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The Broken Chair of Life
by Andrew Tuttle
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Try as I might I canít get my office at home just the way I want it.

Believe me, Iíve reorganized it, cleaned my desk, thrown stuff away and even thinned my file cabinet. But there always seems to be something missing. That something to make my sanctuary perfect.

Whenever I go to open houses or someone elseís home their office is exactly what I want. But I wonder how much reorganizing and throwing away can I do to make it the perfect setting?

This restlessness isnít confined to my silly office.

I, for some reason, cannot give my car that perfect coat of wax. Though it has a glass reflection something is missing. It could be shinier, I say.

My collectibles case, full of sports memorabilia, autographed baseballs and footballs, is too messy one day, doesnít have enough of the ďrightĒ items the next. My grass, which I take immaculate care of, seems to be browning, though my wife says itís the best in the neighborhood. So I throw more fertilizer on and unleash the Hoover dam.

I simply am not fully satisfied.

I am quite aware Iíve been blessed with what I enjoy and God has allowed me to spend a little on items that tickle my spine but I never understood why Iíve always felt a little annoyed with life. A minor irritant that wonít let me breathe and say, ďFinally, just the way I want it.Ē

Life is like getting a broken chair after youíve been standing for eight hours. Itís welcome relief but the chair is a little uncomfortable. Why couldnít it be a plush recliner?

Well, I found the answer.

Last year, my church began the 40 Days of Purpose campaign. I watched a video testimony of some church members who had already read the book and something was said that stood out. One of the older members said he wished he had read this book when he was younger.

I am in my early 30ís and for several years now I have been flustered with the idea that I will spend my whole life wishing I knew then what I know now. Everyone, it seems, wishes they could go back to high school knowing what they know now. I am no exception. But when Iím 40 will I be wishing I was 30, when Iím 50 will I wish I was 40?

The testimony of that church member was a directive to me to read The Purpose Driven Life.

So I began reading the book.

Within a week my life would be completely changed as God used Day Six of the book to ďrecreateĒ me so to speak. Page 50 to be exact. It was something I had never heard of or at least heard put into perspective. It reads:

"In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life - longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. Weíre not completely happy here because weíre not supposed to be!"

Could it be anymore clear? That one paragraph probably said more to me than any one thing Iíve ever read or been told in my entire life. What if I had spent the next 20 or 30 years trying to straighten my office and wondering why canít I get it right?

The fact is I will never get my office the way I want it. My car will never be showroom condition. In fact, showroom condition does not exist on earth. And my grass will never look like the outfield in Fenway Park.

Yes, life can be satisfying but never fully. Live life to itís fullest they say. But is it really possible? Or will I have to learn to be happy with sitting on a broken chair after standing for eight hours?

You know I recently bought a plush carpet the color of my favorite football team for my office. Guess what? Thereís still something missing.

Why does the paint in my new car seem flawed despite the three coats of wax put on in the last month?

Why canít I find a chair that isnít broken?

Because God made me for more.

Life isnít about finding heaven in my office at home. Life isnít about getting that perfect coat of wax. And life certainly isnít about a green lawn or the right amount of sports memorabilia positioned and arranged precisely.

The reality is life isnít about, well, life on earth.

But that paragraph also told me something else.

Oddly enough, I have met people who have that perfect office and have a perfect-waxed shine to their cars. These are the people who can die happy when their favorite sports team wins the championship. Because that is where their heart is.

That paragraph on page 50 not only enlightened me it told me something.

My heart is in the right place. My focus is on God. The book continues,

"Realizing that life on earth is just a temporary assignment should radically alter your values. Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions."

Now what if I spent the next 20 or 30 years content with my life?

Read more articles by Andrew Tuttle or search for other articles by topic below.

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