I used to feel like I was trying to get my life to the point where I didn’t need to “bother” God anymore. My problems were tiny and irritating to Him, like mosquitos buzzing in the ears of the King of the Universe. Have you ever felt like you are simply too much trouble and God is waiting for the day when you can finally take care of yourself? For men: be a good boy, grow up to be “a nice guy”, live a safe life and do what you’re supposed to do. For women: be a good girl, be helpful, kind and don’t do anything stupid.
Thankfully, I no longer think that God feels that way. I believe we were made for something greater:
“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
― John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
“We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”
― John & Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul
I’m not a man, so I can’t speak to the first quote, but as a female, the quote from “Captivating” resonates with me. But it certainly puts a lot of pressure on my husband, doesn’t it? And what about single women? Do they have to wait for Mr Right to fulfill the longing of their hearts? And what if he doesn’t?
Thankfully, I don’t think that was the point the Eldredge’s were getting at when they wrote those books. More on that below. But first, I need to go on a tangent. The morning I read those quotes, I was in an emotional “funk”, looking for something to pull me out. Even though God saved my mind back in September, He didn’t change my personality. I still have emotional ups and downs, a Melancholy through and through.
But is that a bad thing? I know I don’t appreciate sunshine without clouds, summer without winter, food without hunger, company without loneliness, up without down, good without bad. Opposite sides of the same coin.
And I also find that the best questions come during the darkest times. Those questions haunt me until I find answers. And it is those answers that bring me out of the darkness and into the light. If I stayed “up” all the time, I don’t think I would ever ask those questions. And if I never asked those questions and got those answers, how could I be an encouragement to you? No, I believe my Melancholy state is a thorn in my flesh that is there for a reason.
Rather like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in his flesh that he asked God to remove (2 Corinthians 12:7), I too have asked God to remove the feelings that drag me into a ditch of despair and a pit of self-pity. I may scream at God, “I can’t do this!”, but He calmly and confidently, with a warm, loving smile on His face, responds, “I know, Beth. You weren’t meant to do this alone. I gave you feelings for a reason. They were meant to draw you to Me.” I understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he went on to say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
So, in that emotional funk, with my mind focused on the quote from “Captivating”, here is what I believe God said to me about every woman’s desire 1) to be romanced, 2) to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and 3) to unveil beauty:
1) God is the one doing the romancing
2) I am playing an irreplaceable role in God’s great adventure
3) God calls me to unveil the beauty all around me, as seen through my eyes. That’s this blog
I could make the same assumptions for men in their longings for 1) a battle to fight, 2) an adventure to live, and 3) a beauty to rescue. What if that were:
1) The battle of this world, good against evil, fighting for good
2) The adventure of following God where He leads, not necessarily where life is safe, comfortable and secure
3) Rescuing the beauty, the “bride of Christ”: brothers and sisters who desperately need to know that there is a God who loves them so much that He sent His son to die for them
So, do you think that God wants us to get our lives to the point where we don’t need to bother Him anymore? Or do you think He wants us to join Him on the adventure of a lifetime? I believe that we each have a unique purpose. Something we were put on this planet to accomplish. Something only we can do – no one else. The Apostle Paul tells is that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV).
What is the role you were designed for? If you don’t know yet, let Jesus be your example, as he “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38). Do good. Don’t be a “bucket”, trying to fill yourself up. Be a pipeline – a conduit of God’s love. The only way that a pipe is “filled” is when something is flowing through it. Let God love you and then give that love away. Let good flow through you today, be an encouragement to someone else, be a blessing, and guess what? You’ll be filled too.
And if you know what your role is, then go for it! Joyce Meyer says that “God won’t do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can’t.” Maybe He’s simply waiting for you to take a step. Maybe that step is to turn around and take His hand. Join Him in the beautiful adventure He has prepared for you. “Trust in the Lord and do good.” Psalm 37:3 (NIV)
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