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”The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (ESV)
Yet, we DO want. We want more and more and more.
This was one of the scriptures on my list to study when I was trying to heal from my Depression a few months back. I desperately needed to work on some mindsets, and when I came to this scripture I remember being open and honest with God and saying…
but I don’t FEEL that.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
But God, it feels like I’m dying.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
God, I’m gonna need you to restore me.
I cannot do this myself.
He leads me to paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
(which is exactly what depression or pain can sometimes feel like)
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
I remember vividly not FEELING this at all. Our feelings don’t always align with God and his words. Our feelings can betray us. We have to decide to trust God even when we’re not feeling it. Even when our circumstances don’t make sense.
I want to share with you a few excerpts from the book I’m currently reading (In Want and Plenty by Meredith McDaniel) because it is blowing my mind with how seen I feel when I’m reading it. She is a counselor, and every time I read it, it feels like a therapy session in a book. I’m reading, re-reading, pausing to think… it’s that good:
What if we gazed up at our Maker, locked eyes with him, and trusted that what He has in store for us and our people is actually best?
What if we believed that He is already providing for us nonstop, even in the midst of our chaotic circumstances that make no logical sense to us?
She inserts questions into the book for the readers to ask ourselves…
What do you want? Like what is it that you REALLY want?
I don’t know about you, but I want to love who God created me to be and know that I was not an accident but that a well-meaning, intentional Creator handcrafted every gift and quirk of my being. I want to find calm in the chaos of every season and live freely and confidently in who I am.
I want to feel richly connected to friends and family and strangers alike, with a profound knowing that we are all in this broken world together.
Recognizing that we were made for something more, I want to be deeply rooted with a firm foundation I can stand on no matter what storm comes my way.
I want to be compelled to look beyond myself and love others out of an overflow that simply cannot be contained.
I want to be known and loved just as I am and live out the purpose I was created for right now.
That kind of wholeness is what we were made for.
However, we all know that every day there seems to be something else that makes people want to give up and reject all they know to be true.
You guys, when I was trying to come out of the depression I was struggling with, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
One little thing gone wrong, could derail my entire day. Again. And I would sit back in my chair and wonder why this little, tiny thing would affect me so much. We’re talking normal things… a simple mess or someone asking for socks. (I don’t know what it is with socks… it’s like a recurring trigger for me.)
There’s the belief that, as God’s people, we are to be obedient and to pretend like we have it all together.
But it is OKAY to be sad in the longing, and it’s even okay to expose our pain.
We innocently use verses like Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”) as ammo to fuel our hardworking mentality. Many days we go through life denying that there is a deeper problem beneath the surface. We tend to suppress the loud longing and live blissfully ignorant within the rat race of our jobs, schools, and families. We simple cannot work hard enough to ease the pain we feel. The truth is that we are not enough; we need Someone greater than us to rescue us and do what only He can do.
I have realized this so much to be true in my own life. I’ve always been taught how to pray scripture or apply it to my situations… to find a verse that speaks to me about what I’m dealing with and claim it over that thing.
But the thing is – this takes TIME and intentional effort.
I apologize for this gory illustration, but…
You cannot take a gash or an open wound, simply place a band-aid on it, and call it good.
(That’s what I was doing with scripture. I’d find one that fit and basically just call it good, be done with it for the time being.)
If you’ve got a large wound, you’ve got to first clean it. Get out all of the dirt and germs.
Find the root of what’s causing the hurt in your life.
Why do the “little things” feel like such big things?
What’s the underlying cause of your feelings of pain and longing?
Then, you’ve got to apply a healing salve… the good stuff that’s going to soak in and give comfort and healing to the wound or situation.
This comes in the form of scripture, because Yes, it IS powerful, if you use it in the right way.
It’s not a quick fix. You have to meditate on it, soak it in, ponder it, ask yourself questions about it, get in deep with it, and let it transform your thinking. That’s how it’s intended to work in your life.
And also, sometimes, you’ve got to change out the bandage, clean it up again, and apply a new one. Let the new salve (or new scripture) soak in and transform your wound, bring it all together into healing.
We were made for more than this inability to enjoy the moment and the gifts right before us due to our stubborn focus on what is missing.
We simply cannot fill the hole in our hearts that we are born with, no matter how hard we try.
We all long to live once again in the bliss of garden-like innocence with all of its abundance, yet we each await heaven in this in-between space called Earth, craving what is still to come. Meanwhile, in the desert places God says, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” (Ex. 16:4) They named this bread manna.
They were desperate for nourishment, but when God provided it, they had many doubts and questions. Manna reveals the intentional love of our Creator, who uniquely tailors provision for his people out of his deep knowing of our personalities. Manna is a smile from a stranger. Manna is a child catching fireflies. Manna is a salty breeze. Manna is a check in the mail. Manna is God’s love. Manna stuns us in our steps. Manna reminds us that God is near, no matter what is happening around us. Manna prompts us to see the reality that God loves us and can be trusted, even when our circumstances or the state of our heart may beg to differ. When we are ready to throw in the towel and say enough is enough, God gently extends grace in the form of manna and proves that he is indeed more than enough.
Can we look for God’s manna for us in our lives today? Can we find his simple reminders of provision and that He’s truly got this? Can we trust that He’s working behind the scenes for us? Can we believe that He has our best interests at heart, even if we don’t really FEEL it right now?
What is it that you want?