I've started reading Mark Buchanan's book Your God is Too Safe. He doesn't waste any time but gets right to the heart of the matter in the very first chapter.
Most Christians I know are stuck. We feel caught in jobs we barely endure and often despise, in relationships that plunder us and baffle us and deepen rather than remove our aloneness, in activities that are soul wizening in their triviality and yet insatiably addictive. We squander jewels and hoard baubles. We experience harrowing emotions over mere trifles and can barely muster a dull ache over matters of shattering tragedy. We feel we've no time and no energy for the things that we know matter deeply, even eternally, but waste much time in silly stultifying diversions: We are impatient with our child's longing to spend ten minutes with us at bedtime, but then fritter away and hour in idle telephone chatter or two hours watching the latest studio-produced inanity on video. We gossip, even though we've made repeated resolves not to. We envy, resent, judge, avenge, sulk, and overeat. We read "People" magazine--maybe even "Playboy"-- and "FutureShop" flyers, but not our Bible much. We feel that everyone else has more money, longer vacations, newer cars, nicer clothes, and fewer things going wrong with their hot water tanks, automobiles, and children than we do.
We wonder where the freedom is for which Christ set us free. And this secret fear haunts us: Is everyone else fulfilled, and I'm the only one who's not? Or even worse: Is no one fulfilled, and we are all just playing out a charade that we are?
Buchanan paints a bleak picture of the average Christian. Sadly, I think there's more truth in his words than I care to admit. I know I have frittered away time on trivial things and then complained I don't have enough time for the important things. I have envied the "good life" that others seem to live rather than counting my blessings. I have wondered why pictures of starving children don't move me more, while I can throw a tizzy-fit over the most meaningless problems. And the only hope I see of ever changing is by throwing myself at the mercy seat of God's throne.