A spectrum of experience

By Dave Henning / February 21, 2024

“If you are younger, it is natural to way to yourself, ‘I have heard about those disillusioned celebrities and wealthy people who say their life isn’t happy.  But if I get anything like what I’m hoping for, I’ll be different.’  No you won’t.  Though there is a spectrum of experience, nobody in the end has ever been different.”- Timothy Keller

As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 4 of Making Sense of God, he observes that people take at least seven strategies toward their discontent.  When they discover that they lack “it.”  The something missing but they don’t know what.  In addition, Pastor Keller groups these strategies under two broad approaches.  You can:

  1. live life assuming it’s quite possible to find satisfaction in life; the “it” remains out there.
  2. live under the conviction that satisfaction is not possible; there is no “it.”

Four strategies exist under the first category.  Pastor Keller covers the first two today.

 1.  The young.  It’s natural for adults to travel hopefully in anticipation of a joyful arrival.  That the right partner, spouse, or career provides the key to life satisfaction. Yet, as James Woods notes, those “usual distractions” serve as the means to hide the emptiness of our lives from ourselves.  We think great things await over this hill or around that bend.  Of course, this is only effective in the short term.

2.  The resentful.  As time passes, though, we begin to realize that we are failing to attain “it”.  Therefore, it’s only natural to react and blame the obstacles that impede our progress.  Thus, we figure that if certain people got out of our way, the road to happiness would clear up.

Now, Pastor Keller notes, in the short run this stance might lead to some good.  To channel our anger in a constructive manner.  Yet, suppose our efforts break the barriers and get us to the next level of accomplishment.  We still find that “it” eludes us.  Hence, we move on to the third strategy (the driven).

Today’s question: Where do you place yourself on the spectrum of experience?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A long series of choices”

About the author

Dave Henning

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