Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Wants, Walls, and a Love Letter

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?

Oh, right.

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?

Why Do We Forget Everything Else But Him Is Fleeting?

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.

purposefulfaith.com

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25 Comments

  1. Hi Christine!

    I’m back from #RaRalinkup, and happy for it.

    Hand raised.

    “Nothing on the list came from His heart, just from my head” what powerful words! So much truth. Thank you for distinguishing between the dreams that are based on His desires for us and those that we come up with “for fun” that distract from the real prize.

    I’m so blessed, encouraged, and exhorted by your words! Thank you!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Hey Bethany!!!
      You seriously just brought my first smile of the day, girl 🙂 Thanks so much for your gracious comment! Keeping our eyes on the real Prize today. Much love to you <3

  2. We do tend to create our own personal, mental Pinterest page, don’t we?

    I work my way through Phil. 4:19 often when I pray for provision, wondering just what He considers a need! I know that you aren’t talking about a poverty mentality, but more of a willing mentality. What am I focused on? What am I placing above Him? This is a fine-tuning and one that allows us to draw so much closer to Him.

    What is my attitude toward my desire? Thanks for giving me a tool to take with me today.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      Our own personal pinterest page… doesn’t that just sum it up! It’s true!
      The days I wonder why God feels distant, I now start looking for what’s obstructing access to Him, and it’s usually something I’ve placed unwarranted importance on, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unaware.
      But it always needs to fall away. Clinging to something I think will make me rich, yes, you said it perfect, in a more willing mentality than the physical poverty.
      I keep thinking one day, I’d love to sit and have one giant chat over coffee and just expound on all the treasures in the Word with ya 🙂
      Thanks Angela, I always love connecting with you…

  3. Christine!
    What were you doing walking around in my head like that? Lol my lists are more practical these days and less dreamy-but I still make those… In my Amazon shopping cart, in my actual shopping cart(putting stuff back before I leave) or just in my head.
    But if CHRIST isn’t at the top of the list, my list is gonna go south! Good stuff sista!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      I’m sorry, I’ll attempt not to walk about in your head too often, girl 😉 I’m so glad I’m not the only one to relinquish the lists to Him on a regular basis… it’s where they belong, at His feet. And He’s so good and gracious every time!
      And don’t get me started on Amazon… Oi!
      Heaps of blessings, chickie!!! Thanks for dropping in, as always, you make me smile!

  4. “What I would come to find out first-hand, is that when we’re spiritually discontented, we’re always spiritually disconnected.”

    Well, well, well. I’m a “grown up” woman and I’m still in the thick of this. As in NOW. I don’t mean to keep going there but it’s such a well-worn rut. Comparison. Ugh. So.. here is my WORD from God thanks to you: Connection = Contentment = Connection. On either side of the equation is the Connection I crave and it’s found ultimately by being content in Him alone. Thanks for visiting me and for giving me a reason to come back and see Him through your eyes.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      That’s exciting, Lorretta, your connection equation! (There’s a great title for a blog post if there ever was, you gotta run with that one at some point!) Really speaks to my wobbly heart that we’re all learning this difficult lesson together, and that He doesn’t call it quits and walk away, but He keeps teaching us to desire only Him… His grace everyday amazes me.
      Feelin’ blessed that we connected today!

  5. “All discontent must disappear where absolute Love dwells.” How true this is! When I am discontent I don’t really have to look any farther than my heart. If I am not focused on God and His goodness to me, but instead am wishing for something I don’t have, it will make me very discontent. Sometimes it takes me a little longer than I like to realize it, but true contentment is only found in Him. Thanks, Christine, for this reminder. 🙂

    • Christine Duncan

      March 24, 2015 at 6:40 PM

      Yep, takes me ages sometimes to see that I’ve made a mountain out of my discontent. Gayl, I’m so glad we have a Father who does not tire of reteaching us that He is where we find our completion, and our contentment. Praying you’re having a blessed week, m’dear!!!

  6. Love this, Christine! So wonderfully true; I feel like I’ve been trying to teach this lesson to my kids without ever having learned it very well (or at all) myself. It is humbling thinking that they may have learned a lot of these struggles from me. So thankful for grace and how He loves us despite our failings to see Him for all He is worth 🙂
    -Sara

    • Christine Duncan

      March 25, 2015 at 11:43 AM

      You know, you’re right Sara… the next generations need this as much as we do. It’s such a big issue of the heart. And they have so many more things trying for their attention sometimes than we do, the world being as it is. Some days, at least for me, this lesson is so hard. I love your comment, He loves us despite our failings. Amen.
      Have a great day girl! Blessings 🙂

  7. “His love erased everything I believed I lacked.” It does, doesn’t it?! His love takes care of everything. Sounds so cliche, doesn’t it? But when we truly eat the meat of His words, we see things anew, and we find ourselves fulfilled.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading and cheering alongside you today, Christine. God’s revelations are good stuff, and I never grow tired reading of them. #WriteOn #JesusGirl.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 25, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      Thanks Kristi! Fulfillment… filled up with Him… Some days it feels like I’ll be learning to do this until the end of time. I’m so thankful for all you wonderful women yearning for more of Him with me. What a difference it makes 🙂 Love and blessings, Kristi! #ShineWithWords

  8. I am skipping everyone else’s comment for the moment because I must say you have been eaves dropping on my heart to heart moments with God. Next, I have to ask, do you supply first aid kits with your post, I need one and a whole truck load of tissue. I think I just got tossed in the brier patch with the rabbit (just teasing) I have to laugh because I’m reading this at work and if I cry now my co-worker are going to think I’m crazier than they already do. I might just fling caution to the wind and cry anyway. Seriously sis this felt no less than a ton a bricks over the head could do… From the bottom of my spied upon heart to the crown of my now shattered skull, thank you…

    I’m hid with Christ!
    Shawn

    • Christine Duncan

      March 25, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      Aw, the Creator King knew exactly what your heart needed, Shawn, and it’s kind of scary-humbling to think he’d use my thoughts as encouragement. But for sure, we do not need to startle your co-workers! lol I’m so privileged to call you friend, thanks for making me smile today!!! Praying good things for you!

  9. P.s now that I’ve read all the previous comments I wish there were a like or + button to check, so because there is neither, I, Shawn: like/+ them all…

    Very powerful and anointed post sis~

  10. Great topic Christine. Thanks for showing a glimpse of how you walked through a bad case of the wants. – Our wants become a distraction to what He wants. And in the long run, we are better off with His list.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 25, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      Definitely, Jon. His wants bring us in line with His will. The best place to be! So glad you stopped by Jon! I look forward to getting to know you better through the Christian Bloggers Community over the next while 🙂

  11. “When we’re spiritually discontented, we’re always spiritually disconnected.” Yes! This is so very true. Unfortunately I’ve experienced the same harsh reality in my life, but the Lord is always so gracious to bring me back to Him, giving me new eyes to see the blessings He’s already poured out, and filling me with a heart of thanks. Blessed by this reminder today. Visiting from #TellHisStory

    • Christine Duncan

      March 25, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      A heart of thanks goes a long way, doesn’t it, towards placing our perspectives and priorities right where they need to be. Thinking I’ll take time to be thankful right now in fact, a reminder to stay connected with Him. Love that you brought that up, Becky, and love having you stop by. Have a fabulous day in Him!

  12. I was encouraged by your statement that Jesus, “filled all the places I’d starved.” How true, when we step outside of the shadow of Jesus long enough we get sun burn. Thanks for following The True Vine, and leading me to your page.
    ~ Grace and peace

    • Christine Duncan

      March 26, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      Stepping outside the shadow of Jesus… you’re so right. He has to, has to be all that we desire and become desperate for! Thanks for visiting Jeff, I hope others will check out The True Vine and see what it’s all about 🙂 Have a great day, sir! Lord bless ya!

  13. Excellent post! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 26, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      Thanks Justin!!! Great to have you stop by again 🙂 Praying blessings for your week!

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