Far Too Easily Pleased

In the year that I returned home after studying in Vancouver, my friend Karen and I led a women's Bible study. The group of girls who gathered weekly was diverse in age, interests, background, and just about everything else that distinguishes difference. But it evolved into a place where we could each air our insecurities and uncertainties openly, where we didn't expect answers, and instead were offered empathy and encouragement. It was a Safe Space.

At one meeting, Karen shared a piece of wisdom from C.S. Lewis:
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
There are few writers who are able to both shame and encourage simultaneously; in two sentences, Lewis manages to chastise our behaviour while demanding that we recognize and live up to how incredible we can be.

This is a heavy idea, that we do not demand as much of ourselves as we are capable of. And the weight of this has stuck with me for years. It's something I think about almost constantly: am I settling for less than I am designed for?

The answer is most certainly yes - because I am imperfect, because I am Fallen, because I am human and broken, because I forget that "I" is not as powerful as "we." Because asking more of yourself means asking more of other people, and because settling is infinitely easier.

But I am uncomfortable with the idea of easy. It is everything I say I want, but when ease is presented to me, I recoil. Because I am made for so much more than easy.

We are made for so much more than easy.

We are far too easily pleased.

But here's the Catch-22: I hate mud, but I know how to build mud pies, and I don't know where to even look for a map to the ocean. And the only solution I can think of is to just do the opposite.

Say words that are too Big for your Safe Space. Disagree with people you respect in the name of Goodness. Demand that the people in your life never make you feel Less.

Let the heavy feelings - sadness, inadequacy, emptiness, loneliness, failure - ruminate. Be okay with not being Okay. And then let those sorrows grow into confidence and power. And be better than Okay. Be interesting, because you are. Do not settle for Nice; demand that you are Good.

Know that you are capable of doing Brave things, and then do them.

I have come to suspect that happiness and joy are perhaps kin, but not one in the same. That we can experience happiness without being joyful. And I wonder if joy is just infinitely Bigger than happiness, and can only be achieved if we move from half-hearted creatures to whole-hearted beings.

See you at the seaside.


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