Do you ever feel like you have saturated yourself so much with God that you’ve missed Him altogether?
A Thesaurus for a Bruised Heart
My friends are smart. When I recently posed the question ‘what’s one word for feeling lied to?’, they unanimously responded-deceived. They must actually press shift and F7 to look up words when typing. Defined as “to mislead or to delude”, deceived speaks not only about the tumult of my heart, but also my honest feelings toward God.
You see, there was a guy-gentlemen, keep reading, there will be no male-bashing to follow, I promise. At 27 and with no dating experience to speak of, I started a relationship with a great Christian guy. Thoughtful, funny, and a servant, he pursued me whole-heartedly for 4 months. My heart began to grow in trust and vulnerability while I daily marveled at the reality that it was finally my turn, that someone wanted me. The new conversations I had with married friends thrilled me to the bottom of my toes-it was like I was granted access to an exclusive club whose door had previsouly been blocked with a ‘No Singles’ sign. I started to hope, to daydream, to see the possibility of a future with someone in blazing technicolor instead of the dull gray of imagining. It was great.
And then-nothing. No great arguments, no disagreements over who needed to visit whom (ahh, the joys of the LDR-long distance relationship), just nothing. Literally. After months of daily conversations, he started drifting. Knowing he was busy, I continued in patience and waiting, desiring him to lead and pursue. A whole week went by (eons to my heart), but a post-work phone call assured me that in the midst of illness his lack of communication was understandable. He told me it wasn’t me, things would be returning to ‘normal’ soon, and that he’d always be honest and tell me if something was wrong.
A month later, and I’m holding onto Romans 8:28 (“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good”) with a fragile and bruised heart. I never heard from him again. A phone call and email went unanswered. After weeks of waiting I finally called ‘uncle’ to the pain of hoping and, thanks to distance, emailed him that I was following his leading of non-interest and ending it. Only recently through the impersonal realm of Myspace have I discovered that he had started dating someone else while passively ignoring me.
There are alot of emotions that have flooded my mind after this, but ‘deceived’ consistently comes to the front. I was lied to, and probably more times than I’ll ever know. I hurt, ache, and want a lobotomy to stop hearing his words of pursuit and desire, to stop places and songs from reminding me of the joy that wasn’t meant to be. Worst of all, I look at my Father who I long to be comforted and protected by-and lift up bleary eyes that realize He knew this would happen but still called me to be open and vulnerable, and finally bruised. I feel deceived by the Lord, like an arbitrary spitefulness has repaid my years of faith, trust, and purity with showing me what I’m not allowed.
The good news is that I loathe feeling this way-because in the deeper recesses of my heart, where my busy life rarely allows me to go, I realize that this is not truth. Yes, I can see the immediate results such as God’s protection from this man and His need to refocus my hope on Him instead of a wedding ring- but more so than these I see the reality of who He is. A refuge (Ps 46:1), a fortress (Ps 62:2), a protector (Ps 91:14), good (Nahum 7:1), righteous (Ps 11:7), worthy to be glorified (Rev 4:11), a sanctuary (Ezekiel 11:16). My avenger for this pain- the cost of which Jesus Himself paid for on the cross. The giver of friends, family, and a church (aptly called Sanctuary) that have been His loving arms. Most bittersweetly, He is a God who will continue to give me hope, after first taking this one lovingly away.
So the feeling of deceit is still lingering on the surface of my heart. But deeper still is a truth that I cannot get enough of, that I force into my mind when memories arise, that I affirm with tears and joy- God Himself. And I didn’t even need a thesaurus to come up with that one.
I’m reading this book called “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson. It’s life changing. Some excerpts I read today….
“The Biblical command repeated most often is: Do not fear. [Interjection… do not fear is actually commanded in 2/3 of the books of the Bible] Why? Fear attacks the foundation of our relationship with God…our faith. Fear is faith in the devil; it is also called unbelief. Jesus would ask His fearful disciples, ‘Why are you so faithless?’ because fearfulness is the same as faithlessness. Fear and faith cannot coexist–they work against each other.”
“People of faith are also realists. They just have their foundation in a superior reality. Unbelief is actually faith in something other than God. He is jealous over our hearts. The one whose primary trust is in another grieves the Holy Spirit.”
“Faith does not require understanding to function.”
“There is something amazing about unbelief–it is able to fulfill its own expectations. Unbelief is safe because it takes no risk and almost always gets what it expects. Then, after a person gets the answer for their unbelief, they can say, I told you so.”
“My faith is not just abiding faith; it is active. It is agressive by nature. It has focus and purpose. Faith grabs hold of the reality of the Kingdom and forcefully and violently brings it into a collision with this natural one. An inferior kingdom cannot stand.”
The first night I was home, the ‘rents and I went out for coffee. The second night, we went to the ballgame out at West End Field. Last night, Dad and I popped some kettle corn and watched a John Piper sermon. Taking. Notes. This pretty much epitomizes my relationship with my parents. I’ve asked Dad to make some comments about the things discussed over the last few days. So hopefully there will be a guest post coming soon. I, however, am still empty of words for the time being. But I will pass along two quotes by Mr. Piper that I think would make all of our lives better if we could embrace their significance to the fullest.
“Nobody goes to the Grand Canyon to work on their self-esteem.”
“There won’t be any mirrors in heaven.”
On side note, I was taking a walk with my friend, Dan. We came across a vine of black berries! Ahh, the sweet, simple delights of summer. He wasn’t convinced. But he’s an engineer.
to the many inquiries/complaints stemming from the lack of posts, I can only offer the truth. I have nothing inside to write at this point.
If anyone would like to guest post, please let me know.