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  • Katie Smith

I Hate it, but I Love it

“I hate it, but I love it.” My husband and I frequently use this quip, mocking an old workout DVD. The infamous trainer quotes it referencing his intense relationship with a ten-minute abdominal exercise.

My preteen used this same poignant phrase for how he feels about our current lifestyle.

“I hate it, but I love it!”

While he was jokingly joining our satire, he finally debriefed us on his feelings about our new way of living. When we asked him, "Do you like living this way?" He answered, "Yes, I do. Although, I miss the predictability of our old routine-- I like knowing what's coming every day and every week. It's kind of easier to have the same backyard and same friends, but I also really like the variety, and all the new things we do and new places we go, and new friends we meet. So I guess, I love it, and I hate it sometimes.

Welcome to the club big man!

You can be in the most beautiful place, with people you love, and all you need, but still feel frustrated. It's a duality that we all face: the struggle between flesh and spirit, between heart and mind, between sin and satisfaction.

Dissatisfaction in our current circumstances happens when we are not satisfied with God-- we are still fighting for some predictability-- for ultimate control. The ability to know what's coming and say that we had a hand in it, gives us a sense of ownership. We are conditioned to do something, to look back at our day and find satisfaction in knowing that we achieved something.

I remember having this same feeling when I first became a mother. There weren't many grand accomplishments--only diapers, laundry, dishes and other chores. As such, many new moms, myself included, sought side jobs, extra hobbies, etc.--something to take the new edge off. It's not wrong to keep busy or make the most of our time, but the struggle and error occur when our time is only valued by culturally checked boxes.

If we can't say that being a child of God and intimately trusting Him in faith is where we find our satisfaction, then we will continue to "work" for someone, even work for God, rather than enjoy Him. Joy doesn't arise from our obedience, nor does it come from working for "the kingdom." Even when others tell us we are doing a great job, the joy won't last.

You can go and do exactly what you have longed to do, and once there still feel a longing in your soul for something different. That longing is a normal part of sojourning. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers." (Psalm 39:12)

The constant tension between satisfaction in Christ and dissatisfaction with the world will always coexist. But peace doesn't have to change just because circumstances do. Our peace remains if we remain in God. If we take time to drink from the well of living water, a deep satisfaction like cold, crisp, alpine springs will soak into your bones.

If you are not intimately satisfied with Christ, nothing else will penetrate your longing. Things will pacify the urge for a while, but ultimately you'll find yourself back at the itch. The scratchy space between wanting and having. I took note of an itchiness this past week, and then I took note of my own water source. It wasn't pure, and it was left in the sun too long. Thanks be to God I can approach His grace with humility, and renew my strength, soaring, not scratching.

Hating and loving Carefully and Carelessly

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