Originally published September 28, 2015
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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
One of the things I most cherish about writing this weekly post is watching how it unfolds throughout the week. As soon as a post publishes, I begin asking the Lord for the next post.
I trust Him wholeheartedly, and so I know when He gives me a word to write it isn’t just for me, but also for you; it’s just how He works.
And each time our Sovereign God allows me to be a writing vessel for His love — be it encouragement or discipline (or as is often the case with me — both), I stand amazed.
On Thursday, in my prayer journal, I wrote:
“Lord, please give me a post for Monday. Something that glorifies You and touches readers. I’m waiting. I’m listening.”
And yet even yesterday, Sunday morning, I still did not know what I would write for you today.
I stayed home from church because I felt under the weather. Or more specifically, Kenny generously passed me his cold.
So, while Jeff loaded up the kids and set off for our church, I loaded up my mug, Bible and prayer journal and met with Jesus on the back deck.
And as I reread the passage for Week 1 of my church’s Fall Ladies Bible Study, the framework for today’s post fell into place.
Which is to say, God told me, and I imagine there is someone reading who needs to hear this too.
I prayer journaled a bit of it, knowing I wanted to talk through my thoughts with Jeff before writing, but first — a nap (more evidence of Kenny’s cold taking my body by storm).
Five hours later, I woke up, read through and discussed my notes with Jeff — jotted down his feedback — and here is where I’ll start:
I have spent a lifetime trying to satisfy unquenchable thirst with nearly anything but the Living Water.
“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:14 (ESV)
Even though I am a Christian…
Even though I know Jesus is my Redeemer…
Even though I can do nothing by my strength…
And even though I know God placed a void in me that He alone can fill, I still play the card of the foolish and look for substitutes.
Feeling insecure with how I look?
I SHOULD: Stop, thank the Lord for His love for me, embrace my place as His child and seek value in Him, not man.
INSTEAD: I cry. Then, maybe I go shopping — a sweet new pair of shoes and a beautiful new blouse will help me feel less frumpy. Right?
Feeling stressed by the difficulty of balancing homeschooling and family life with my job?
I SHOULD: Stop, thank the Lord for His provision, and ask Him to show me how to move forward — maybe even seeking a new direction.
INSTEAD: I cry. I work longer hours — into the evening — to make up for what I can’t do in the day, tilting the scale of mine and my family’s life more and more off balance.
Feeling overwhelmed by the constant barrage of needs that rob our financial ability to move forward working on our lake house projects?
I SHOULD: Stop, thank the Lord for the fact He helped us purchase this lake house in the first place. Trust that surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
INSTEAD: I cry. Allow for discontent and compare our situation to others. And, before I began making wiser food choices, I’d try to meet that unquenchable void with a pint of Haagen Daz’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate or open a bottle of wine. You know, to take the edge off.
I know the only Truth that can comfort me. It fills the deepest wells of my heart — the Living Water, who is Jesus.
Not exercise (Full transparency: I’ve not given this one much of a try).
Not play or entertainment.
Even with the fullness of that understanding — I forget myself. I join the masses, trying to fill the God-ordained void in my life with everything but Him.
The trend to downsize and simplify is more evidence that our nation is “thirsty” for the Father.
Everywhere I look — in books, media, and just driving down the Interstate, people are deciding to downsize and simplify their lives.
On the surface, I like this new movement.
Note: Except vegetable gardening (sustainable living). Holy mother of all things manure! Gardening in a drought is a nightmare — an expensive nightmare. I’ve put up my gardening gloves for now and surrendered to the Kroger produce department.
I’ve never cared much for clutter or “stuff” in the physical sense, so this downsizing trend is right up my ally.
I also think it is a benchmark of our nation’s desperation. We are living in a profoundly materialistic, consumer-oriented and entertainment-driven world. People are swimming in a pool of chaos (often of their making), clinging to a false belief that if they just “downsize” — they will quench their thirst indefinitely.
Jeff, the kids and I sold or gave away a good amount of what we owned to faithsize our lives, but we know that won’t quench our thirst. Only Jesus can do that.
I may pretend that getting gutters or having overhead lighting will bring me joy, but I know the truth.
And as Jeff pointed out when I read my notes to him, the focus is still on things — just from the flipside.
For instance, the thought that “If I don’t have cable, I will have more time to [fill in the blank] and feel more fulfilled.”
You will have more time. TV is the ultimate time waster, BUT the focus is still on a thing (not having cable) and not upon the Father (the Living Water, who quenches our thirst).
And by the way, if you are thinking that way, we don’t have cable. For us, it is about saving money, and it works to that end — but it certainly does not bring us any measure of joy or ensure our daily peace.
Faithsizing vs. Downsizing
The process of downsizing one’s life can be healthy and freeing in many ways. Downsizing gives you an opportunity to assess what you do and don’t need — be it stuff, responsibilities, and even, relationships.
It’s like decluttering life, and I see nothing wrong with it unless you falsely believe that it alone will help you find peace.
Faithsizing, however, can help you find peace because it deliberately directs you to the Lord.
Remember, that faithsizing only means “obediently and faithfully aligning one’s position and purpose before the Lord.”
When you choose Living Water to quench your thirst:
- You recognize there is a void created by the Father Himself. That He placed it in you so you would seek Him above all else.
- You recognize that no object, experience or relationship can fill that void.
- You recognize that your worst habits — the ones that rob you of your joy come directly from the unconfessed, repeated actions you hope will quench a thirst only the Lord can fill.
Jeff describes #3 as those things you do that “scratch the itch for just a second.”
He believes we return to those old habits because “We are lazy — we’re like water that travels the path of least resistance. We prefer the shortest distance between two points, a straight line.”
In other words, we go straight to the habit to get the temporary relief simply because it’s more immediate, even if unfulfilling.
We get a sip.
But it isn’t the Living Water.
So, we keep searching.
Because without Him, we remain unquenchable.
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
John 7:38 (ESV)
Ever considered prayer journaling as a way to draw near to the Living Water?
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