It’s a lie! It’s a lie! What the world tries to sell you a rich man can’t afford. We’ve all seen it. Most of us have deeply felt it.
A woman sits all alone in a wonderful house with the fire ablaze. As she sits there looking at all the beautiful things she has acquired, things she has strived for most of her life, she can’t help but wonder where she’s gone wrong. She’s been generous beyond expectation as she climbed the ladder of success and wealth. She goes to church and likes to believe she has faith. Yet, now, sitting there all alone, she can’t help but ask, “Where is God? Why do I feel so empty?”
Or a man sits all alone in the corner bar at the end of the day. As he stares blankly at the television screen nursing his beer, he wonders if it has all been worth it. He worked so many hours to achieve stature, respect, and position at the detriment to his relationships. The loneliness envelops him as he realizes he has no one with whom he truly shares life.
And then there’s the couple that sit side by side each night, lost in emotion they fear to express. Each is wondering how they can hide the runaway thoughts that are causing them so much distress. There is an emptiness beyond expectation. How could they grow so apart? Neither would have believed that loneliness could creep into their marriage. Both are shocked as they realize perhaps the deepest loneliness is when you experience it in a marriage. They had it all—the kids, the house, the yard, the careers. When did it cease to be enough?
It's easy to fall into these pits. We buy things to make us feel better, strive to achieve in order to feel greater self-worth, drink away our sorrows and insecurities, give into relationships without any true commitment. And then we wonder if the grass just might be greener on the other side, even as we fail to water the lawn right in front of us.
It seems strange to consider our desires being too weak. Yet time and again I have found myself kicking and screaming when God wants to take me away from the mud puddles. The mud puddles have become comfortable, and there is at least some memory or semblance of happiness there. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine He has so much more in mind for us. It’s hard to contemplate the joy of the ocean when you’ve never seen it. It’s difficult to let go and trust that in God, the best is yet to come.
Whether you are in a “good place” in your life or in a situation you can’t seem to find your way out of right now, it’s worth the risk to trust. God isn’t finished with you yet. We often think WE know what will make us happy. It can be hard to trust that we have a Maker, and HE knows explicitly every detail about us and what will bring us joy.
Having worked with college students for many years, there were several times when students would venture into my office. Their lives were a mess; their grades were failing; their attendance poor. They just needed someone to talk to as they poured out their frustrations: “I just can’t live this life. I can’t do it…it’s overwhelming…it’s too much.”
I would look back at them with a grin on my face and exclaim, “You are so lucky to learn that lesson this early in your life! It took me many, many more years. The truth is this life is overwhelming and we can’t do it. But I know someone who can, and He’ll never let you down.”
Some interesting conversations arose from those office visits. I still stay in touch with many of those students. It’s important for all of us to learn this lesson: You can never be the person God wants you to be until you realize you can never be the person God wants you to be. Only He can do that in you. The key is trust…one step at time. And it begins by letting go. You can’t bargain with God. It requires surrender. And that, my friend, is one of the most difficult things for us humans! May this season be a time of risk, a time of hope, and a time for experiencing a holiday by the sea!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
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Anne Hope is the award-winning author of Bent Pages...a sharp, funny, and deeply inspirational narrative.
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