurdle, requiring just to much effort, too big a change, threatening in some way, etc.
People in emotional wheelchairs are no different. See John 5: 5 - 8. They have excuses as to why they are the way they are and why nothing can be done about their situation.
Paul in Winnipeg