Chaos of Singleness and Marriage

A pastor and mentor is working his way through a sermon series on chaos. This past week was about chaos within marriage and asked if I would provide a perspective on singleness along these lines. The following is my response:
Our culture (and the church is not immune) is prone to elevate marriage or—in lieu of marriage—sexual fulfillment to the level of God.  But what happens when we elevate the pursuit of something over the pursuit of God? We were made to pursue his love, not the love of man. When we pursue anything other than the love we were intended to pursue, chaos ensues. We meet our brokenness head on. It doesn’t work. (I think that came through so clearly in your thoughts yesterday and I am grateful for it. It’s a word we all need and often!)
In the marriages of friends (or divorces of some), I’ve watched expectations that can only be fulfilled by God’s perfect love destroy what is there. The grass is not greener for my married friends—it’s just different grass. I may feel longing in wanting a companion to share things with or children to raise to love God. I may feel loneliness or feel forgotten. This is the burden I carry as a single woman. But this is one side of a coin.
On the other side, my married sisters also experience loneliness or feel forgotten within the bounds of their marriage. They have been blessed with husbands and children, yes, but that season carries it’s own hurts and burdens. They daily hurt and are hurt by their best friend and are constantly trying to extend grace and accept forgiveness and maintain love for that person despite this. Their desires are thwarted by helpless babies and willful toddlers that know no better than selfishness.
These are not the challenges of my world, but they are in fact challenges that I must remember to hold compassion for. Just because those in other seasons have blessings we do not, it does not mean we can ignore the burdens we are meant to carry for one another. It’s easy to forget the chaos others experience when we are consumed with our own.
In my own life, chaos can look like a lot of worry and a lot of anger. If God does not provide a partner for me, then will my life be valuable? Will I find community as my married friends fulfill their search for couple friends, for kids, for friends with kids, etc? What happens when my parents have passed on? What happens when I am old and my health declines and I do not have my own children to care for me? On and on it goes in the neurotic mind of this late-twenty something. I can become angry that I have devoted myself to God and his word and he has not provided the desires of my heart. I come to Him as a consumer rather than a worshiper and of course find dissonance where I expected I would get my way.
In the elevation of romantic or sexual love over the love of God in a church community, chaos can reign supreme. Couples and families are served—as they should be—but often this elevation of the nuclear family leaves the single, divorced, or widowed out of the community wondering if there is even a place for them. We do not look outside those of our own demographic to bring them into our homes, around our tables, or into our hearts because we do not see them. But the gospel—and ergo the church universal—does not exclude anyone. The body of Christ is so much the better when we embrace those different from our situation in life because we are united in Christ.
Families who have done this for me have provided the connection and stability I crave that is often absent when I am on my own. In turn, I am able to give another voice for their children, another walk with Christ to observe. I am able to challenge norms and bring a passion that has been lost in the shuffle of getting everyone between school, small groups, and sports practices.
I have received many a glimpse of singles who want to hold anger and point a finger at how the church has “forgotten” them. (I have been so guilty of this myself). It can be hurtful. It can be isolating. It takes a lot of risk to find a place in a community made for nuclear families made up of both husband and wife when you are outside of that.
So here is the ultimate question—the question not just in this type of chaos, but in all chaos: What is the telos here? What is the ultimate goal?  Is it to consume the love of man that I so often demand? To expect my relationships to fulfill me regardless of what I might or might not pour into them? Or is it to receive and extend the love of God? To live into and out of my kingdom identity?
The truth of Galatians is so clear here: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are people in need of God’s love and made to extend that toward one another: wives to husbands, husbands to wives, Christian brothers and sisters towards one another regardless of marital relationship, financial status, or season in life.
So I can rest in the love of God knowing he is a God who provides—if not a husband, then a community of believers—a God who sees—my longings, hurts, and weaknesses and loves me anyway—and a God who wants me to value him over all else—and patiently pursues my heart in this with tenderness. I was not created to consume, but created to love. He values my holiness over my happiness and it is in pursuing holiness that I find myself whole.
And this may not result in a husband. But it will result in a deeper knowledge and love of my father—a fulfillment of my purpose.
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Love Vs. Loneliness

When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.
—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Reading Joy Beth Smith’s book on singleness, Party of One, I was pleasantly surprised when she slammed on the brakes after quoting this passage from Chambers that oft gets thrown at singles. “On this point, Mr. Chambers, I humbly disagree,” she writes. I didn’t even know we were allowed to disagree with Chambers!

It is easy to assume that because one is single, one also must be lonely. And that is true. But I do not think it is true because a person is single. I know plenty of married people that woke up one morning to find themselves lonelier than they ever were on their own. It would be so easy for me in moments of great longing to believe that if I were only in a relationship, this longing within me would be gone. But I know that’s a lie.

I think we get lonely because we are broken people in a broken world and loneliness is part of that bag.

I have been so fascinated by a thought from Mike Cosper’s latest, Recapturing the Wonder. He says, “We long for wonder, and we long for communion with God.” Building off a commentary of the fall from Matthew Myer Bolton’s God Against Religion, Cosper continues, “Genesis 3 isn’t fundamentally a story about broken rules but broken communion.”

How powerfully does that change our perspective of the Biblical narrative if we understand that the first sin was mankind deciding we were better off without communion—our relationship—with God? We see throughout scripture a God uncompromisingly after restored relationship with his children—his covenant with Abraham about the nation of Israel—a people of God and for God. God introducing himself to Israel on Mt. Sinai, giving them ground rules in order to have a semblance of relationship with him and a chance to pursue holiness. The ultimate coming of Jesus giving us a taste of what that unbroken communion with God is supposed to be like. Even his last supper—a picture of what he was about to do on the cross—what we now commemorate through communion—was a gathering of people around a table to relate and bear-witness with one another.

God has been after relationship with us from the beginning. He is relentless in his pursuit of that. But in order to save his people from broken communion for eternity, Jesus had to do something drastic and amazing. He had to come as a man and die in our place. And what did that mean? Complete separation from God on the cross.

Smith builds her rebuttal to the Chambers quote, “If nothing else, my singleness has taught me that you can be lonely and exhausted and in need of sympathy— even with God. Even Jesus felt this way, and in the days and moments leading to his crucifixion, we see this played out. I can think of no greater loneliness than hanging on a cross, dying for a world that despises you, and then feeling forsaken by the Father who sent you, but— glory be!— loneliness and exhaustion did not cause Jesus to crumble.”

On this side of heaven, we cannot escape loneliness. Single, married, parent, friend, child, elder—I don’t care what relationship you are a participant in, there will be moments, sometimes seasons, of loneliness. It’s part of our humanity. But how shall we respond to such deep and nagging longings?

Having an earthly relationship with Jesus does not mean I will never be lonely. (In fact, in some of my circles, I feel a loneliness because of my relationship with Jesus.)

Instead, I have come to learn that when I come to Jesus with my relational longings, he does not always meet the need relationally.  When I have come to Jesus longing for human relationship, I have found that I am more in need of an invitation. Time in prayer and meditation in the word has become a sweet invitation to behold who he is and what he’s done in love. Loneliness is often an invitation into trust promise of the perfect communion to come.

The voice that rings from the Bible is the voice of the one we long to hear from, long to know, long to find our rest in.
—Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder

Most Read Blog Posts of 2017

This year has probably been the most rewarding when it comes to blogging. I have loved the conversations many of you have started with me based of what I’ve written and I’m so grateful.
Here are 5 of the top posts from this year:

1. The Metaphor and Blood-and-Guts Reality

For the last nine months I’ve been wrestling over the question, “If marriage never happens for me, will I be okay?”

And the answer varies day-to-day, I’ll be honest. But it struck me the other morning in a big way. I was lamenting the fact that I may never experience that kind of intimacy and then a new thought emerged. Maybe I was very wrong.

Continue Reading…

2. Marriage, Idolatry, And The Church

Once upon a time, I was very passionately involved in the purity culture that was so active in the late nineties and early two thousands. I had kissed dating good bye and embraced authentic femininity with Jesus as my prince charming. (And I have lots of thoughts about that time in my life, but that’s a different blog post.) There was so much teaching I subjected myself to that were, frankly, lies verging on spiritual abuse.

We were taught—and many are still taught—that we need to be sexually pure for the sake of our future spouse—not for the sake of godliness or obedience. But what if there is no spouse ahead? Then what was the point?

Continue Reading…

3.What I Wish the Church Had Taught Me about Singleness By Gina Dalfonzo

When I was in my mid-20s, I started work at a place where one of my colleagues was a 40-year-old single woman. She was a very nice woman—good at her job, easy to talk to, and pleasant to work with. But—true confession time—for a long time I felt a little bit freaked out whenever she was around.

Why? It’s hard and embarrassing to explain. Frankly, I’m ashamed when I look back at my own naïve and immature frame of mind. I felt freaked out simply because she was single and 40—and there were not many voices in my life telling me that this was a good or even an okay thing.

Continue Reading…

4.What’s on Your Summer Reading List?

I could review a book I’ve read…OR I could share with you what some lovely bookish ladies in my life are reading this summer. I am so excited about what is on my reading list for the next couple months and I knew a few people who would be equally excited about their own list.

The following are the five books on the summer reading lists of a series of folks in the writing and publishing world! I have linked to all of them so can check out these titles and add them to your own list.

Continue Reading…

5. I’m Cranky and I Know It

If I were to describe my relationship with faith and the church in this season of my life, I think there is an overarching theme that would emerge: I’m cranky.

There are parts of what I’ve grown up with that feel like a sweater I’ve grown out of—the hem doesn’t meet my jeans any longer and the sleeves are tight around my upper arms and it just feels uncomfortable. I read a book on spiritual formation for women and I wonder why so much of it is based on feelings and why it had to be directed at women instead of all of us. I leave a church service feeling grippy about the amount of first-person-personal-pronouns used in so many Christian songs today. I cross my arms feeling like I will never be respected or taken seriously in an evangelical community unless I am married with children.

Continue Reading…

Reflections at the Close of Ordinary Time

I’m a Baptist born and bred, but I have begun observing the liturgical calendar within this year. There is something grounding in reading the Bible seasonally alongside believers around the world.

This week—the week before Advent—marks the end of Ordinary Time, a portion of the liturgical calendar I didn’t even know existed. This season is not named because the season is average or boring. Instead, it is named for the latin word ordo from which we get our word “order.” It is a season of ordered life in the church—neither feasting or fasting, but faithful watchfulness for Advent.

There has been something resonant as I have read about the journey of Israel out of Egypt, or David’s path to the throne. Israel had escaped their season of suffering, but had not yet arrived  in the promise land (this was pre-40-years-of-wandering). David had been promised the throne by God, but Saul was not ready to hand it over. These were times of hope ahead, but also mourning was at bay for a moment.

And we know how things turned out. Israel had to wait longer than expected to take the promise land. David had to run and hide lest he be killed before he even go close to fulfilling his calling. But for a time, there was a time of faithful trust—a stewardship to be where God had placed them despite the average order of that time.

I find myself in a season of neither great joy or mourning, neither change or stagnancy, neither stressful or restful. My season in life is in and of itself an Ordinary Time. So what do I do in this time?

Honestly, I don’t totally know. I feel a little guilty not experiencing anything too traumatic or going through a huge life transition after a season of seemingly endless transition. I know this isn’t the case for most of you. But in a season to be marked by faithfulness, how does one seek to cultivate that faithfulness.

It looks like making space and time for practices that make me more like Jesus. It looks like reimagining a Sabbath focused more on reflection over my week and the week ahead and less like focusing on the inside of my eyelids. It looks like serving in and pursuing a community that is broken, but still where I am called to be. It looks like finding new ways to express gratitude. It looks like learning to lament with those who mourn and celebrate with those who are joyful.

According to Eugene Peterson, it’s long obedience in the same direction.

There is an order in this time in my life—a call to stay the course and faithfully look forward to whatever God may have ahead. I can so easily look at what has passed and want to dwell on its pain or cling to its victories. I can desperately race to what I think the future should hold for me, attempting to grasp or control.

Or I can do what is hard. I can dwell in the season God has placed me in for his purposes. Faithfulness and hope. That is what is being cultivated in these days.

As Ordinary Time comes to a close, there is an excitement to moving in to Advent. There is also the reminder to enjoy and rest in the order of my current days. I do not know what lies ahead, but God can be trusted in the order.

How has God met you in the Ordinary seasons of your life?

Who Am I?

Existentialism aside, I think this is something we all ask and it seems like a pretty foundational question. And once it’s answered, we usually live out from the answer.

“If this is who I am, this is how I will act in relationships.” “If these are my gifts, then this is the calling God has for me.” “If this is what I’m feeling, then this is how I should move forward.”

But here’s the problem with that line of thinking:

“If this is how my dreams/ hopes/ desires/ demands are being thwarted, then God must not be for me or just doesn’t even exist.”

Escalated quickly, yes?

I think we have embarked on our search for identity wrong. And we may “know” we are to find our identity in Christ, but do we really by-heart know it?

I was recently introduced to a line of questioning by my small group leader, but this was adapted from Jeff Vanderstelt. Here’s the order in which I usually ask these questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. So how do I respond?
  3. What did God do for me?
  4. Then who is God?

But how unfortunate is that? My self-view and behavior have no bearing over who God is and what he’s done!

For example, when I was once passed over for a professional role I had thrown my hat in the ring for, I was trying to re-examine some goals. Who was I? I was a failure and probably not meant to be where God had placed me. How was I to respond? Hide, of course! I had failed and been rejected and could not let people know I was a fraud! What did God do? He had placed me here to reveal my inadequacy. Then who is God? He’s trying to teach me a lesson about not feeling too confident in my abilities.

…There’s a lie in there somewhere. Maybe more than one.

If I truly want to understand who I am, I need to flip my understanding of myself on its head. This often means flipping my frame of understanding around:

  1. Who is God?
  2. What did God do for me?
  3. So how do I respond?
  4. Then who am I?

When these questions are answered in the proper order, I am able to live out of the story of the gospel, rather than the story of selfishness I am trying to tell on my own. Living out of the gospel gives me and outward and upward perspective, rather than trying to satisfy my inward longings.

Let’s look at that same scenario:

Who is God? He is my father and creator. What has he done for me? He as saved me and covered me in his righteousness because of his great love for me. How to I respond? I trust that what he has for me is best in both success and failure. Then who am I? I am dearly loved and no good thing has been withheld from me.

With these questions in a proper order, my view of God and view of self are also ordered properly. From there, I can respond out of truth and walk forward in faith despite the hurt of my circumstances.

Which set of questions are we living out of and how is that effecting our friendships, families, marriages, vocations, and even our self-talk?

The first question may be, “Who are you?”, but the second question must be, “How are you going to answer that?”

I’m Cranky And I Know It

If I were to describe my relationship with faith and the church in this season of my life, I think there is an overarching theme that would emerge: I’m cranky.

There are parts of what I’ve grown up with that feel like a sweater I’ve grown out of—the hem doesn’t meet my jeans any longer and the sleeves are tight around my upper arms and it just feels uncomfortable. I read a book on spiritual formation for women and I wonder why so much of it is based on feelings and why it had to be directed at women instead of all of us. I leave a church service feeling grippy about the amount of first-person-personal-pronouns used in so many Christian songs today. I cross my arms feeling like I will never be respected or taken seriously in an evangelical community unless I am married with children.

Mostly, I notice my brokenness in all of this complaining and discontent.

A cycle of frustration and guilt, frustration and guilt, frustration and guilt has marked my days and I have had trouble reconciling the tension. So many prayers asking for contentment, or better attitudes, or anything to resolve the itchy, too-tight feeling I feel in my faith communities. Because, let’s be honest, I am the common denominator in these spheres.

It wasn’t until listening to two friends talk through one’s frustrating family situation that I began to find some hope.

“I’m just becoming so aware of my brokenness in all of this,” my one friend said, a little teary.

“But just think,” our friend responded, “He loves you too much to not make you aware of this. He wants you to know this is in you, and he’s singing over you with grace in this struggle. He won’t leave you here.”

I almost started sobbing right there. Because I felt this—I hadn’t known it before that moment, but this was what I had been aching for.

God loves us so much that he has covered us in his own righteousness that we can come before the Father without fear. And how much more does he loves us that he takes us just as we are, but also steps in to heal our broken places.

He is not looking for me to heal my broken, cranky places. Of that, I am incapable. He is making me more aware of them so that I bring them to him. To sit with him, seeking more of him. To behold over behave.

My purpose is not to fix the church. That is for God to do. I am part of the church—a very broken part at that. My purpose is to sit and let him work on me, surrendering how I think things should be—how I think I should be. To let him sing over me in grace so that I may walk out into the world with that same grace to give.

He confronts us with our brokenness not to shame us into submission. He wades into our broken places to demonstrate his grace and sing over us with love. It’s through grace and love that our broken places are made whole.

Leading a Romantic Life When You’re not in a Romance

One of the pleasures of seeking contentment in the season I’m in has been pursuing a romantic life over a life filled with romance.

What does that even mean? Great question!

My evenings are not filled with dates very often, but that does not mean that I need to wait to experience beautiful and exciting things—a thought-trap I think we can fall into when waiting for romantic love.

That’s a lie! Why wait to experience the beauty life has to offer until one is in a relationship?

I cannot tell you the joy I have found in visiting the local botanical gardens with just myself and a journal, in planning vacations with dear friends, in sitting in my favorite hotel lobby with a good book and cup of tea.

I live in a city that begs to be explored and while some of that exploration would be fun to do as a date night, why should I miss out when I find myself alone? Why should any of us.

Pursuing a romantic life means making time for the things that bring me pleasure. It means stopping to enjoy created beauty. It’s exploring the small things that make up a life that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Here’s what this looks like for me:

    • Traveling Europe alongside close friends.
    • Spending an evening in with nothing to do but drink a cup of tea and listen to the poetry of a new record.
    • Taking myself on a coffee date.
    • Doing nothing but read for an entire weekend.
    • Bringing a journal to the local botanical gardens for a morning of prayer and reflection.
    • Driving hours just to go to see my favorite band play in concert.
    • Re-reading my favorite book from childhood each summer
    • Wearing heels and the brightest red lipstick I can find because it makes me feel like an old Hollywood actress.
    • Making last minute plans with a friend to talk about the real stuff over wine.

And it’s not just enjoying what I know I like, but pushing myself to experience the new and different, and maybe slightly uncomfortable. I have plans to take myself out to dinner. I’m starting to dream up a trip to take by myself.

Living a romantic life is participating, not in the life you dreamed of, but the pretty-damn-beautiful life you’ve been gifted. It’s taking note of the glorious and grand in the midst of the minute and mundane.

This has been my adventure and I want to hear about yours. How are you pursuing a romantic life?

Heartburn and Heart Yearn

 

A couple months ago, I was preparing to leave on a writer’s retreat with some dear friends—a gathering that has become a beloved tradition at the start of every summer.

I ran to the grocery store to pick up the food items I was bringing for the weekend and I took a call from a friend while in the store. My shopping list was on my phone, but I figured I could freewheel it.

I had a great conversation with my friend, ran trough the check out with my items, took my coupons from the cashier (excited I had earned two instead of just one!) and left for home.

Half-way through the drive I realized I had forgotten the chicken breast—a key ingredient in grilled chicken. I decided not to turn around—chances were I would have to return to the store again before I was done packing.

Putting away the groceries, I found my not-one-but-two coupons at the bottom of a bag and was disappointed to find that they were both for heartburn medication. Not the buy-one-get-one ice cream coupon a bunch of friends had been talking about getting. I thought it was sadly funny and continued to prepare for the weekend.

After dinner, I ran to the store once more to pick up travel-sized soap and chicken breast. Again I managed to forget the chicken breast.

But guess what I came home with? A third heartburn medication coupon! Now it was just getting cruel. I have not yet had to experience the joy of heartburn. And, for the most part, the coupons from this store are based on your purchases…so what was in this soap that causes heartburn?!

Finally at eleven o’clock that night, I went to the store a third time along with a friend. This time I left with the chicken breast and my friend left with a buy-one-get-one ice cream coupon. Guess what coupon I got?

Yeah. 30% off heartburn medication.

And I had to laugh thinking back on this the other day because how much of my life is like this?

I didn’t go to the store to get coupons for heartburn medication or pints of ice cream for that matter. I went for chicken!

There are so many season in life where I have looked at what others are getting, upset with what I’ve been given all while missing the entire point. There are things that my heart wants that it is not getting, but in the midst of that, am I pursuing what my heart needs? (And no, I don’t mean chicken breasts!)

I confess that I loose site of the kingdom so often, caught up in hustling, achieving, and competing. Trying to have it all so often becomes the name of my game rather than slowing down and taking in what I really need: Jesus.

But once I have what I really need, what I want starts to change. What I was striving for starts to matter less and the circumstances I’m not pleased about become secondary. When my heart yearn is aligned where it needs to be, my longings begin to reflect the kingdom in proper ways.

Daily Graces

I was recently reminded of a blog post that posed the question, “What’s saving your life right now?” The lovely Anne Bogel talked about how we so easily can get caught up in that situation or feeling that is “killing us”, but how often do we recount the things that are saving us?

This was a great concept to think on as I find myself in a mid-season slump—the newness of summer has worn off, everything I look forward to is too distantly in the future to do anything about, and things have just slowed down. It’s not a bad season. It’s one that’s calling me to faithfulness and reordering.

I love summer—the slower pace, the great weather, all the opportunities to enjoy my people and my city. But so often, I forget about these things and instead get caught up in busy-ness, producing, and just plain discontent. I spend my time paying attention to that which is burdensome and ignore the daily graces that abound.

So here’s a short list of the daily graces I’m choosing to appreciate this week:

Good books

My July is a little slower than my June and August and it’s been a great chance to tackle my ever-growing to-be-read list. I’ve had a great time digging into Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter and Jamie Smith’s You Are What You Love. Next up? I’m breaking into my first Steven King novel—it’s so about time.

Tea

It’s no secret I have a tea problem. In attempting to carve out space for liturgy and good habits in my daily life. Starting the day with tea forces me to slow down my morning. It also gives me motivation to get up with the alarm rather than pressing snooze for the fifth-time.

Taking the time to make the tea and then enjoy the tea helps give shape and perspective for the rest of the day. It’s a little reminder to take a moment and acknowledge the one who made the tea leaves and the morning and think on who my day belongs to.

Frequent Writing Time

I’m getting better a making time for my writing during a given week. I’m not great at it, but better counts for something! I’ve been so refreshed and challenged by the editing process and it’s been really satisfying.
I think any creative outlet for even the smallest amount of time brings the refreshment one needs in a hum-drum season. It’s life-giving.

This Playlist

Just click here. Happy music makes for happy summers.

Women’s Work

Tsh Oxenreider has been hosting a great series on her podcast, The Simple Show. “Women’s Work” is a series exploring the work of artists, entrepreneurs and other great women who are doing what they love in a creative manner. I have learned so much as a storyteller and professional and it’s only half-way through the series. Worth the listen!

Fresh Fruit

One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh things you can buy so easily from local sources! Cherries have been great this year and we’ve done so much with strawberries in our house—it’s been great! Over the weekend, I made a salad topped with peaches and goat cheese—definitely a new favorite.

 

What daily graces are you dwelling on right now? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Made for Elsewhere

freestocks-org-157863Being honest here. Being embarrassingly, shamefully honest: I expect a lot out of a new article of clothing.

There is a small part of my mind that thinks (and I wish I was not telling the truth here!) that maybe with the right jeans, or dress, or shoes, maybe everything will finally be okay. Maybe with that new pencil skirt, I’ll find professional fulfillment. Maybe with the right cut of jeans, he’ll ask me out. Maybe the perfect heels will actually satisfy.

And I know I’ve discussed this a little before, but just because I wrote about it doesn’t mean I solved it.

Here’s what I know: the lies we believe manifest themselves differently in different stages of life. I may feel more secure in my appearance, but there were other insecurities that were able to take a front seat in its place as soon as that began to vacate.

My good friend Bruce was right on when he sang that we all have a hungry heart.

We all have that thing. Yours may not be clothes. Yours may be attention, or food, or relationships, or travel. We all have something in our lives that we are trying to make satisfy that aching place.

Folding my laundry this week, I looked at the tangle of warm jeans and had to shake my head. This was just fabric. It is incapable of doing anything but covering my body. It provides nothing but warmth.

Nothing on this earth is meant to satisfy my insecurities or desires. Nothing is going to bring the level of satisfaction I ache for. Nothing is going to assure me that I’m beautiful or worthy of love.

Certainly a pair of jeans isn’t going to do any of that.

 

One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

We ache for so much that will never be experienced this side of heaven. We battle brokenness daily. Seasons of darkness can weigh so heavily. We were not made for here. We were not made for this insecurity and toil and pain.

We were made to be satisfied and secure. To be completely fulfilled. To be happy.

For everything we will not have here, we do have love. We are so completely and incredibly loved. And it is because of that love that we can experience fulfillment, security, and happiness.

But only from the source—Jesus Christ.

I have gone for too long feeling like food didn’t taste as good as it could, relationships were not as fulfilling as they should, conversations were not as satisfying as I wanted. Everything was falling short.

And everything should be falling short.

It is only when I am seeking my fulfillment in Christ that life is put in its proper place. I am able to give to my relationships and receive all that is there. I am able to be fully engaged in conversations. My work is satisfying in a proper way. My clothing takes a proper place as mere material.

When we are rooted where we were meant to be, life takes on the deep meaning it was meant to have. We serve out of confidence and security. We give out of a pure heart and generous spirit. We love out of humility and selflessness.

meme-2_20