Today I questioned what I want.
It’s weird, because I often push aside what I want because it doesn’t always coincide with what God wants for me. But as far as my entire life is concerned, I had to be very honest with myself about what I wanted. Because I’m a naturally emotional, romance-driven dreamer, it’s very difficult for me to not just walk around in a corny haze hoping for Prince Charming instead of focusing on the reality God has shown me, instead of buckling down and pursuing Him. This is why I don’t read romance novels on a regular basis. This is why I don’t usually listen to music promoting romance. I’m not saying these things are bad, but I am saying that, for me, I think about it enough that I don’t need external forces making me think about it even more until my thoughts are so insanely loud that I can’t hear the still small voice of God calling me back to Him.
What’s the point of my telling you this? Well, as people ask me about my love life (or lack there of) I’ve been unable to focus completely on anything other than my emotions and fighting them and going against my own haziness. Again, thinking about romance and hoping for a pure relationship is NOT sinful or a bad thing, but it’s a weak spot for me. I too easily get caught up in wishful thinking instead of being active and passionate in my pursuit of God. So today, through class and through Bible Study, I began to question what I really wanted out of this life.
I know it’s deep, but I don’t doubt everyone thinks about it at some point.
The question really didn’t cross my mind until Studio class, but I’ll start at the beginning of the day. This morning I read Deuteronomy 31. In this chapter, it says something along the lines of “Do not fear” and “He (God) will not forsake you” at least three times (v. 6, v. 8, v. 23). There’s a saying that when something in the Bible is said three times then it’s extra important, as in, God REALLY wants you to get this. Granted, it says “Do not fear” in many other places in the Bible, but these charges were so close together that it was hard not to notice a pattern.
At the end of the chapter, something really cool caught my eye. God said “Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel” (v. 19). After saying this He then goes on to predict how Israel will respond to His grace with worshiping other gods and despising Him and breaking His covenant with them. So God is telling Moses and Joshua, who are listening, that the people they’ve been leading are going to fall despite all of their hard work. But even upon receiving this news, Moses and Joshua stand firm, ready to hear the song God will sing into their hearts to bless the Israelites. And God sings.
What do you think God’s singing voice sounds like? I honestly can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine the beauty that would come into creation just because my God sang a few notes. The song sung by Moses in Deuteronomy 32 is the same song God presented to him and Joshua, which means, in order to get the tune and the rhythm down, God audibly sang this song. I can’t wait to hear God’s singing voice. How amazing that will be! 😀
After reading my Bible and writing to God, I went to Word, Usage, & Style. I couldn’t remember exactly what I had written about for this class, but when it came up on the screen for me to read, I remembered that it was basically about heaven, about God’s love for me, about how His love is like a light and it pushes out the dark in me. I remembered looking up the scripture that laced the essay and the way I had smiled as I read about my God.
“The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth” (Psalm 50:1, 2, ESV).
I was at first very nervous to read the piece in class. I don’t know why. Regardless, I went ahead and read it, getting excited and feeling the Holy Spirit stir within me as I relived the moment I’d written about. It was then, in that moment, that I desperately wished my classmates knew what I was feeling, that they knew what I meant by saying God’s love pushes out the dark, that they were fulfilled by God. I don’t just want to write about God and His affect on me and have people say “Oh, that’s nice,” or “Wow, that’s really beautiful.” I want them to get it…*sigh.*
When class was over, I went and checked my mail. And guess what was in it? A letter telling me that I’m going to be a camp counselor at Camp BaYouCa this summer…
I’m pretty sure I scared the snot out of the people in the mail center because I yelled at the top of my lungs, “NO WAY” and did a little dance on the tile. Then I left and bought some sushi.
So that will be some other kind of adventure, and I’m very excited for it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since my first summer as a camper at BaYouCa. It’s just really cool. And the best part is I know God will use it to grow me in ways I wouldn’t be able to grow any other way. I just don’t even know what to do with myself.
I went to Studio class next. So, my professor had asked me to write a description of the Bible, of my Bible, and this is how far I got:
“The sand between my toes echoes the salty breeze and drifts along the wind to brush through palm leaves and fall along the waves. The tide binds the sea and the sand together as the trees are leafed through and blown by the breeze. Cloudless, rainless, sun-filled life soaks every breath coming up from my lungs. The wind grows strong enough to push me back onto the plush stomach of a tiger in whose fur I bury my face and my fingers. She’s sleeping in a soft meadow that collides with the shore. Rosy reds and daffodil yellows begin to leak into the blue above me. All the while there’s Someone sitting beside me, telling me of wonders, of planets, of lands, of life beyond what I can imagine. He tells me of my heart, of how He holds it protected on an island in the palm of His hands. He tells me exactly how many hairs are on my head. And to think this is only Genesis…to think this is Eden.”
We talked about it after class, and he told me it was beautiful. My heart ached as he praised it, not because I have a problem with accepting compliments about my writing, but because its beauty wasn’t the point.
He then asked me what I thought of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. I’m actually almost finished with it and I’m really enjoying it. We talked about it for a while, when I had the courage to ask, “After you read it, didn’t you wonder?”
“Wonder about what?” He asked.
“I wondered before.”
But before I could ask any more questions, he gently dismissed further discussion of personal matters and said he might talk to me about it once I was no longer his student.
After Studio I went to my dorm, grabbed a quick bowl of cereal, and began to dig into my homework. Balancing homework, sleep, eating, church, and social life is much more difficult than I thought it would be, but I’m getting better at it. It also helps that I haven’t been eating any junk food lately and I’ve been getting plenty of rest every night. Thank God for a Spirit of self-control.
I headed to church after skyping with my Mom for a little bit. We had a good talk, and by good I mean that I said “Mom, I’m really frustrated” and then I’d explain my thing and she’d respond with “Hunter, you’re an idiot, this, this, and this are what’s going on and you need to calm the heck down.”
Just kidding 🙂 though part of it did go a little something like that….I love my Mama 🙂
Anyway, I went to church, hungry both spiritually and physically, frustrated that my thoughts were so focused on wishful thinking and romance. When I walked into Bible Study, I was so relieved to be in a roomful of women that I could relate to. I told them about some of my frustrations and, because they’ve experienced more life than I have, they were able to mentor me and encourage me in a way I didn’t know I could be encouraged. The woman sitting next to me rubbed my back, a thing my Mom usually does when I’m stressed, and this made me comfortable. I felt loved and at home, which was just what I needed.
This is basically what came out of the Bible Study:
God doesn’t give us commands in order to make Him feel good about Himself. God doesn’t need an ego boost. God is completely good with Himself and complete in Himself. Deuteronomy 10:12,13 says “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I (Moses) am commanding you today for your good?” In other words, God’s commands are FOR YOUR GOOD.
Rest is an important part of our relationship with God. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” God just wants us to come to Him! The rest talked about here is not only physical rest in God but it’s also the following: rest of knowing I don’t have to perform for Him. I’m acceptable to Him. The rest of not being in charge of all my loved ones…it’s not my job, but His. The rest of knowing I’ve done my best and things just don’t budge, and God’s hands are big enough for whatever the situation is. The rest of knowing He’ll fight for me. We don’t have to defend ourselves. God can defend, protect, and fend for us better and more fiercely than we ever could. And He will. The rest of knowing who I am and who I am not, being able to be who God has called me to be. And finally, the rest in knowing that when I obey Him, God will bless me.
As much as I’d like to seem impenetrable, touch, and strong, I have cried and cried and shouted and screamed out of pain and frustration to God…and not only does He listen, but He quiets me down and takes me up into the warm protection of His arms, and pleads with me to just rest in Him…to breathe…So in the times when I’m walking around with a strut, when I’m confident in myself, He’s waiting for me to finally get it, to remember that He’s the only One who’s my true refuge, one that will passionately protect me.
After Bible Study was over, I needed to just be alone with God. I went downstairs and Edward and his friends were there. He asked me if I wanted him to walk with me to the train. I said no thank you, that I just wanted to think. So I walked into the coolness of the spring night, just thinking about everything I’d just learned, thinking about not just God’s power, but His quiet kindness, His just character, His calm understanding.
On the subway I listened to Jars of Clay, a band whose songs could be the soundtrack to my life. And as I listened, I smiled, thinking about my God. When I returned to my dorm, Bree and I talked about things, eventually coming onto the subject of faith. And once we were finished, I realized then what I wanted in life.
I just want Jesus. That’s what I want out of life. I just want to know Him and please Him and understand Him and walk with Him and trust Him. I know this is what “good Christians say” when they want to sound ultra spiritual, and it’s hard to believe that someone actually, genuinely wants Jesus, but, man, I do. He’s just the only One worth doing anything for. He’s the only One who’ll never reject me, never betray me, never injure me, never lead me in the wrong direction, never make me do something perverse or disgusting. He’s the only One who gives me peace, hope, and understanding. He bestows upon me His grace when I least deserve it, and He’s letting me into heaven, not because of any good thing I’ve done, but because of who He is.
Knowing that everything in my life depends on God being who He says He is and not on me and my actions and my character makes me want to cry with relief. And to think He’s willing to be with me, to think He pursued me when He died on the cross for me, to think He looks at me with adoration and admiration and righteous pride, to think He loves me outside of human love with a love that I just can’t wrap my mind around.
I choose Him.
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
—Joshua 24:15, ESV