Putting dreams aside… but not in the way you think

When we allow ourselves to be in that silence we dread and feel our poverty, that is when we can hear Him whisper the truth of Who He is and we can start to dare to hope that He means what He says when He promises to take care of us.

Have you ever had something that you really, really wanted? You try and try to get it and you ask the Lord over and over again for it, but nothing happens. There’s no answer. There’s no movement. There’s no progress whatsoever.

It’s really hard to accept that. If God loves me so much, why won’t He give me this thing that I really want? Why won’t He answer me? I would rather get anything from Him, even a no, than deal with this silence. Because in the silence I have to face the questions that underlie my distress and agitation. I would rather just get a no and move on instead of facing the fact that under all this asking and begging, I don’t really believe that He wants to give me this. I doubt that He sees me and hears my voice. I don’t know if He really cares.

Our desires make us face our poverty. The ache reminds us that we are not full, that we are weak and vulnerable, and that something is missing. And it further reminds us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to satisfy ourselves of it. When we try and force our way to our own happiness, when we take the reigns and try to make a grab at what we think will take care of us, we find instead that we are yet emptier still. What are we to do, then, when we discover this emptiness, when the wrestling and the fighting and the grabbing for what we want finally comes to an end and we are face to face with the depths of our desires and the emptiness of our hearts?

I’m currently learning how to answer that within my own life. I don’t know how to do it perfectly, and I don’t understand it all fully, but I have learned a few things. The first is that our desires go even deeper than the desire for the thing, the person, the situation that we’re praying for. Underneath those desires, we have a deeper desire for security, for love, for understanding. We have a desire for God. Sitting with my desires, naming them out loud in prayer, has helped me to acknowledge and welcome these deeper needs of my heart in a place that allows the Lord to sit in them with me.

And from that place, the Lord can help me understand the second thing. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the Lord wants to take care of us. He does care about our desires. His silence isn’t necessarily a no. The reason we may not be seeing the movement we want in this particular area of our life, in this thing that we want and that He might genuinely want to take care of for us, might just be because we’re holding onto it so tight that we can’t let go of our own vision for how we want that to happen. We cling so tight to our ideas of how we need to be taken care of, of the way we want God to work, and holding onto that frustration keeps us closed off from experiencing the way He actually wants to take care of us. Like the people of Galilee, our anger and obstinance keeps the Lord from performing the work He has come to do and in fact aches and longs to do for us.

But, when we allow ourselves to feel our own aches and longing that lie under that anger and express the truth about how deep and big and scary our desires are, that is when the Lord can do what He wants to do for us. That is when He can move and show Himself our God, our protector, our Father, and our friend. When we allow ourselves to be in that silence we dread and feel our poverty, that is when we can hear Him whisper the truth of Who He is and we can start to dare to hope that He means what He says when He promises to take care of us.

I have a lot of desires stirring up in my heart, some of which I have been holding captive for a long time. Usually I end up getting frustrated and try to find either a reason why I’m not getting what I want or desperately searching for ways to find a solution myself. But maybe I can start trying to let them go instead of fixating on them, start actually trusting them to the Lord and allow Him to reassure me of His love and care in these matters that are so close to my heart. Maybe I can let them go, not to give them up, not to reduce them, but so that the Lord can have the space to do what He needs to do. And even more, so that He can do what He desires to do.

If you have some desires that you hold close to your heart, desires that maybe you’re holding out against the Lord in subtle (or not so subtle) resentment, I hope you might find something useful from these words. I love you, I’m praying for you. Keep going, sisters.