“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Life was good, and I was content.
It was autumn of 2017. I was busily involved in our daily life here in Pennsylvania—drafting a novel, driving our kids to their activities, sending them off to a school they loved every morning.
Then we got the news. My husband’s job required him to work 3,000 miles away in Southern California for six months. And he wasn’t about to go without his wife and children.
At first, we were less than enthused about this development. The idea of uprooting our lives terrified us. That summer we had traveled to Los Angeles to visit my brother. While it was a nice place to vacation, we couldn’t see ourselves living there.
Then, the whispers began in my heart.
Remember your dreams?
You’ve always wanted to live in another area.
There’s more out there for you.
I hadn’t forgotten my dreams. I’d just given them to God. Instead of dwelling on my desires, I had made a conscious choice to focus on my blessings. To fill my heart with gratitude for the good things he’d given me in my own corner of the world.
And now, it seemed, he was fulfilling my dreams.
When we visited our soon-to-be temporary home, I fell in love. God seemed to make the path straight before us. A house only a block from the beach. A great school for the kids. To top it off, our new city was far enough from metropolitan Los Angeles that it felt like a smaller community. Yet, it was close enough that we could take advantage of everything L.A. has to offer—and see my brother more often.
In December of 2017 we settled into our new home. The world seemed fresh and exciting. Six long months stretched ahead, with untold treasures awaiting us.
The experiences we had living in Ventura could fill a book. This beach town grew on us from the moment we first wiggled our bare toes in the sand. Six months went by in a blink, and yet the people and the place took root in my heart in a way I never expected. Pulling those roots out has been excruciating.
Now that I’m back in the same place I’ve lived for the past fifteen years, I wonder what our short stint in Cali was all about. I’m not sorry we went, but I was certainly more content before the whole adventure began.
Was I too content? Had I become complacent?
Complacency is comfortable. But God did not create us for comfort. He created us for eternity. He created us for more.
It seems arrogant now, but last year I thought God was putting this experience in our lives as a reward of sorts for my spiritual growth. I’d learned the character quality of contentment, so he was giving me something my heart desired.
Today, I’m in a quandary. Those old desires I had before I learned contentment? They’re back.
I want more.
Is this what God meant by placing eternity in our hearts? We’re always going to want more?
Everything wasn’t easy in Ventura. We had our share of challenges. We didn’t have free child care (read that, family). I had to drive the kids back and forth to school every day. We didn’t know a soul when we arrived. I missed home.
Now that I’m back, I miss the West Coast so much it hurts. When the memories from last year pop up on social media, tears spring to my eyes and my heart fills with longing.
For California? For adventure?
There has to be more to life than this.
There is more to life than this.
God has planted eternity in our hearts. We ache for it with our whole being. Sometimes we misuse the ache. We numb it with technology, or chocolate, or skydiving.
Sometimes God uses the ache to get our attention. To show us a new path.
Always he wants the ache to drive us to Him. He wants to fill the longing.
The truth is, we can be standing on the beach, breathing in the salt spray, letting the waves lap over our toes, and we still feel it. When all is right with our world, we can yet hear the whisper in our souls.
“You were made for more. You were made for Eden.”
Alison Treat is a recovering perfectionist, saved by grace. She loves to read, hike, swim, and ski with her husband and three kids in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She writes about freedom, her own and that of others, in her historical novels and on her blog at http://alisontreat.com.
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