This morning. Ugh.
I often struggle with recognizing my emotions. It takes others drawing them out of me most of the time (namely, my wife!), but this morning was different. As I was going through the routine of getting ready for work, jumping in the truck and driving to Starbucks for my morning coffee, I noticed a deep sense of discontent. I wish I could say that it was "Divine Discontent," but that just wasn't true. I felt disappointed, envious, lustful, angry, greedy. All of these emotions permeated my soul.
I didn't want to want to stay in that place, but I also knew that I couldn't just go through my "normal" routine. I tried reading a couple of devotional emails, but they only served to prove that I'm not the husband, father, brother, pastor, or believer that I want to be. Instead I noticed how far I was from how Scripture calls me to live and be.
Filled with inadequacy, I went for my journal and just started writing all of this out to Jesus. (Sometimes it is actually easier for me to write my prayers than to speak them out loud.) I confessed that I didn't deserve His grace; I confessed my weakness in trying to live or do anything right; and I told Him that I was just so consumed with this world and the desires I have for wanting to be fulfilled by everything else but Him.
I hesitated in my written prayer - knowing that I needed to ask for His comfort and encouragement - but feeling so unworthy to ask. He's already given me everything that I need. My very breath is His blessing, who am I to ask for anything more? He is after all, the God of the Cosmos. He's pretty busy keeping all of this stuff going, and I have nothing to offer to Him. On my best day, I do a poor job keeping my eyes fixed on Him.
In the past, I would stuff all of these emotions and look for other ways to quell the pain - the hunger and thirst for more - I would look at porn, I would watch TV for hours - anything to escape. But over the years, I am learning to just go to Him. The Bible says that He is sufficient for our needs. I've learned how to "sit in the funk" and allow Him to heal. I have to confess that I still don't do this often enough. I still try to stay busy or change the subject or do anything that I can to decrease the pain that I feel in this life. I know that it is only His grace that allows me to trust and obey Him, so I continued to pour out all of this negativity on the pages of my journal. I look now at the words I wrote and I can barely read them, they are so illegible - filled with angst and despair.
I needed comfort, someone to wrap their arms around me and tell me that it will be ok. When I feel this way, I really start to miss my mom. Moms are the one person in the whole world who will always affirm you. It has been over a decade since she passed, but these moments are the times when I miss her most.
As I looked at the bottom of the page of my journal that Michelle bought me for Valentine's three years ago, I noticed a verse. I never read the verses! I just write and don't think about it, but today my eyes scanned down to the bottom of the page and this is what I read, "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you. (Isaiah 66:13)."
I closed my eyes and began to shake. I covered my face with my hands to keep others from seeing how undone I had become in that moment. Tears began to flow, emptying my soul, but my heart began to fill with His love. I was overcome with the simple and profound comfort that our Father pours out on His children. I am no one, but He knows me. I have nothing to give, but He continues to give me everything that my heart longs for.
What permeated my soul only moments before was replaced with the Holy Spirit filling me with a most tangible expression of love. My heart filled with His goodness, His promises, His faithfulness, His gentleness, His peace...
I love Jesus. I am indebted to Him daily for the work that He has already done for me on the cross, but also for the way He leads us. I thought of the words of Peter in John's Gospel when Jesus asked the Twelve if they were also going to abandon Him because He asked His followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood. John 6:68-69 says,
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God."
I don't share any of this to show my goodness or faithfulness or how I've grown. I only share this detail of my daily life with you to point to the goodness of our Savior. I am no one important or special. I have no significance on my own, but He calls me His. I am His child, and our God does an amazing job caring for His children.
If you are overwhelmed, please trust Him. His Word proves Him faithful, and I'm daily seeing the proof of His promises fulfilled in my own life.
Thank you. Thank you, Father, for your simple, profound and eternal comfort and love.