Can I make a confession?
I used to spend a lot of time making lists.
These weren’t lists that kept me focused on tasks. Which to this day I should probably do so that life doesn’t spring so many surprises on me, borne out of my distractions.
And these weren’t lists of things to remember. Which, again, I should probably consider so that life doesn’t spring quite so many last-minute surprises on me, borne out of my forgetfulness.
And now I’m thinking “gee, it looks like I need to start a whole new list…”
Where was I?
These lists weren’t your normal lists.
These were lists I had dressed up as daydreams.
Lists of all the things that, if life were ever perfect one day, I could lay claim to. And once in a while, if I felt I maybe wasn’t being holy enough, all the things if life were ever perfect enough, that God could maybe bless me with.
Except looking back, and I’m forced to admit not all that far back, I can see now that I was trapped in a mad case of The Wants.
Nothing on the list came from His heart, just from my head. That’s what a case of the Wants does. Someone would mention a new toy I could never afford. It would go on a list. Someone would write a book and garner fame. That would go on the list. A trip would be taken, a photo of something quaint being restored would be posted, an amazing story would be told.
List. List. List.
Want. Want. Want.
I told myself the lists were just daydreams. Harmless right? Things that I abstractedly thought could all be possible, if not soon, then one day. The items on the lists weren’t things I demanded, weren’t things I forced everyone else to like or supply. They were just hapless little lists of things that, if life were a fairytale, would come true. Many of the things were simple. Not wasteful. Not evil. Just… wanted.
Just daydreams. What was the harm?
Until one day, when I started including them in my conversations with the Father, God showed me how my list of daydream items were doing far more harm than good.
My lists created grounds for comparisons. Comparisons do nothing but take you in endless circles.
Slowly over time, I was becoming whiny. Unsatisfied with every answer in His Word or from His Spirit. When I prayed it sounded more like bartering. I would sprinkle whatever items I’d obsessed over into my talks with God. With my eyes on the wrong objects of desire, my heart stopped recognizing not just His voice, but His goodness.
What I would come to find out first-hand, is that when we’re spiritually discontented, we’re always spiritually disconnected.
The case of the Wants had put up a Wall.
Let me be very deliberate here. These weren’t soulful, heart-based, carefully nurtured dreams that would mean something, and they weren’t just pleasant daydreams I had joyfully wished for, born out of being content with life and desiring more of what God had… because He does not begrudge us heart-filled desires lifted up to Him, and laid before Him in love.
These were becoming hard, rocks, heavy, difficult. Difficult soul-baggage. They were a wall of true discontent, of time spent watching what everyone else had, or rather, what I thought they had. An ever-growing collection of lists that looked more and more like proof that I was doomed to have nothing, while everyone else had everything.
I had taken my eyes off my real Need. My heart distracted from the real Prize. Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried filling a God-sized need with life’s finite wants?
Let me say, constant harbouring of discontented feelings is not what someone who suffers from depression needs on a day-to-day basis. That harbouring spills over into everything. And things like depression and anxiety and plain ol’ stress will feed off it.
The Wants will always cause you to Wallow.
So you’re low, bogged down, discontented, and disconnected by the barrier you dreamt up.
Discontented equals disconnected.
Disconnected equals disenchanted.
This is where my lists would take me. A beginning of a journey of disenchantment…. in Him. In life. With every so-called innocent list, it would fester and grow.
When I think about it now, my heart hurts. What a mess those lists created inside me. How much they must have hurt the heart of the One who had already given me a gift no one else could ever match.
Why do we forget that everything else but Him is fleeting?
Why do we assume He’s holding out on us, when those same hands outstretched on a cross were holding forth the most massive promise ever to be provided?
Really broken one day, I finally must have asked God where He was.
Through tears and piles of lists that no longer provided escape, my eye caught sight of my Bible.
And a single thought broke through the wall of Wants.
“Would you prefer your lists, or My love letter?”
His question stripped away all the unnecessary distractions, and went straight to the heart of it all.
Did I want the items listed that, even if granted by some fairy godmother, would never be capable of relationship with me and would start to wither the very second they were birthed? Or did I want the tangible evidence of Love created to surpass everything, a well of Love that would never run dry, would abide with me, and would be penned on my heart with His own hand for all eternity?
List? Or Love Letter?
The heft of that Bible brought me to my knees, where moments before I had been clawing a shaky tower of self-importance.
A flooding took place that day.
How quickly He began to peel back all my wayward expectations. How mercifully He began to outshine all the misguided beliefs. He poured and poured Himself out in a re-fueling that filled all those places I’d starved with my case of the Wants.
Page after page I drank in His goodness, every page heavy with love.
Can I be honest about my Christian walk up to that point?
Never before had I truly understood the epic promise of Philippians 4:19 until that day… “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” as His love erased everything I believed I lacked.
Never again could I doubt His words of epic provision “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words, He is not done being generous with His provisional love.
All discontent must disappear where absolute Love dwells.
Yes. It’s nice to dream.
It’s nice to have desires.
But even more important, if we have to make a list, we need to keep Him at the top of it.
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Today’s post is gladly linked up to Kelly Balarie’s Purposeful Faith and Tuesday’s #RaRaLinkup! AND Jennifer Dukes Lee with the #TellHisStory Linkup! Click on the hashtag and discover a warm and welcoming collection of posts like this one.
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