So more on why I'm pursuing an eternally real Heartland instead of indulging in fantasies that are only temporary.
A REASON: My satisfaction.
Real happiness. And we long for it above everything else. So my next reason for paying attention to that niggling feeling and resisting the temptation to immerse myself in a temporary distraction from my real world is simply that the distraction does not make me happy. It does not satisfy.
Temporary distractions do not keep some vague promise they make of happiness. Escaping into an imaginary world can become a street drug that only immobilizes me and drags me down. In the end, indulging in it will only make me more miserable.
Any pursuit of any addiction is nothing more than the heart's restless search for it's ultimate Heartland in all the wrong places. Human beings were created "to love God and enjoy Him forever," and, as Pascal has said, our hearts will be restless, no matter what distractions we go after, until they have found their rest in Him.
Please note that this doesn't mean I will never watch another episode of Heartland. Unlike street drugs, healthy Netflix shows can be healthily refreshing. They can provide much needed R and R after I've been pursuing my greater purposes for a period of time. One thing I love about my Boss is that He gives me R and R on a regular basis. He has promised to give me "all things to enjoy" and when He gives them they are thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing.
But when these healthy recreational activities become my goal rather than my rest, their benefit is destroyed and so am I if I pursue that goal. So ultimately, goals that satisfy are goals that lead to benefits that will last forever.
But here is a strange thing: I find that my satisfaction is very much connected to the satisfaction and well being of others. So the goal of seeking the good of others is the final reason I need to re-direct my pursuits as this new season begins.
Goals that truly satisfy are ones that have to do with other people's ultimate well being, not just my own.
It may seem like a paradox to say that investing my life in the service of other eternal human beings, for their eternal good, will bring me happiness, but it's true. I know that from experience.
When I have a chance to watch someone discover the love of Jesus, and see them choose to submit to His love and lordship in their lives--when I see them look to Him for their eternal good and find it in His face--my heart soars with joy. Nothing makes me happier.
If I can help one eternal being down the path toward discovering their value in God's sight, I feel fulfilled in ways no earthly pleasure can do for me.
The joy I experience when I see a teenage boy sit up straighter because I have affirmed a good answer he has given in a class discussion; or when another student comes to me, several times before the end of class, to thank me for giving him a pencil case with a few writing supplies so he won't have to ask any teacher for a pencil before he can do his work in another class; or when I see a whole classroom full of students soften and melt when I tell them how much I love them and want the best for them--this joy makes the temporary pleasure I get from indulging in some worldly escape mechanism pale in comparison.
So this is why I am determined to resist the lure of temporary, shallow pleasures that do not satisfy. It is a selfish reason. I want to be happy--truly happy. And I have discovered that deep, abiding happiness--what the Bible calls "joy"--is found only in the pursuit of eternally good things--things that will bring enduring satisfaction to me and to others.
I think maybe this pursuit, in this life, on this earth, is the beginning of our discovery of our eternal Heartland. It's the closest thing to heaven on earth I have yet to discover.