Wellspring of Life

I’m sitting here at Starbucks (with my latte of course), and I am pretty sure I’m witnessing at least two first dates. It’s so obvious…the awkwardness kind of makes me cringe. We’ve all been there, that’s why you’re cringing too. Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about, sometimes it’s forced politeness, sometimes the excitement of a possible future, a road untraveled, the bliss of the thought of new love hangs in the air. Usually it’s a sigh of relief, as past relationship pain is quickly becoming a distant memory. In the case of one couple in particular I’m currently observing, the guy is practically falling out of his chair toward this girl. She’s listening, politely of course, engaged in the conversation, but, well let’s just say, I’m not sure she’s interested. As for the other couple, she’s dressed adorable, nails done (of course), and he uh, must not have received the “you usually dress up slightly for a first date” memo. But regardless, they are politely conversing, slightly intrigued, cautious of the other, anticipatory of a possible future.

Side note: I often write about my thoughts from the perspective of singleness, because that’s currently where God has me..I’ve also witnessed a great deal of emptiness in the pursuit of love, and I find it intriguing. However, many of my dear friends have found someone to share their hearts and lives with, which is wonderful. If you fall into that category, then think of all of this–everything I blog about, especially this blog post– in terms of all the conflicting and confusing messages about life, love, and happiness that are thrown in your face every day.

There seems to be a crazy quest for love, as if it’s the answer to…well, everything. I find it so interesting, we’re constantly searching for our happiness in another person. Which is always unsatisfying, by the way. But we continue, and then get hurt, and then build this unhealthy brick wall around our hearts to prevent that hurt from happening again. We swear we won’t let that vulnerability get the best of us again. Aaaand it creates a cycle. A vicious cycle.

The other day, I was having a (ahem, small) pity party about that vicious cycle I just talked about, deep in thought. And then I read this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23. But what does that mean? In the midst of all this random dating, love, breakups, friendships, broken friendships, bliss, pain…how do we guard our hearts?…Before that unhealthy brick wall appears where we refuse vulnerability and thus refuse love–the way love was meant to be at least. Or, to take it out of a relationship context, how do we guard our hearts in this crazy world, full of sin, pain, and confusion that comes in all types, shapes, and sizes?

And then it hit me. (Though I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface, but it’s a start at least.) Guard your heart with the love of Christ. Hm, duh. But for some reason, it proves to be quite the struggle, as if we don’t know quite how to go about that. But here’s what I found: 1) Through intimacy with the Savior 2) Through prayer and time spent reading the Word. Notice that both of those paths takes human beings and material possessions completely out of the equation–guarding your heart starts first and foremost with you and your Savior. Sounds simple, right? Well, in theory at least.

As for the intimacy part…I heard once that intimacy is “into me see.” Especially women are designed to desire this, either by (and especially by) the guys we are with or by relationships in general. That’s why we like to talk about our feelings…or why physical contact doesn’t mean much unless we are “known” first. That’s why being held in just the right way feels so wonderful–we feel like we are understood, known, loved, cared for, and “seen into”….not wanted only for our bodies. It touches at one of our deepest desires as humans and as women. Anything other than this is lacking that beautiful intimacy that comes from a true and real love. We are that way because God created us that way to understand the intimacy He gives. We want to be known, truly known! But before that can be fully appreciated by a human relationship, I think it must be fully understood from our Savior first.

Psalm 139 is one of the most beautiful and comforting passages I have ever read that deals with Christ’s intimate love for, and knowledge of us. I have read it a zillion times when my heart aches…when I feel like no one understands what is going on, or when I desire something no one can fill or understand but the Lord. We must rediscover the intimacy that we were designed to feel from Christ BEFORE we will be capable of giving or receiving any real love at all to/from another human being. Because human love is reflective of Christ’s intimate love for His children, He created us to understand human intimacy through his intimate love for us. So delve into His Word to start figuring all this out, especially into passages such as Psalm 139. The first step to guarding your heart from this world is to know and be known by the Creator of your heart. Rediscover who your Savior is and what He did for you at the cross, how much He loves you.

And here’s the second part, pray, constantly, about everything.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence that we might find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. I LOVE this verse. I finally started really trying to apply this truth to my life. I prayed about everything. I mean everything. I coated my life in prayer. Prayer should be several things: 1) For Christ’s purposes and Kingdom, not selfish 2) On the basis of His merits and not any personal merits or worthiness, 3) In pursuit of His glory alone.

Our desire for intimacy with another person, that real true intimacy, should be sought first and foremost through allowing Christ to fill that void with Himself, through prayer for his glory and purposes, and His Word. But that’s just it. This has everything to do with His purposes and His glory–it doesn’t have anything to do with you, other than the fact that when you are in search of His glory, YOUR joy is made full and complete. (For more on that statement, check out John Piper’s lifelong pastoral work.) Do you see that web of intimacy that’s being woven? To know and be known, to desire what He desires, to understand who He is, to pray to the Creator of your heart, to be in love with Jesus Christ before all else, leads to contentment, joy, satisfaction, trust. It leaves you not in want of anything from this world. Soak your heart in the knowledge and love of the only one who truly understands your heart, and trust me, nothing else, no human being, no material possession will seem to matter. “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Often our search for love is enhanced by the pain of past relationships. In light of that knowledge, my pastor once said something that hit me, hard, “The truth of God sits on the surface of your life until pain opens a chasm, and it drops in.” And another, “The broken relationships are the places God is doing the most work in us to make you think like Jesus.” So take that pain (or emptiness), and fill it with the intimate love of Jesus Christ. Understand how truly and purely you are loved. AND THEN, when you coat your life in prayer and saturate your mind with His Word, you will not only discover that beautiful intimacy, contentment, and peace that will show you what your human relationships should resemble, you will guard your heart from consistent relationship (or life) let-downs that don’t fulfill the intimacy and love you were designed to feel–because that’s not where your hope will lie. It will lie in steady, unchanging, and unconditional love. May “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

“For where your treasure is, there your heart may be also.” Place your treasure in the very person of Jesus Christ, in His Word; and then may you discover your heart is buried in His love, buried far too deep for the pain and confusion of this world to touch it. Now that’s intimacy. That’s true and real love. That won’t be found in any human being. And THAT, my friends, is beautiful.

2 thoughts on “Wellspring of Life

  1. Ashley, thank you! That means so much to hear, thank you for the encouragement. I enjoy reading yours as well:) I've found blogging to be almost healing in a sense, maybe a release of some sort. And God is good to inspire the words. Miss you, hope you are doing well:)

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