Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chapter Two- Flitting To and Fro

Oh, to be school teacher! Oh, to be married to wonderful, godly hunk from Georgia Tech! Oh, to be a mommy! Oh, to be part of a successful children's ministry! Oh, to be caught up on all my scrapbooks! Oh, to.... I understand what Lysa describes as the emptiness that makes one "feel desperate, needy, complicated full of unrealistic expectations." All the things I thought would make me feel happy and fulfilled lead to disillusionment and disappointment. Then comes the guilt and the bad attitude which manifests itself in my impatience, grumpiness, lack of joy,etc. with my family and with my circumstances. I understand what she is talking about when she talks about things that "quicky went from blessings to burdens." Although knowing it is God that should be the sole source of filling me, I,too,seek out fulfillment from imperfect people like my darling and amazing husband and sweet children. When I no longer feel satisfied or fulfilled, have I ever looked for something else to make me feel significant? Who me? OH, NO! NOT ME! Yeah, my nose is about the length of the football field at Bobby Dodd Stadium! I tend to pour 150% of myself into any endeavor I chose to do such as MOPS, children's ministry and thus neglect the very ones I love the most. What happens then? Why these things are imperfect and involve imperfect people, and my life circumstances change and then I am disillusioned and left feeling as though I have failed everyone, I mean everyone, because my heart is no longer in it- I have lost my sense of purpose and focus. Then I begin searching for something else to make me feel significant. "Who (am) I to be working in a Christian ministry? Especially one that (teaches) women to love their husbands, nurture their children, and follow after God everyday?" Who am I to be working in a ministry that focuses on leading children to Christ? Lysa describes some of her adventures in trying to find her niche. I am laughing and crying at the same time! She is a good friend to give you a great tummy aching laugh! But she ends up expressing my feelings exactly.- How does she do that?! "I was a hollow woman, not a holy woman. I had said yes to Jesus being my Savior, but didn't have a clue how He could be the answer to my emptiness." There is no way that my husband, my kids, my position in ministry or my profession or my home and possessions can ever fill me. They will never be able to replace my feelings of insecurity or insignificance or my guilt. "No person, possession, profession or postion ever fills the cup of a wounded, empty heart" Anything, but God, is a poor substitute - a false god. I have always loved the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Lysa points out verse 29, "But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention." What a word picture is created concerning the false gods I have depended on to fill me. Those gods do not give me the response, answer and attention I need to fill me and make me feel complete. It is only God, my Heavenly Father that responds to me. He answers me. He is attention to me!
Have you ever said something to the effect, "If I only had .....,then I would be happy and satisfied." These "If only" statements trick us into putting our attention on obtaining those things instead of following hard after God. My "If only" statements have included, having a husband, having kids, getting into shape, getting my house in order, you get the idea. Getting these things still leaves me with a huge "hollow gap in (my) soul". Lysa suggests that instead of filling these statements with a person, possession, profession or postion, that we chose to fill the statements with something that would pull our hearts closer to God. "Since we cannot be pulled away from God and draw near to Him at the same time, speaking truth rights our perspectives and puts our focus where it should be."
It doesn't matter what the hollow gap is in my life, God is the perfect, the only thing that can fill that emptiness. When I replace my false gods with scripture truths, I will not feel that gap in my life. God's Word is the filter through which we should look at all of the day's events, our responses to situations, etc. God's Word causes changes in my attitudes, motives, desires, actions, words, and priorities. It rearranges my very existence. "As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps." It is a choice, an intentional choice. It is a choice that must be made daily and often several times a day. Taking time each day to recognize my blessings and to appreciate and feel thankful for the people most important to me, is something I don't do often enough. The years are speeding by and I am too busy with my "If onlys" to enjoy what I have been blessed with- family, kids, husband, opportunities, salvation, life....Lysa describes it much better. "Maybe this is the true secret to being fulfilled and content. Living in the moment with God, defined by His truth, and with no unrealistic expectations for others or things to fill me up. Not reaching back for what was lost in my yesterdays. And not reaching for what I hope will be in my tomorrow. But living fully with what is right in front of me. And truly seeing the gift of this moment." Intentionally living now with all the circumstances and imperfect people I have been blessed with. Striving everyday to see God, hear God, know God and follow hard after Him. Then my hollowness will be replaced with a desire for holiness, too.

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