02 September 2009

Empty... Again

I went shopping for some clothes a few days ago, it was long overdue. Everytime I get new clothes, I am reminded of how excited I used to be about it when I was a kid. My Mom would take us shopping every once in a while as need arose. I recall how excited I would be about my new clothes. But as soon as that shot of excitement rippled through my body, a feeling of deep emptiness followed it. I knew from the many other times that I'd gotten excited about new clothes that the high never lasted. As soon as I wore the clothes, I'd look in the mirror, at the brand-new-me and couldn't help but ask myself, "Is that it?", "Is this all there is?". There was nothing there.

I always wondered why I'd feel empty because I was a Christian and Christians are not supposed to feel empty because Jesus has filled them. It wasn't only clothing, but also gadgets.

I remember when we got our first video game at home. Everyone at school talked about video games but I couldn't contribute to the discussions because I never had one. One time, my parents where going to the USA for a while. I remember how my siblings and I filled a paper with items we wanted them to come back with. I remember my column had "bow and arrows" and "water guns" among many other things. Well, my parents brought me and my brother our first ever video game instead of the things listed between us. We were ecstatic. Finally, I too could have a contribution to our video game discussions in class. Unfortunately, the video game high soon left me right where I was before. The question crept up on me again, "Is this it?". "Shouldn't there be more?".

I love food! It was always great to have visitors over because we'd have a special meal. When it was time to eat, I'd be so happy but I always over ate. I remember being very disappointed when my Mom told me it was a sin. "What?! God has too much rules," I thought, "I can't even eat my fill without stepping on his toes?!" I thought to myself. But one thing I remember is that the excitement that preceded the meal, would leave me with a sinking feeling whether I had over eaten or not. There was no lasting satisfaction. That's why I always over ate. I expected more joy, more satisfaction but the amount I ate didn't quite seem to correspond with the satisfaction I derived. In the end, I had to either go to sleep lying on my back or my side because I was too full.

I soon figured it out. As a Christian, whenever I got more excited about anything else more than about God, I felt empty. I felt the way I felt before I met Jesus. I felt... empty again. Even now, when a big soccer final is coming up and all I can think of is the game and how much I'll enjoy it, I always walk away disappointed and empty. Whether its a big event coming up, like a trip or a great new gadget I've been promised like a cellphone or laptop, if that thing consumes me so much that it fades God out, I am left empty again.

Yes, even Christians get empty again. God has put a hole in man that only he can fill. Disobeying those first two commandments is sin, but it also leaves us empty. Nothing should take Gods place in our lives. If anything does, we will be left empty... again.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

~Exodus 20:3-4