Ups and downs, euphoria and despair, joy and sadness, confidence and insecurity – it seems like my life the past month has been a bundle of paradoxes and contrasts. I’ve found myself having more and more days that slowly dissolve in to private meltdowns. It’s a roller coaster, a really emotional one. I’m not okay right now, but I will be.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Let me be specific. Three weeks ago, I emotionally blew myself to smithereens.
It’s been described to me as a perfect storm, what happened. It was the terrifying and irresistible temptation that was created when my competing desires aligned with my circumstances. The thing I thought I wanted, what I’ve thought about, fixated on, prayed for and against at times had been dangling in front of me like a carrot for years. It was always just out of reach. But one evening, over beers, that damn figurative carrot came within reach for the first time – really, it was handed to me.
There are things in our lives that are so tempting and lucrative, it’s almost impossible to say no. I’ll let you fill in the blank with what that might be for you. What’s the one thing, if it was put in front of you, you’d take it without a second thought?
I said yes to the carrot, I said yes because it was what I thought I wanted. Honestly, I had eliminated the possibility of the words that were said to me, to ever be said. For three years, I longed for those words, that realization, I prayed for a switch to flip. Instead, some time in the past year a switch flipped for me. I developed the strength and discernment to put my competing desires away, I forgot that they even existed until that box was re-opened.
The weight of me taking what I wanted was so much heavier than I anticipated and the fallout ended up being severe. Emotionally, my ‘yes’ meant euphoria, panic, sadness, confusion, and rejection… in that order more or less. Now, my yes sits idle in a corner of my mind. It doesn’t seem to belong there. It was never what I wanted, I know that now. It was the idea that was shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Competing desires are a scary and powerful thing – purifying our hearts for God is a daily battle.
I said yes to what I thought was a perfect alignment of personal desire and God’s will. I got exactly what I thought I wanted and it didn’t satisfy in the ways I thought surely it would. In fact, it ended up damaging the relationships I hold most dear and left me feeling emotionally depleted, insecure, and untrustworthy.
It would be easy for me to say that this was an attack. I could say it was Satan that manipulated something good, convinced me that I wanted more and that I wasn’t truly content, and leveraged it to blow up my life and my stability. As a result, I’m shaky on my feet, I’m struggling to trust myself again, I’m disoriented and I don’t feel like I belong in the skin that did what I did. Satan takes good things and twists them in to bad things through deception.
Here’s the thing. No plan of the enemy will ever separate me from God, God is still working all the time and the battle is won. I will praise Him in the midst of difficult circumstances because it is there that I learn and grow. There is a beauty and strength to be found in shaky seasons. When I am unstable, I have to lean more on God for my stability. God is teaching me that He is enough and that I am enough – even when I think I’m terrible and unlovable.
Emotionally, I’m all over the place. But I have a sense of clarity that I’ve never had before. I might be shaky on my feet, but my foundation in Jesus is stronger than ever. I can stand firm in knowing that He is in control, even when I think I am. Even if this was some twisted and sinister plan, I’m still standing and I’m still going to give God the glory. He still reigns in my life. I might feel distant from God right now, but I am trusting that in time and as I continue to seek Him, he will be faithful in renewing my mind and transforming my heart. I will be a better woman of God for this.
I have to remember where I was before this happened. I was running towards Jesus with nothing in front of me. We might get off track, but that doesn’t mean the work that God has done in our lives becomes invalid. I have to remember that the work God was doing in me before this is still valid, but that is going to take some time (and counseling).
God knows what is best for us; he is a perfect parent, a perfect Father. He knows our competing desires intimately. He knows that there are desires in my life that are so strong, they will derail and distract me every time – the only thing that will truly quench the unquenchable thirst in my heart is Him. The true desire of my heart is Jesus. I know that the only thing that will ever truly satisfy and the only thing that is guaranteed to deliver every single time is God’s grace.
Next time I see a carrot dangling in front of me, I’m going to take a minute to thank God and give the glory to Him before I make a decision to take it. There are times when our desires will align with God’s will but to Him be the glory for those moments. I will choose to surrender first to the will of God and out of the overflow of my full heart will I then take the best course of action.
Don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. 1 Corinthians 7:17 MSG