the answer remains.
You don’t know how many times I re-wrote this. I had several nice, well-written introductions and hooks, but never anything beyond that. I’ve been writing in sputtering stops and goes like my dad’s old white ’79 Chevy, with only an idea of where I’m going but no clue as to how to get there. Or, more appropriately due to recent experiences, driving my Lexus when all I can see out of the windshield is anxious white snowflakes plummeting chaotically to the ground, illuminated in the occasional beam of a streetlight.
Today I’m going to spit it out. Haphazardly at best. Fair warning.
I have taken a break from logical writing and I’m sitting in front of the keyboard and cutting open a vein. I figure, if I’m all about brutal honesty, the best place to start is me. So, here I launch, brandishing a knife over my wrist. (Not literally, don’t worry).
I have spent a good majority of the last eighteen years of my life filling my God-shaped hole with anything but God. Like attempting to fit a square into a circle-shaped hole.
And I’m still possessed by the idea that I’m lying when I sing in chapel, “You are all this heart is after.” How many of us can say that honestly?
I cannot speak for anybody else. But me? Sometimes I’ll find myself analyzing, thinking, pondering, just as I am wont to do, and suddenly I have no idea where my heart is even located. I can’t feel it. I can’t sense it. As usual, I’m stuck reeling it back in.
It has been a battle to allow Him to have reign over my mind, but how is it that, for a woman (chuckle), I seem so distant from heart issues? I don’t even know how to go about making Him all my heart is after. Sometimes those eighteen inches from my head to my heart seem like miles.
I found myself silent as we sang that song in chapel, with a sick feeling starting in the pit of my stomach and working its way up into my throat. I felt paralyzed. Why was it so hard to make Him enough? Why wasn’t He ever enough for me? I’m constantly depending upon the opinions of others, conversations with others, sometimes even the approval of others. And I’m not alone—I don’t think any human is a stranger to the fear of rejection. And I would genuinely be surprised if I’m the only one that feels this same nudge of discomfort at that line in the song, either. I think that, though not all of us may be trying to fill our God-shaped hole with other things, we’re at least attempting to make Him share the space with something or someone else.
In the last couple weeks I’ve been grabbing my gloves and plunging head-first into the mire that is my mind. And in the process, I think I’ve unearthed my greatest fear.
I love words. I am all about words. I manufacture them from within at a great speed. What I write and say are the result of overflow, what I can’t possibly manage to keep inside. But what use are letters and phrases and concepts and fragments of thoughts if you are the only one to marvel over them, if there is no audience? Or worse, if the audience doesn’t even care?
Suddenly, I realize that I’ve always filled my God-shaped hole with people.
And people have always let me down.
I always thought “the fire” was the answer to all my problems. That “fire for God” that everybody keeps talking about in a nostalgic manner, saying, “I used to have it. I just can’t find it anymore.” Well, quite frankly, I’ve never had it. I don’t even know what they’re talking about when they refer to it, whatever “it” is. In the past, I have been borderline obsessed with it. If only God could be the center of my being, my desires, my wishes, my thoughts, my everything, then maybe He’d be enough—because He’d be all that I’d have. It’s one of the reasons I brutally severed my last relationship. It’s one of the reasons I went half-cocked off to Spokane for Bible College, to run from friendships and comforts I’d grown to depend upon. It’s almost entirely the reason I decided not to date for a year. It’s the reason I took a chainsaw to my ideas of business school and success. I wanted to cut everything else out of my life.
As it turns out, changing location of a person does not change a person. I find there’s always something that I cling to. It has never been just guys, or relationships, or success, or money. My mentor, through asking the hard questions, has helped me understand what it is that I’ve been after: All this time, it’s really been about approval.
But how do I change that? I have been wondering.
Well, my blogs always stem out of conversations. With myself, with others, and with God. Normally I get close to the answers with the first and second, and if there is a conclusion to be had, I come to it with the third.
The answer for this one came from within, as usual, though it was not mine. The Holy Spirit had a couple of things to say about this.
First, the hardest person’s approval to win is your own. And if you don’t have your own, you will not feel as if you have the others’… or God’s, even though His approval is not dependent upon our feelings, thoughts, or actions. Anything telling you otherwise is not from the Lord.
Second, God is the only one that is going to live up to our desires and standards for commitment: 100%, all of the time. He is perfect, therefore He makes for a perfect friendship. Speaking in relational terms, He’s the only one that can fit our desire to constantly be approved of and acknowledged. He fills not only our God-shaped holes, but also the holes that our lacking friendships and relationships leave as well.
Last night, after I’d discussed this with the Lord, I started to flip through my Bible, halting at the bookmark I have in the psalms. I read the one I had for that day. It’s 118, but of course, certain verses stand out to me like they haven’t before. Suddenly, “His steadfast love endures forever,” has more meaning. I took a moment to relish that, but my attention was drawn to verse eight.
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Well, there I have it, Lord.
It’s funny that it has never occurred to us in this context that God is who He is, no matter how we feel about Him or about ourselves—therefore, though we may feel that He is not enough, He is. “The truth is that what has come to satisfy us is not the Lord, but our own feelings about the Lord… If we will only bring our common sense to bear upon the subject, we cannot help seeing that the only really vital thing in our relations with the Lord is, not what are our feelings toward Him, but what are His feelings toward us.”
And He is the only one whose feelings toward us will never falter, change, or fail. Therefore he is the only truly stable relationship in our lives.
All of this said, the questions may be different, but the answer remains: “Yes, but there is God.”