I want, I want, I want

Anyone else relate to that mantra? If you are married and have kids, I am sure you hear it thousands of times each day from your children or spouse. As a long time single lady, I hear it most from myself. I hear it from colleagues and other family members too. Though I can’t help but realize how much I spend claiming ‘I want…’ or even ‘I don’t want…’ about who I want to be or don’t want to feel.

Recent events have led me to a healing thought. Most of my ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants’ seem to revolve around outside influences. Time wasted desiring to be like other people or passing judgement about what I didn’t want to endure.

How had I lost focus on the true source? The Source who inspired my life into existence and wants to grant every desire of my very heart! I had taken my eyes off of Him and was certainly beginning to drown under the weight of the crushing waves.

As I pondered all of this further, I was reminded that if I refocused on the true Source, then my wants could dissipate. The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. I need only to be still, keep my eyes on Him, and I have all I could ever need to do exactly what He has called me to do in this life.

No one else can be our source. We can’t be anyone else’s source. We are called to help each other on this journey, but never called to take the place of the one true Source. While I believe we are called to lay down our lives for others, love them sacrificially, what we can do for others will never be able to take the place of a God who sent His only son to die for our salvation. We are made in His image, sure. Adopted children of God, sure. Yet, still, we are not replacements for God.

No matter how strongly we may want to be that source for others, eventually, our wells run dry. God, our true source, has a love and mercy that never runs out. Accepting this is amazingly freeing.

 

Joy and happiness

Last week, I was driving over to my mom’s house when the song “Dear Younger Me” came on the radio. I often over analyze music in the car and this time was no exception. I began thinking how I try to live in a way where I don’t view my past with any regrets, but if I had a choice, maybe younger me could teach current me a thing or two instead of the other way around.

My younger self was happy all of the time. Giddy, jumping up and down, excited with a zeal for life. How I wish my younger self could tell me how I was so happy all the time. Eventually though, something happened that really upset me and I realized I didn’t want to be happy about it. Everyone around me had come to expect that ‘happy girl’ though, so it was pretty difficult to make them see me not happy. I specifically remember telling myself, “it’s okay not to be happy 100% of the time.” So, I began letting other emotions show. Now, at 32, many more things have happened in my life than I can even list here, but I know that I simply want to be happy all the time again. Why did I ever give that up?

As I thought about all of these things, I found myself understanding this song, “Dear Younger Me” more and more. Regrets or not, lessons learned throughout life sure do make hindsight seem 20/20. While I have learned a lot, and wish I could tell my younger self about things I know now, I don’t think I would tell her to have remained happy all the time. What would I advise that young, strong minded, no longer happy-all-the-time teen? I would tell her the difference between emotions and the lasting experience of a foundation built in Christ.

While I definitely had my heart founded in Christ back then in certain ways, a lot of wisdom is catching up to me in these older years. I would tell her that she was right, it was okay not to be happy all the time. I would also tell her that our emotions, however fleeting, do not define us. Christ gives us the grace of lasting joy, lasting peace, and lasting perfect love. Those things can keep going all the time as long as their source is in God. I can feel sad while I have joy, anger when I have peace, and even annoyed when I have love. It sounds conflicting, but as human beings we will always experience complex emotions, none of which will last forever. God always provides us with a constant flow of His grace though, as long as we keep the door open to Him to be our source.