Tired of Waiting…the AcheDeepInsideOurSoul

The greatest single threat to a family’s health… is divorce.

As a pastor and a parent, I get it.  We all understand the temptation that promises to bring excitement and passion when we feel ‘nothing’. The allure of being free again….to leave what we have for something… ‘better’.

NBC – source

But sometimes we get tired of trying.

We just wear out inside. No more desire. No more determination to stay… we just surrender to the dull and relentless… and seriously consider its time to simply ‘give-up’.

 

We feel only a little…  and it all adds up to just an empty AcheDeepInsideourSoul.

St. Augustine tells it like it is in his classic, “the Confessions” … “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” (source link)

For those who are grieving… those who lost a spouse… a parent, or a child. The grief that consumes is identical in its impact to our psyche as when a marriage runs off the rails… For those reading who are openly contemplating divorce… the truth is, you’re already grieving.  In your sorrow, you can lose all sense of time or purpose. You can lose your colors and taste, no flavor… personality dried up. We simply ‘exist’.

The need to ‘feel’ again is overwhelming. It scares us. 

In those moments of panic and desperation we turn to everykindofcrazy option. Cutting, drugs, sex, alcohol, work, ministry, friends ,cars, boats, exercise, gardening, books, movies, music, porn, you name… if you hurt badly enough…  we give it a whirl.

The solution to the “AcheDeepInsideOurSoul” isn’t obvious or easy. It’s not ‘more’… but ‘less’. 

We can’t fill up our empty spaces with stuff, or pleasure, or pain… we can’t get back to being whole again by doing more or owning nicer things.

source – Readers Digest

Our pain is only resolved by living with less. Less of us. Less of me… more of God. 

We start a terrible and dangerous spiral down when we keep insisting on getting what we always wanted. We look at the stuff we don’t have and then we start a checklist of all the things that will be better without someone else holding us back… or weighing us down.

If we were free to do and be and go…  would we be happier…. ? Or would we be more MISERABLE?

Here’s what I’ve learned….To fill the empty ache, you need to shift your focus. When we give up our rights, and our petty little wrongs…we gain life. Real life. Jesus said that. He meant it. 

Take whatever it is in your life your so weary of.  That thing you’re so tired of waiting for… Maybe it’s the option to walk away from an empty marriage or a dead-end job that you know you’re supposed to keep. Are you willing to consider another option?

Would you take another day… another week and sincerely ask (Pray) for God’s help?

Do something radical… don’t run away… trust God and stay. What if you chose to sacrifice your ‘wants for someone else’s needs? What would God do with such an act of faith?

(Disclaimer – It takes 2 to make a relationship work, and if you are the only one who wants to try, you’re going to have to pray for a change of heart in your spouse – and there are definite times to walk away from marriage – abuse – infidelity – addictions etc… God knows your specific circumstance – ask Him – listen – wait – He’ll show you what to do)

You won’t regret it and neither will your family…

Peace out, Pastor Brad.

Need some extra encouragement and practical support? … Check out a “Weekend to Remember” with Family Life.

 

 

 

 

Hope deferred…

Parents… don’t you hate it when we allow ourselves to get our hopes up and then what we truly believed in, what we desired the most…un-explicably disappears… ARRGGHHH !!! And as much as we hate that when it happens to us, we hate it a thousand times more when it happens to one of our kids. Maybe a zillion times more, more than anything else it eats us up inside, relentlessly taunting us for ever daring to hope in something beyond us, for being so foolish as to allow ourselves or our kids to believe that a dream they have nurtured for months or years might actually come true, no matter how slim the odds…

Proverbs 13:12 (a) NIV "Hope deferred makes the heart sick,.."

It can lead us to really get angry, bitter…resentful. Angry at ourselves, at the circumstances we find ourselves in and at God. After all isn’t it God who “allowed” it to happen? Isn’t He supposed to be ALL powerful, ALL knowing and ALL everything in our life? In our kids lives…? That’s what we all say on Sunday at church and Wednesday night’s when we make it to the weekly bible study, or is it just a hope too?

Careful here.

There is someone right behind you… subtly pushing your buttons. Whispering in your ear and calling to your heart and it’s not God, or a friend or a confidant to listen to… it’s much darker and he’s a master at manipulating every emotion, every fear and frustration we have into a fever pitch of doubt and anger and faithless regret. Don’t surrender to his lies, don’t give up on God and don’t give up on your dreams. No way, No how.

The truth is we often make it so easy for him to manipulate us, we run after things and then ask God to bless it. Only to find it fails in the end because we lacked the courage to be totally honest with ourselves and God. Knowing deep down we pushed ahead of His will for our own and then in desperation we blame Him for our personal and selfish choices.

But what about the things you truly, completely and totally surrender to God… only to have Him seemingly give it back to us, perfect and beautiful and pure, we eagerly grab it and run to enjoy it…only to sense He’s asking for us to give it back to Him for just a bit longer.

The heartache, the suffering, the agony we feel when our hope is taken… is enormous, unbearable and crushing in its intensity. It threatens to consume us if we don’t pull back, distancing ourselves from the situation just long enough and far enough to get some spiritual air in our lungs and remember the truth about God, about His promises… to reflect accurately about our often premature assumptions on life, and our hope and personal dreams.

What is the truth?

No matter what it feels like, regardless of our ability to understand or comprehend what’s happening to us… the truth remains steady and sure… God loves us, deeper and more sacrificial than we can comprehend, the closest thing we have to grasp the depth of His love, is the story of Jesus and the cross, or Abraham and Isaac; who after a lifetime of waiting for a son, an heir… is asked to give his child up to God as a sacrifice, without explanation, without preparation, without any warning whatsoever… and he does it!

HOW COULD HE DO THAT ? Seriously, how could Abraham actually surrender willingly his only child to God, physically let him be taken to his own death and be o.k. with it? I mean we kind of get that Jesus being God and Man has the spiritual DNA to overcome, but how does a flesh and blood ancient ancestor of ours ever get to that level of hope in God?

It has to be Abraham’s overall Faith in the character of God’s goodness. Faith that comes from the reality of a lifetime of watching a personal God keep every promise, every detail, every dream, every hope and every desire for Abraham intact regardless of the circumstance or situation. It was a summation of Abraham’s life to simply say…  he trusted God. In the big, the little and all the countless in-between issues of life. Including and most certainly as it related to his kid.

Prov 13:12 (b) " but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" - courtesy of http://greatguys.org/stories

Time for us to wrap this up… I’ve struggled recently with one my kids being hurt by a bitter bit of hope deferred… and I’m helplessly watching from the sidelines as it’s making her heart-sick. But I know the God behind the promise to her, the truth of His character and the resolute strength of His power to make it all work out exactly as it was supposed to… but man as I wait in the in-between time of faith become reality… it’s hard. Really difficult to watch and trust that God can and will make something beautiful out of all this pain…

Hebrews 6: 13-18 “When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. ” (The Message)

But I choose to trust and believe that Hebrews 6 (above) is real and tangible for my life and my kids…and to keep trusting and believing that God’s words are true, and that satan is just a liar.

How about you…?

 brad.