Chances are, the fact you're reading this means you know me already, so I'll skip boring introductions and leave it at my name. Hi, I'm Avery Koranda. And my favorite color is purple. (That part's for free I guess.) Thanks for reading!
The reason I'm writing is because I've wanted to write for a long time. I just didn't know what to say or how to say it, so I didn't write a whole lot. Not openly, at least. I'm not sure how much more I have to say now than I did a year ago, but today in asking God if he wanted to show me anything (more on that later), I think he said essentially this: Avery, you're free to share. It doesn't have to be perfect. My love and my words are the perfect parts.
So, by imperfect faith in the perfection of God working through me, I'm sitting here. Writing. About to lay into the hide of the single most treacherous, dangerous, and deceptive beings in history. About to take a child-like stab at the bees' nest and trust that there's someone bigger than myself protecting me. About to say there's a colossal problem right now, and hope that I'm not desperately misguided.
But I'm not a cynic. A cynic talks about the colossal problem and then walks away. There's a problem right now, yes, but here's the reality: problems only happen inside stories. Characters have problems. Heroes have problems. Villains create problems. Problems don't happen in a vacuum. If God is willing, I will also eventually write about the rest of the story surrounding the problem.
My Friend, this is for you
I'm not writing to give you something to share with your friends (although you are welcome to do so). I'm writing for you. God has an amazing plan for his children, and my prayer is that he might use everything I have and am in being part of that plan. Personally, I feel particularly drawn to speak to my friends and peers. Teenagers and young adults, and anyone who falls within the spectrum from passionate Christ-follower to curious skeptic. My friends, I'm writing to you. I could name names, but that might make some people feel uncomfortable. You might be in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, or elsewhere--you know who you are.
But do you? You have more potential than you maybe know. It's possible that you've been deceived about who you are. This isn't judgement or condemnation. Please, if anything I say smells of that rotten, unfortunate lie, tell me outright. I love you because God loves me, and I'm trying to follow his example. I realize this paragraph could sound arrogant or presumptuous, and that's not my intent. I just don't know how to say this other than in simple, honest terms (if you know me, you know how I approach these things). Obviously, if you have not missed or been deceived about anything, then you don't need to try apply this to yourself. I'm not interested in forcing this on you, only in legitimately suggesting a possibility and asking those who are interested to hear me out.
One more matter of business before we dive in: the reason I'm writing for you is because I know what it feels like to be you. Not in a creepy, stalking sort of way, but rather I'm drawn to writing to you because you and I are very much alike. I'm writing to you because I know what it feels like to hurt, to wonder, to ask, to dream, and to feel lost, and I feel for the people I see who are struggling in similar ways...which happens to be a lot of my friends and peers. I pray that my thoughts and experiences will resonate with you through the guidance and confirmation of God's Holy Spirit, and that my words will be words of life, just as Jesus' words are.
An evasive problem
Dear friends, I've spent years trying to make something go away in my life. It has plagued me, battered me, beaten me, and shattered me. So many times it's deprived me of peace at night and planted a seed of unrest inside me within the first hour of the morning. It saps my energy, makes me susceptible to anger and impatience, and convinces me to try drown everything out with distractions and pleasure.
It's so strange, because by definition, this thing doesn't exist.
Yes, you read that right.
I'm talking about a void. I've gone through so many days with a vague but crippling sense that...I'm missing something. How do I even explain it? It really is just a feeling. And a cloud pervading my thoughts. Very quiet and subtle, and yet persistent and caustic. I could describe it as a knot in the pit of my stomach, or a never-ending internal sigh. Sometimes it doesn't seem so strong, like when life is going pretty smoothly and I don't have to see my reflection staring back at me. But then when I'm alone...when everything is quiet, the feeling comes back as strong as ever.
Have you ever felt this? I know I'm not alone in having such feelings, and herein lies the problem. Not that I want to be alone in this. Rather, I suspect that this is such a common feeling that you actually felt a little let down when I revealed the "thing" I was talking about. It feels so cliche to say "It just feels like I'm missing something”:
"Oh, he's talking about that? Everyone knows about that."
It actually feels as cliche to say "It just feels like I'm missing something" as it is to say in response "you need Jesus". But I'm learning that just because something is cliche doesn't mean it's not true. Cliche-ness probably only means that the idea has been in front of our noses for so long that we've become blind to its true meaning. No worries, I'm not judging you. We're in the same boat here. But I want to invite you to look closer at this phenomenon, because I am getting the impression that having the feeling of something's not right probably indicates that something's actually not right.
Moving forward, I want to give the feeling of something's missing a name. I'm going to call it Heartache, with a capital 'H'. If you would name it something else, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just drop a comment below.
The outcomes of Heartache
In my life and in the lives of others, I've seen several outcomes of Heartache. Although probably not a complete list, here are a few I thought of:
Uncertainty in decision-making
Doing everything and still having no sense of fulfillment
Creating noise machines to drown out the pain (music and busyness are personal examples)
Fear. Of what people think. Of messing up. Of embarrassing myself.
Impatience, anger, and hatred towards people who get in the way of me getting what I want
Just think. If you felt no sense of uneasiness, insecurity, or fear about your life--or to state it in positive terms, if you felt a sense of deep peace, security, and being loved in your life--would you find in your life even a single trace of any of the items above?
When I feel secure and at peace, I don't feel like I need to drown anything out. I have the energy and strength available to face my fears and the pain from past wounds. I know because I've experienced it before, but not as much as I would like.
I hope you're in agreement with me by this point--there's a big problem with me and you. If God wrote a list of traits defining what he originally intended a normal human to look like, I can tell you that the outcomes of Heartache wouldn't show up. I know because I've seen the list (Galatians 5:22-23, among other passages), and anything to do with Heartache has nothing to do with it.
Heartache is a symptom
Let me just say it outright: Heartache is abnormal to human experience as intended by God. It sure is common today, but it's not normal in any truthful sense of the word. Friends, if living the daily grind with a rain-cloud over your life is what makes you jump out of bed every morning, then by all means, suit yourself.
But if Heartache bothers you like it bothers me, we really can't afford to waste any time between now and pressing onward to uncover the root issue. This is a matter of life and death, as I'll hopefully soon have opportunity to write about. Heartache is not the root issue. It's actually just a symptom of a cancerous evil strategy that we desperately need to awaken to.
Dear reader, there is a reality out there that's more real than the world you and I see or the bodies we live in. In this reality, good wars against evil for victory over treasured territory--the human heart. And you and I have critical roles to play. Things are not as they seem. Join me in journeying to discover this reality and gain new eyes to see things as they really are.
Until then, my prayer is that God will give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to say "Yes!" to him.
Pressing on in Christ,