Thursday, August 18, 2011

Full, yet empty

Do you ever have times where you just feel emotionally numb?  I'm numb right now.  The last time I felt this way, I was spiralling into a deep depression that took weeks to come out of.  I'm determined not to go there again, and so I've been looking around for things to keep me afloat.  And boy did one smack me across the face last night. 

I guess I've known this about myself for some time, but, like I said, it hit me hard last night.  Check it out... Psalm 42:1-2, "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God.  When can I go and stand before him?" (NLT)  Smack.  And, ouch.  Have I ever longed for God to the extent that I desire food?  Or Dr. Pepper?  Or napping?  If I'm going to be honest, the answer is no.  I confess, my cravings for Dr. Pepper are WAY stronger than my cravings for God.  And I'm so ashamed of that fact.  I once read that "shallow efforts produce shallow results."  I'm learning that it is the mark of a mature Christian to put in strong, enduring, and passionate effort to come near to God.  And I confess... I'm immature.

So, this is my ongoing struggle.  To be filled up with God, so that I'm no longer empty.  And until I get there, I'll just keep trying to fill the hole with naps, ice cream and Dr. Pepper.  Or new clothes.  Or affirmation from others.  Or whatever I think will fill the hole at any particular moment.

Back to the numbness. 

I ended up reading all of Psalm 42.  Again... OUCH.  Verse four says "My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be."  Yes, a very familiar feeling.  Part of verse six says "Now I am deeply discouraged..."  Also a familiar tune.  Verse seven says "I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me."  Again, I know the feeling.  Listen up to this stuff though...  Verses five and eleven, "Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!"  And verse eight, "But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life." 

Each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me.  Even though I apparently love Dr. Pepper more than Him.  Even though I get caught up in a pity-party of the sad details of my life.  Even though some of my behavior denies that I even know Him.  He continues to love me.  He pours it out on me.  He wants to fill me up.

How blessed I am, even though it feels like Satan is peck-peck-pecking me to a breaking point.  I'm blessed to have a God who loves me.  Who cherishes me.  Who never tires and always listens to my complaints.  Oh, how very blessed I am.

Father, forgive me for losing sight of your love and blessings.  Forgive me for listening intently to the whispers of Satan and getting lost in the muck, when I should be holding tight to your goodness and hope.  I know that You'll provide, that You'll save, that You'll love, no matter how lost or low I think I am.  Please help me to remember that.  And Lord, please protect me from further attacks by Satan.  Run him off.  Keep him away.  I'm trying to cling to you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where We Belong

I read a statement the other day that I found powerful and compelling and, well... sticky.  You know--it stuck with me. 

"Where you come to believe you belong is where you will stay." ~Lysa TerKeurst

Twenty years ago I was dating my high-school sweetheart, daydreaming and planning our wedding and our life together.  He eventually proposed to me, and I said yes.  I had come to believe that he was where I belonged.  So, when feelings of discontent and hopes of something different fluttered into my mind, I dismissed them, because I was where I belonged, after all.  It took a lot of prodding and poking from the Spirit, but I eventually came to listen to those feelings.  I moved on.  My heart longed for more.

I don't think this is too dis-similar from our lives as Christians. 

We listen to the lies of Satan, believing that we're bound by our sin, and deserving of nothing better.  Or we just stay content with what this world has to offer, and slowly forget that we were made for so much more. 

Let God rekindle that longing in your heart.  Listen to it.  Let the Spirit nurture it.  For it is a longing for heaven.  An urge to find more.  A desire to be whole.  Heaven is the only place we truly belong.