What do you want?
Has anyone asked you that lately? I recently started this study by Beth Moore that explores 5 questions we read in the Bible that Jesus asked (the study is called "the Quest" and I am eating up every moment of it! Highly recommend). One of the questions is "what do you want?" Jesus asked this of some of the disciples who were following Him.
"Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” John 1:38
Obviously, Jesus already knew what they wanted... it was even clearer to Him than to themselves what they were wanting. But the answer was more for them than Himself, putting it out there in the open, making it public. Their response, "Teacher, where are you staying?" showed what they were wanting. They were wanting to go where He went, stay where He stayed, and be wherever He might be.
Jesus invites us to answer this question every day. We can fake it with our answers but He knows what we really want. As I've been following this study I began asking myself this question to the gut of my soul, "Cami, what is it that you want?" And my answer hasn't always been Jesus, unfortunately...
A husband, to write books and travel, to do missions, to start a non-profit, to adopt/have children, to have community, to etc etc etc
These were just a few things that came to the surface of my honesty. Then God, in response, asked, "Why do you want these things?"
Me: "To love and be loved, to have adventure, to serve, to lead, to do something and be something of purpose, of meaning, to fulfill the call You've placed on my life, etc etc etc"
God: "And why do you think those things will fill those spaces in your heart and not I?"
What we want immediately, reveals a deeper desire. What we desire reveals what we tend to want now to fill that deeper void quickly (and temporarily), and what we want is what we often feel we lack... therefore we search for it, work for it, even cry and ache for it (I will be the first to raise my hand to say that is me).
We are children frantically running around as if we are orphans, begging for the crumbs of society when our Heavenly Father offers us a lavished meal at a table He personal sets for you and me. A meal that satisfies and fills, yet we can't get too full or sick of it.
We claim He is a good Father, and really, we do believe it-- to an extent. I am guilty of being the one singing "You're a good, good Father" in church and with my life on the outside but when it comes to certain areas, the things I'm really wanting, I would just waste my days away dreaming of it or trying to wrap my brain around how I could make it happen when a Lover so perfect in all His ways, a God capable of the impossible, a Creator that is the only One who can fulfill the desires of the created stands with His arms open... His arms open to a daughter who turns away, looking for earthly, fading things to fill the void that only He fits and fills to the full.
At the root of what we want is what we feel we lack, and what we feel we lack is exactly what God can and wants to give us in Himself.
Almost 2 and a half years ago I broke off my engagement to be married for various reasons, but the main one being I knew the Lord gave me a firm "no" on the matter. Heartbroken is an understatement. I know it sounds dramatic, but it felt like a part of me had died. I had so many dreams built up with this man, so many plans and what looked like a bright future ahead... but God always sees what we cannot. And in and through this process I slowly but surely began to see what God had been trying to tell me and teach me. I looked for fulfillment, for love, reassurance, affirmation, everything in a man I thought would be my husband. And when I looked even deeper I found that I actually looked for healing through marriage. Having been sexually assaulted when I was a little younger, I somehow along the way convinced myself that if I could just get a God-fearing man to love me, to accept me despite what I had done or what had been done to me, if I could just have someone love me so much that they would want to be one with me, then maybe, just maybe I would feel clean again... maybe I would feel worthy and pure and lovable and safe again. Maybe.
It's crazy the ideas we put in our heads and the lies of the enemy that we come into agreement with when we are desperate, hurting, and longing. Please, friend... stop buying into it. It's not worth your soul.
I found that something did die in me when I broke off the engagement and surrendered myself to God again. The lie. The lie that anyone or anything other than God Himself could fill the holes of my wounded, bleeding heart. I wanted to feel clean again-- God said His blood washed me white. I wanted to feel lovable-- He said He loved me so much He already died to prove that to me and that He would spend all my life pursuing me just to show how deeply He loves me. I wanted to be safe-- He showed me there is no safer place than in His arms. I wanted affirmation and purpose-- He said "Daughter, you are mine. You are loved, lovely, and so very lovable. I have a plan and a purpose for you beyond what you can comprehend".
So... What is it, really, that you want, friend?
Is it riches? All the things of this earth will turn to dust and fade away. He offers treasures in your heart and stored in Heaven that nothing on Earth or Hell could ever take away, treasures that actually do something in your heart rather than buy you something to collect dust.
Is it fame? People and their feelings and adoration of you will come and go, but your Father knows you to the depth of your existence, even the worst parts of you and still He adores you with all of His heart.
It is love? Oh, child... no Earthly love could ever compare or even come close to touching even a speck of the glorious, life-giving, all-consuming, never-ending, everlasting, relentless, persistent, hell-shaking, death-defeating, PERFECT love of the Father for you.
Let's get real with God. And with ourselves. What is it that we are wanting? He can handle our genuine, honest answers. And there is not one desire which He cannot fill a thousand times over.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in shrines made by human hands, and he isn’t served by people as if he needed anything. He himself gives everyone life, breath, and everything else. From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the national boundaries within which they live, so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us.”
"All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you." Psalm 38:9
"Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever."