I wish I had some kind of amazing analogy to start off this entry; something insightful and brilliant that would change the world, something that would light up a million light bulbs, but I don’t. Diving right into my heart, the deeper I get into God, the more I realize that “I” have absolutely nothing worth offering; all “I” have to offer is what God has given me, after all, “I am insignificant” (Psalm 119:14). Regardless, God chooses to use me, the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15-17), to display His glory; He lets me see His miraculous works, saving grace, and unending love. Of this, I am undeserving.
What amazes me even more is, despite all of this privilege and forgiveness, I still want more. I find things and people and activities to temporarily sustain this God-shaped hole that will never be truly satisfied unless I allow the Creator of the hole to fill it. This is human. And it is our human-ness that continues to not only separate us from God, but from the entity which connects us to God: our hearts. When we find nouns that become more important than our relationship with God, those nouns become our drug; we crave it because it feels good at that moment and even if it only lasts for a moment, it’s worth it because it’s tangible. But for many of us, myself included, these “drugs” don’t become addicting just because we’re bored. These addictions (which can be anything we choose instead of investing in our relationship with God) serve to cover up pain. This pain, which ironically is usually a product of replacing God, creates a fear of being hurt again, specifically by God. When we are hurt, we put up walls and make mental notes to ensure we never let that pain penetrate again. We keep people and, most importantly God, at a distance, thinking that, “If they don’t get too close to me, they can’t hurt me as much.” I know this defense mechanism all too well.
Contrary to our automatic-human-defenses, shutting down makes things worse (I also know this all too well). The truth is that 1) God is a loving father who hates to see His children in pain and 2) He is the only one who can heal the pain, you just have to let Him. The addictions to cover up the pain will never ever satisfy because your heart thirsts for an eternal quench.
“The ways we find to numb our aches, our longings, and our pain are not benign. They are malignant. They entangle themselves in our souls like a cancer and, once attached, become addictions that are cruel and relentless. Though we seek them out for a little relief from the sorrows of life, addictions turn on us and imprison us in chains that separate us from the heart of God and others as well. It is a lonely prison of our own making, each chain forged in the fire of our indulgent choice. Yet, “Our lovers have so intertwined themselves with our identity that to give them up feels like personal death…We wonder if it is possible to live without them” (The Sacred Romance).
We need not to be ashamed that our hearts ache; that we need and thirst and hunger for much more. All of our hearts ache. All of our hearts are at some level unsatisfied and longing. It is our insatiable need for more that drives us to our God. What we need to see is that all our controlling and our hiding, all our indulging, actually serves to separate us from our hearts…And the substitutes never, ever resolve the deeper issue of our souls” (Captivating).
The only way to release yourself from the chains of the addictions that hold you down is to let God do it for you. Is it easier said than done? Absolutely. But find peace in this:
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
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Other devotions by Amanda: