Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Search for Pleasure

Chapter 2 of The Slumber of Christianity* Ted Dekker begins to tell the story of his personal journey to discover happiness. While each person’s journey is their own there are always similarities to our own journey that allow us to identify with each other.
“My story. My own quest to understand King Solomon’s claim that there is nothing better to do in this life than find happiness and satisfaction (Eccl. 3:12). My own quest for bliss an subsequent descent into a slumber that deadened my life for many years. Perhaps if we examine my slumber, we can better understand the nature of this odd condition that has lulled so many Christians into darkness.” (p. 16)

In this autobiographical chapter we see that Dekker’s experience is very similar to many children who grow up in a Christian home. Though there are two things that added difficulty to his search. First, the fact that he didn’t have a home. His dad was from Holland and his mom from Montana. Through they became Canadians to help with international travel. Which was necessary because his parents decided to be missionaries. He spent some of his formative years in a boarding school, with with his siblings, but with minimal contact with his parents.

This leads into the second and that is a search for where he is to belong. The foreigner on the mission field and the weird mission kid on furlough in the United States. It is tough enough to try to fit in when you don’t have to deal with the impression that you are an outsider.

This quest to be accepted and find his place in the world resulted in his asking three questions of himself.
“I can’t say that my particular kind of not-belonging was any different from yours, or from millions of others’—it was just more pervasive than most. So began my lifelong quest to discover happiness. Later I would characterize that quest with three questions:
  1. Who am I?
  2. Where do I belong?
  3. Am I happy? (p. 18)

I think these questions define very well our search for significance, satisfaction, and happiness. There answers are what motivate us to do many of the things that we do. Dekker’s journey looks like many of ours as it goes through hobbies, girls, and discovering our abilities. Through it all he was able to give the impression that he was happy and that he had it all together.
“There I was, the product of twenty-some-odd years of searching for happiness, and I hadn’t yet found it. At least none that last more than a short time. Everyone thought of me as a happy person, I think. But deep down, where none of them could see, I was lost. (p. 31)

What are some events that have shaped your quest for happiness, satisfaction, and significance? Are you disappointed with your life? Do you put on a happy face, but underneath wonder what the point of it all is? Just some question to ponder as we follow Dekker on this journey of awaking our desire for heaven.

* Dekker, Ted; The Slumber of Christianity: Awaking a Passion for Heaven on Earth; Nelson Books, Nashville, TN; 2005

Find the other chapters:
Chapter 1: The Death of our Dreams
Chapter 3: Foundations
Chapter 4: Give Me Pleasure or Give Me Death
Chapter 5: The Slippery Slope to Slumber
Chapter 6: In Living We Die; In Dying We Live
Chapter 7: Created to Obsess
Chapter 8: The Eyes of the Heart part 1
Chapter 8: The Eyes of the Heart part 2

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