Searching for answers

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.” -Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

My thoughts for the night. Human experience is like a good novel, woven through with character development and conflict. Or more logically, a good novel is like human experience. To succeed, an author must strike a chord in thousands or millions of readers. Must find a commonality that resonates. On a basic level, we are all united by conflict and questioning.

Sometimes the questioning seems horrible. Living with unresolved questions threatens to tear a person apart. Why? Or How? What if? When? Those times relate to the quote above from the book Blue Like Jazz, which I just finished reading tonight. We need answers. We need change. We need them now. If life is a novel, we’re ready to sprint to the resolution. The conflict, the limbo, is just so darn tiring. Bring on the happily ever after. But life doesn’t cater to our needs. Eventually we discover our “needs” are actually just wants. Life doesn’t always deliver, but we go on living. And eventually we do change. Answers do arrive, usually unexpectedly.

I read a theology book a month or so ago that claimed human existence is centered on curiosity. Because we are finite beings existing within limits, we will always have questions. Every answer leads to another question, takes us deeper into a mystery, fuels our curious desire to learn and grow. No one can ever have the answers to everything. That’s why know-it-alls are so darn annoying. Because, of course, they really don’t know it all.

It’s kind of a fresh perspective on human limitations and questions. Curiosity is our motivator. The questioning is not so horrible after all. What would we do if we had all the answers? We would go stagnant. There would be nothing more to look forward to. Nothing greater than ourselves and our knowledge. Some people believe that is the case now, but that seems like ignorance to me.  Will our knowledge, our technology, our pursuit of something deeper and greater ever end? I don’t think so. Not until the world ends.

The quest for answers doesn’t have to fill us with emptiness, though it often does. It is an enrichment. The very longing and yearning keep us from losing all purpose and forward momentum. They might drive us nearly crazy, but that’s exactly what we need to stay passionate. And if you believe that there is something greater than all our knowledge and our existence, some ultimate source of all human striving, there is great hope in it.

I offer God as the answer, the something greater, the ultimate source that we all strive towards. So many people go through life miserable because they are banging their heads against walls striving in the wrong direction. They’re embracing all the wrong answers. I’m not claiming to be above it, because I’m not. I strive in the wrong direction all the time. Everyone does. We’re easily wooed by the wrong answers. They sure look nice. No one knows everything about God. I think a lot of people have a problem with Christianity because of Christians’ tendancy to be know-it-alls. I hope I don’t come off that way. It’s one of the wrong directions that’s very alluring. We say that God is the answer, and since we know God, we feign to know all answers to everything. It’s vanity and foolishness. Knowing God does not make you God. We’re in the striving process, on the quest of humanity alongside everyone else.

Humanity, we don’t have all the answers yet. Here’s an idea. Let’s help each other out more. Listen to each other (I think we’ve almost completely forgotten how, myself included), love each other. We need the kind of pure love that can only come through humility. And never give in to the temptation to give up on answers. Sometimes the questions are so overwhelming, we go stagnant with apathy. It’s one of my greatest downfalls.

As an afterthought: I get obsessed with my blog stats sometimes and try to think what kind of posts people will want to read. But I don’t mind much in the end, because I really want this blog to be whatever I want it to be. Isn’t that the beauty of the Internet? Enough room for everyone to have a mouthpiece. If you happen to read it, all the better. Leave a comment.


About Nicole

Daughter of God, wife, mother, volunteer youth leader, substitute teacher, aspiring writer, rabbit owner, nature lover. These are some of my titles.
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7 Responses to Searching for answers

  1. Anonymous says:

    If the only thing we have is on this earth what a frightful existence. Tick, tick, tick the ultimate end gets closer and closer. I can see why non-believers bang their heads against the wall.

    Just something to ponder for all those know it alls: What is one the other side when you reach the end of the universe? How can God have no beginning?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I blog too, so I know what’s like to worry about blog stats, but the best thing you can do is ignore them. Being genuine makes you much more interesting to read. Maybe you won’t reach as many people, but the people you do reach will be closer to you.

    I agree with you on novels being like the human experience, and I think the best novels have characters you can understand and strive to emulate. Personally, I always wanted to be like the old man from the old man and the sea.

    I absolutely agree with you on Christianity. Christians have become too isolated, and have lost the desire to understand others. I could go on forever about this, but I like to be short, so I’ll just say that if the new testament was written today. Jesus wouldn’t have helped the lepers. He’d have just told them they got lepresy because they’re sinners. What if it wasn’t God that struck them with lepresy? What if they weren’t bad people? In a lot of cases Christians are assuming negative things.

    Anyways, I like what you’re doing, and you should continue doing it. Yes, life gets hard sometimes, but it’s better to face your problems then recoil from them. When the old man’s hand cramped did he give up? No he ate a little bit of dolphin and used his other hand. And when sharks started eating his marlin did he give up? Not right away, he fought them until it was hopeless. And when he brought home the skeleton he still had the boys respect, and that’s all that mattered.

    I’m goofing off a bit, but what I’m trying to say is good luck on your journey.

  3. Nicole says:

    I haven’t read the Old Man and the Sea. Or I probably read it in high school and have forgotten it now. But I get what you’re saying.
    The problem with Christians trying to represent God is that we’re not God, so we tend to mess things up pretty badly. I think Christians have a lot to apologize for. I know I do. But people always mess up, no matter who you are. That’s why forgiveness is such a big deal. It keeps giving us chances to improve ourselves and do better.

  4. Nicole says:

    PS- The tag “quest” has automatically generated some really random possibly related links…They’re not related. Haha.

    Consequently, I have removed the “quest” tag. Maybe that will bring up better links.

  5. piggyy says:

    Well I agree that Christians can sometimes mess things up, but I don’t thing they necessarily have something to apologize for. I don’t really like the word forgiveness. It implies judgment. Most of the time people aren’t making enormous mistakes they’re just being human. I am an action person, so I don’t condone beating yourself up about things because it can make you ineffective. Christians worry a lot about forgiveness and sometimes that’s a good thing, but most of the time the best thing you can do for others is understand them on their own terms.

  6. Nicole says:

    Sometimes accepting judgment* from others is a necessary first step, as long as it is constructive criticism that will help me work to improve myself. No one’s perfect, so it’s important to always strive to better yourself. I don’t mean beating yourself up. The point of forgiveness is that it’s over and done and you don’t have to feel bad. But you can learn from it and mature with your experiences and little successes and failures.

    *I don’t know if judgment is the right word, because the person giving constructive criticism should do it from a viewpoint that they are also human and not better than you. Only God has the right to judge, and luckily he worries a lot about forgiveness, too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think we mainly disagree on semantics. I want to differentiate forgiveness from understanding. Forgiveness seems condescending to me unless I ask for it. When I think of forgiveness I think of missionaries coming in and demanding change. “You’re a heathen, but you can be saved” kind of stuff. When I think of understanding I think of Mother Teresa just helping people because it’s the right thing to do.

    I guess I understand that it’s nice to hear from other people that you are a good person, but at the same time I think you should be able to rationally analyze who you are, and know that on your own. If you’re truly dedicated to being a good person then other people will know it. I guess it’s about being an action person again. I think people should judge me on my actions alone, and I shouldn’t have to try and convince anyone of anything.

    I agree that we’re not perfect and bettering yourself is important, but I think it’s much harder than you say. Sometimes I feel like the guy in the last scene of A Farewell to Arms, you know when his wife just died, and he’s walking alone in the rain. It’s hard sometimes to assess how something’s a success or failure. A lot of times there’s a little bit of success and a little bit of failure in the same thing, and it’s hard to tell which dominates. I am trying to think of that Dylan quote I think it’s: “There’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all.” That about sums it up. There’s some sort of paradox there. I guess that’s why we can’t be know it alls. I guess all you can really do is try and take the best out of every situation, and have faith that eventually everything will work out.

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