Finding Whole in a World of Searching

We live in a world of searching.

We can trace this reality all the way back to that fracture in the garden, when a man and a woman chose against God's instruction as they reached out towards a forbidden fruit.  Now, what once was whole ruptured into two and thus began the search.  

Sometimes I try to imagine what it would feel like to be truly whole, what it would have been like to walk beside God in the cool of the morning in that place of paradise.  I imagine myself bursting at the seam.  This tangible overflow of everything that I was created to be would bleed out of every pore.

To be immeasurably whole, we were made for that.  Isn't that why we hunt?

A thousand times I've wrapped my own grip around that forbidden fruit.  I've sank my teeth in deep expecting my fill and yet my hunger lingered.  My fruit, it has come in many forms.  Time and time again it's changed it's form before my eyes and it whispers softly:  "this is it, just one more bite, this is going to be the one thing that will finally make you feel intact."

the shape of my body, the clarity of my skin, my husband, sex, success, likes on Instagram, monthly views on my blog, the number of stamps in my passport, my children, the clothes hanging in my closet, a Pinterest worthy home, money in the bank, the next best thing.  Desperate for my fill I've moved on and on and on.  None of these things are inherently wrong, in fact all have the potential to be immense blessings. But as we search the blessing for the chance to be whole we leave disappointed, still overwhelmed by our fractured state.

We have to look back to the Giver.  

I grew up on the Oregon Coast.  The little town of Florence, in my biased opinion has few rivals when it comes to beauty and I love that it is forever a part of my history.  Naturally, my family and I would spend a lot of time at the beach.  We'd pile into the car.  Mom, dad, three kids, and two dogs.  By the end of each trip every single crevice of the car would be filled with sand despite being told to shake out our shoes and to ride home barefoot.  Since moving away I've come to realize that a sandy car and then in turn, a sandy house is a privilege.  Not everyone gets to grow up just minutes from the ocean.

That's not the point of this story though, what I really want to talk about is sand dollars.  Along my part of the Pacific, sand dollars aren't really that difficult to spot but they are almost always broken.  But no one goes to the beach to look for broken sand dollars, the goal is to find them rare and whole.  I was never very good at it but my mother, she was a pro!  I'm not kidding, we would have competitions and while the rest of us would get back to the car empty handed she, with a big grin on her face, would be clutching two or three of them.  It always frustrated me.  Sure, I would be happy for her but what about all of my broken pieces?  What did she know that I didn't? 

And then I learned something that fundamentally changed the way that I searched for sand dollars:  I stopped searching on the beach and I started searching in the tide.  

On the beach, sand dollars are exposed to the sun and the wind, which dries them out making them brittle and prone to fracture long before they can be found.  In the water, they are safe.  It's here where those delicate shells are cradled in a bed of hydration, surrounded on every side by a sea that was designed to be their home. 

When I dwell on this childhood revelation I can't help but think of my life now.  I think back to the thousands of times I've walked with my head down searching for that one thing that will make me entirely me.  While I search the shore I ignore that roaring force that has waited patiently along side me the whole time and it's been calling:  "look up, I have something better, I have what you've been searching for!"

Let me encourage you in this:  we can stop searching.

Christ is our ocean.  

Wade out into the tide and let its waters swirl around your ankles, move out until it hits your thighs, keep going until it covers you completely.

That's where whole is.

As we continue to live this life between two gardens we are going to fail, distraction is going to lead us back to the beach where we are most vulnerable to fragment.  This world has nothing to offer us but if we just keep training our gaze to Christ that feeling of empty will begin to fill and then overflow.  Keep returning to His Word, bend your knees in prayer, offer up a cry of praise.  Over and over and over again, train your gaze back to that Ocean and He will tell you exactly who you are:  a daughter, a son crowned in a victory that is whole and complete.  

"For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt.  Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." -Psalm 81:10

Stop your searching and fix your gaze. 

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