“We are too precious an oil to stay bottled up. We are to be poured out generously so that the perfume of our lives fills the whole room (John 12:3). This may seem wasteful, or reckless, but we are made to give in abundant recklessness.
We are made to give ourselves away.”
I have been happier in the past few days than I have been in a long time. And by a long time, I mean almost three years. These years have been steeped in darkness and anxiety, looking everywhere for safety and rest. And at last, after a long, difficult journey, I have found it in the place where I knew it was all the time.
“The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3
I know, it’s cheesy right? We’ve heard this verse a thousand times, so many times that it’s become almost banal. Lifeless. It has ceased to have any meaning.
But, not for me. Not now. I understand this passage anew in the wake of the darkness I am finally passing through. You see, the past three years I have been desperately searching. Searching for a place to rest, a place where I know it’s all okay. That I’m okay. That I’m loved. I searched everywhere and I thought it was up to me to find it. I thought I had to figure out how to get safe, how to get love. And it’s really hard to do that when you don’t feel safe and you don’t feel loved. It took a lot of suffering on my own and the guidance of prayer and counseling to get me back to this place of rest, and I’m so happy that I’ve found it again.
You may have noticed a bit of a theme in my earlier posts: the Lord is with me, so it’s okay. The Lord is here and He loves me, so I don’t need to be afraid. This is what I have had to learn again. After three years of searching and suffering, what I had to learn to find peace was this simple phrase.
The Lord is with me; I am okay.
Have you ever taken the time to try an settle into that? That the Lord is truly with you, not just looking at you from the heavens, but next to you? So close that you can hear His Heart beating? Have you ever stopped to really let yourself sit in that? There’s something so peaceful in knowing that I am protected, I am guided, I am noticed and I am missed when I’m gone. For the first time in my life this makes sense to me, and I believe it.
And something interesting is happening in my heart, as I find new joy and new rest in this place of safety. My heart starting to ache. It aches so bad and hurts so much, but in a different way from before. Before, my heart ached to be loved, to be safe. I was focused on taking care of me, how to get what I needed because I felt like I was lacking. Now, I know that I will be taken care of, that I will be okay, and my heart has the freedom to ache in a new way. I ache to pour myself out. I ache to give myself away. I desire to find where I can give myself fully and freely and without reserve. This ache burns much sweeter because it is the ache of a heart that is free.
My heart is free.
The most exciting thing about this is that I feel like I finally have the capacity to love the other people in my life again. I am no longer so consumed by my own insufficiency and lack that I cannot see those in my life that have needs of their own. Now I can see them, and I desire to serve them. What a glory it is to be free.
Because this is what our hearts are made for. We are made for love. We are made for communion and service and pouring out. We are too precious an oil to stay bottled up. We are to be poured out generously so that the perfume of our lives fills the whole room (John 12:3). This may seem wasteful, or reckless, but we are made to give in abundant recklessness. We are made to give ourselves away.
This ache is inside all of us. Do you recognize it? Have you felt it in yourself?
Or is there still something blocking your way? A place where you still feel insecure in love, unwanted, not enough? Is there a place where you’re scared to let the longing remain because you don’t know if it will be satisfied?
I still have those places too. I think we will always have those places, at least a little bit. But I’m learning the difference between hiding those places and bringing them into the light, saying “Jesus, I don’t trust You here. But I want to.” There is freedom in the light, and even if it is imperfect, God can bring His glory into that, too, and we can find rest there.
So here I am, with a new sense of peace and a new sense of settlement and a heart that aches with new freedom to chase the mission the Lord has put upon my life. I found that freedom by learning to let the Lord be my place of safety, my place of sufficiency, trying to found everything on the truth that He loves me and is with me. Out of that, I have freedom to love, to risk, to get it wrong and try again. And I think this is needed. If we are to live the lives we were meant to live, a life of self-giving and pouring out, we need to start here. If we’re not settled in the fact that we are loved, we cannot love. At least, we cannot love perfectly, fully, and unreservedly. We cannot love like Christ.
I want each and every one of you to have this freedom. My freedom is not perfect, but it is so much better than the life I have been living. I hope that as you read this today, something might resonate with you and that the Lord might use that to bring you to deeper freedom and joy.
We were made for joy, and I pray that you find it. Peace of Christ, friends.