(This blog is kind of spiritual successor to the one from last week about idols. It explains some of the mechanics of how seeking a life outside of God steals the joy and peace that He wants to give us. I hope you life it.)
“We have lived in fear, and our fear has betrayed us.” – The Oh Hello’s
We all have a deep fear that we will miss out on experiencing a full life. That fear may have many different expressions, but it’s the same basic fear. This fear brings a great deal of anxiety into our lives and makes us desperate to find anything to get us closer to that full life.
That combination of fear and desperation betray us because they lead us away from finding life in God.
This fear tends to lead us away from God because it tells us that God could’ve already given us a full life if He wanted to. That leads us to thinking that we need to take matters into our own hands if we want a full life. Getting a full life is really hard though and each passing day feels like we’re losing a little bit of our chance to achieve it.
That’s usually when desperation starts to creep in and if we it that desperation will slowly grow into a powerful force in our lives.
Desperation creates this kind of tunnel vision that makes us obsessed with getting closer to a full life. Other things in our life become less important because our chance of getting them isn’t slowly decreasing. That’s why many of us choose to focus on things like marriage or success instead of God.
We think to ourselves that we’ll have time to develop our relationship with God after we get that full life and in the worst-case scenario we get to spend eternity with Him. I would never tell a friend to shelve an important relationship until they get a raise or find the perfect guy to marry. I still catch myself ignoring God in order to pursue marriage or my career.
I pursue these things because I don’t think I can experience a full life without them. That means most of my focus stays on them throughout the day and not on God. When that happens, I miss out on everything that God wants to give me.
God wants to give all of us joy, peace, and love and we can’t experience those if our focus is on what we don’t have.
I love hanging out with close friends and having deep conversations about our lives. If my fear of never getting married distracts me while hanging out with those friends, I won’t get to actually enjoy that time together. The same is true in our relationship with God.
I’ve spent large parts of quality sermons thinking about whom I want to date and have zoned out during worship to think about my writing career. Both of those happen pretty often because I’m afraid that I will miss out on a full life if I don’t get married or have a successful writing career. That fear betrays me because it distracts me from the one relationship that can actually give me a full life, my relationship with God.
The only times I break free from the distraction of fear and desperation are when I humble myself and lay my heart before God. When I open up to Him in prayer about what I think I need for a full life, fear and desperation lose their grip on me. During those times, the clouds roll back and His joy and peace break through.
A big part of humbling ourselves comes from admitting that we can’t achieve a full life on our own and that we need God for that. That admission opens the way for making our relationship with God the one thing that we need and that approach will inevitably lead to unimaginable joy and peace. I have never regretted a single time when I made God ultimate in my life and put everything else second.
In those times, my fear turns into peace because getting a full life relies on an all powerful God who loves me instead of the fickle circumstances of this world. I know this is easier said than done because I still struggle with this problem all the time. I have to lay open my heart before God EVERY DAY or the clouds of fear and desperation block out a good deal of the joy and peace that God wants to give me.
Can you believe that the God of the Universe really does love you unconditionally and WANTS to give you more joy and peace than you can imagine? What would that truth change your life or heart if you believed it?
Image by: tresdetresby