I didn’t know what to do with the stress. The uncomfortable feeling of unsurety. I wanted to feel better. When it gets down to it, I have to admit I wanted someone to just fix my problem for me.
There are bigger problems in the world. Life would go on. Things would have to work out somehow. No one I love was suffering, or in pain. It wasn’t life or death. It was just… beyond my experience, beyond my ability to fix, and beyond the stretch my bank account.
I don’t want to want a white knight, but…
With all the things I’ve admitted on Fruit of Brokenness, this is one I haven’t talked much about. A desire to be rescued, to be delivered from circumstances that make me uncomfortable, for someone to fix my problems for me. I struggle with some learned helplessness.
I hate asking for help. It’s difficult for me to accept help. My pride screams when I feel indebted. But, at the same time, I long to have someone fix things for me. Just one paradox of mine.
I’m not the only one who struggles stubbornness, pride, inadequacy, and feelings of helplessness.
And I’m far from the only one who turns to people before God in times of stress, discomfort, confusion.
It has become common for people to turn to social media for comfort and validation.
I want to feel better. I enjoy encouraging, sympathetic feedback. After waiting over a week to find out why our vehicle died on the highway, when I found out it was dead, I didn’t take the stress and insecurity to God in prayer, I took it straight to Facebook. A few words typed on a keyboard to relieve the pressure that will only come back. Ongoing responses keeping me focused on making myself feel better, and on human solutions.
What do you think God thinks when we seek others before Him? When we run around like a Chicken Little, with its head cut off?
In my humanity, I can see Him shaking his head and rolling His eyes when as we run around in circles, believing our sky is falling. But I’m an inveterate eye-roller. And, as a side note, it can be a very unattractive… disrespectful… response. I suppose God would maybe shake His head, but not roll His eyes. From Scripture, we see He grieves when His children run to other, lesser things, so we may be making Him sad. He could also be angry. God is described as jealous, not in the petty way we typically think of and do jealousy. But as a spouse protecting the sanctity of His covenant relationship with His people, in this age with His bride, the Church. He never lets down His side of the covenant; too often I wonder if I’ll ever get mine right.
Sometimes I cringe with shame when I think of the truth about what I do when I seek from other people what I should be seeking from God: I make them idols. Idols. God seriously frowns on idolatry.
God wants us to turn to Him first, last, and every time in between; He knows He’s the only answer. The only true Source of wisdom and strength. The only One who can fill our emptiness. He created us. He knows us best, and what’s best for us. He left us with an emptiness, and with our frailties and pain, so we could know we need Him. Need Him. It would have been cruel for Him to leave us not knowing we need Him, satisfied and suffering-free.
But in the moment, God seems further away than people. I can feel the weight of my phone in my hand, or my laptop keys beneath my fingers. I can see the Likes or other Reactions, read the comments, and reply when I want to. I can hear a friend’s voice, and see them looking back at me. But God?
Fishing for an electronic response, or seeking solace from a person, is looking for a quick fix even if we know it won’t ultimately solve the problem. We want to feel validated. We want to the edge off. Anesthetize ourselves. In people. In substances. In activities.
They’re never enough.
But God hasn’t been enough for me, either!
It’s not His fault though, is it? It’s mine.
I choose to not settle for what’s best. Because it’s less immediate. God’s best can be difficult, and require more than I want to give… or give up.
When it comes to the most important things, the easiest way isn’t usually the best way.
If it’s complicated, it’s usually because we make it so.
Learning to yield
I have some things going on in my life that seem to not make sense. One, I blame someone else for, and carry a lot of resentment and hurt. The other, I’m questioning God over. I mean, seriously, God, why would You bring things together like this?!?
I’m not responsible for anyone’s actions, only my response; I can’t change anyone, except myself. I can’t stop a bird from flying over my head, but I can keep it from building a nest in my hair; I guess Martin Luther said something like that. It’s not God’s job to give me answers. Grumble, grumble.
I am, however, noticing a theme.
Don’t turn to him, her, it. Turn to Me. First, last, and in between.
Why is that still such a struggle?
Sometimes I feel like my heart is being crushed. Longing for the peace that passes understanding… but apparently I don’t want it badly enough, because I’m still not just resting in it.
It’s easier to seek validation from others than it is to seek, and then do, God’s will.
How about you? Do you turn to social media when you should be seeking God? Do you turn to a friend before prayer and God’s Word?
Let’s not quit. It’s so worth it when we get it right.