This week’s theme has been… Longing. It wasn’t intentional. I’m scrabbling too hard to get things working right, and too scattered to follow the editorial calendar I abandoned and need to revive…
Monday’s post was about the longing to be understood by people who don’t suffer from depression, and for better understanding of mental illness in the church. Tuesday… Well, Tuesday was the pain and numbness of our longing to hold and be held, pitted against our fear and drive to protect ourselves. Wednesday was from the archives of my old blog, Found (which is a completely different thing from what it was, and will soon have new life pumping through its new form). Thoughts that belong here, in the brokenness and hope of mental illness, are slowly making their way to their new home. This post is all about the pit-of-the-stomach discomfort of feeling homesick at home. Tomorrow is my review of Sheila Walsh’s The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God.
And then there’s today…
I had a post started. It just… stalled… Painfully, awkwardly. So I let it sit and decided today would be a no-post day. But it’s NOT a no-post day! It’s going to be a LATE-post day, but I have to write.
I’ve been listening to music quite a bit while I’m writing the last couple of weeks. It feels a bit like a bad ad, but I’ve been mostly listening to Christian music on Amazon Prime Music, and I’m loving it. It’s convenient. I started an Amazon Prime Membership a couple of years ago, mostly for the free two-day shipping. The yearly price has gone up since then, but it’s worth it with the free music and video libraries, and, hey, I still have free two-day shipping… and a couple of times when I didn’t need my order that fast, I got $1 credit toward digital downloads. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
I noticed the theme in my music preferences this morning as I was reading/writing today’s Scripture passage (Philippians 3:1-14). It wasn’t just singer-songwriters that were catching my ear, and heart. It was the longing. And taking it to the only Source of true fulfillment. Like Sheila Walsh illustrates, we have needs that can get mixed up and distorted in our longings, and are longings are ultimately all about God.
I’m realizing that my goal in the hard times should be to live Psalms.
Pour out my brokenness – lament when necessary. Then praise Him and thank Him any way. Choose to trust when everything in me screams not to…
Here’s how I put it in a previous post:
Lord, things are hard. I don’t understand. I am broken and bleeding.
You are faithful. I will choose to trust You. Your timing is not mine, but it is perfect.
From the depths I will thank You and wait for Your deliverance.
I need to allow God to transform my longings. As long as we are here on earth, we are separate from God, so we will always have a longing for Him, though we’re not very good at recognizing it as such. We try to fill our God-shaped emptiness with all manner of lesser things. You know the typical list; you know your own. Our longings get shaped by our experiences, both good and bad. They’re twisted by the messages we receive from the world, messages that shape the value we place on things, including ourselves.
Have you ever thought about what shaped your perception of your worth?
After meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s life was eternally changed. He no longer evaluated himself or the world by the standard he’d been raised with and lived.
Paul was zealous for God. Before God changed his name from Saul, he was so zealous that he tried to wipe out the young Church, persecuting those who chose to follow the Way, even killing them. He longed to please God, and believed he did so with every effort to eliminate the threat to the faith he knew his people had received from God through Moses.
Paul longed for God and recognized his own longing to please Him. He just didn’t know he was going about it all wrong.
That was one thing that struck me this morning in Philippians 3. When Paul said, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ,” he was talking about his religious pedigree, all those things that gave him the appearance of godliness.
No matter how hard we try, religion won’t fulfill our deepest longing for God.
I think the saddest part of our fruitless searches to fulfill our longings is that sometimes we convince ourselves we’ve succeeded and miss the fact we’re bleeding to death. Paul, back when he was still Saul, was doing a great job following the rules that had taken over the Jewish faith. He’d done all that was required by man’s interpretation of God’s Law, and then some.
But it was all for nothing.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…”
Nothing. else. matters.
But I haven’t learned how to live that.
Longing and Lack
What is your deepest longing? If it’s not God, it’s not what you’re really longing for…
What is your hardest lack? When we truly lose ourselves in God, we no longer lack…
This is not Truth I embrace. I resist it.
And am left emptier the farther I run…
It’s such a relief to stop running. And rest in Him. Death to self is painful, but the life that springs up is so much better than anything I grasp for myself.
Can you imagine how awful it would be if we didn’t long? If God had left us with no awareness of our emptiness, we’d never know we need. We’d never seek Him.
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