I shall not want.

surrender

the sin that clings so close and holds you down

guilt 

wanting things

surrender, guilt

surrender

guilt

thoughts whir in me

why do i want things that aren’t good for me

?

ugh, classic sin

it’s one thing to be aware of it

it’s another thing all together to overcome it

to keep fighting the good fight

to surrender

to come

empty

to leave guilt

to receive grace

Last year my verse for the year was Psalm 37. Specifically verse 4. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. I have wrestled with this passage all year. How can I delight myself in the Lord? How can I not let the despair of the world and of my circumstances taint my pure delight in Him? How can I find delight in him when I’m doubting?

I questioned God’s goodness more than ever last year. I misunderstood this scripture. If God wouldn’t give me the desires of my heart, how could I delight in him? If God wouldn’t give me what I want, could I still trust him?

God didn’t give me what I wanted … So slowly I lost my sense of wanting. I became numb to desire and delight. I started thinking: God is not good, why wouldn’t he want this for me? Why wouldn’t he give this to me? I started despairing. I started losing sight of the whole story. I was caught up on my little part in a much bigger story, questioning my part, challenging God on the role he had for me.

I have learnt that doubt tempts us to question God’s goodness to us.
In sorrowful questioning is the absence of thanksgiving.
Why?
Because doubt steals our sight, we lose faith in the unseen.
We posture our hearts to despair instead of delight.
We wonder whether God is withholding goodness from us.
We focus on what is absent not present.
We forget to praise him for his presence in our lives, in our world, in his grace to us in Christ Jesus.

Immanuel.

God with us. 

I will not leave you as orphans.

You are no alone. 

I am.

This psalm has been teaching me about pure and true delight in the lord. One that is not based on what my heart wants, but based on wanting more of his heart. This psalm has also been a journey of desire. A challenging of goodness, a questioning of the heart. An assessment of want and need. There has been the suppression and denial of desire, in guilt, in fear, in feeling like God does not want me to experience the full expression of emotion.

My numbness to desire came when I allowed myself to really want something that God didn’t want for me. I wanted it more than I wanted him and more than I wanted what he wanted for me. This destructive wanting damaged me deeply. It left me wrestling with God as I handed it to him again and again and again. But the thing with idols, the thing with what we worship, the thing with strongholds … is that we can’t hold onto them. We need to surrender. We need to trust. We need to return to God’s goodness. We need to dwell in his word.

We need to be so captivated by his love that we are no longer captive to our desire.

There is the sin that clings so close with it’s tight grip. When it penetrates our hearts, we are weighed down. When our hearts are wounded, places of insecurity and longing are exposed. We struggle to let go, because we struggle to let God in. We question whether God wants the best for us, because when our hearts are all open like that it doesn’t feel like it. We question whether God is withholding from us, because it certainly doesn’t feel like there is goodness pouring into those gaping holes in you.

Why do I want things that aren’t good for me?

Why do I want things?

Why are these desires in me?

I’ve been realising the desires of my heart aren’t all good. And I realised I was afraid of asking God for what I wanted … Because if I asked, then I would be giving him permission to say no. I was paralysed by my desire, so caught up in my want, that I didn’t bring my want to him. And when I did. When I opened my heart to God. I was so wrapped up in shame and fear that I was unable to fully trust God with my bare and broken heart. How could I? What if the hurt kept coming? … I’ve been left wondering whether God wants to deepen my desire in him before he reveals and responds to my hearts desires. Maybe I truly “shall not want” when I allow him to fill my desire.

My housemate reminded me of a story from Genesis. When Jacob wrestled with God he said “I will not let you go unless you bless me”. I wanted to cry when I heard this. Because I felt as though I had let go … failing to believe that God is in the business of blessing. I was settling for the curse. But it is good that I have been wrestling with God. It is good that I’m haven’t been tiptoeing around him. I am confronting him, challenging him by bringing my hearts desires to him. And he is stronger, mightier and a million times more good, gracious, glorious and greater than me.

And that’s not the end of the story. Jacob left that place limping. But he was renamed and blessed. Why? Because he had striven with God and with men and prevailed. This story is an encouragement. I was fighting, but I was found. I had not given up, I was not lost. The battle is won in the Son, and he alone is good. In him I have favour and blessing.

And praise be to the Lord! I have seen his abundant goodness while away on beach mission for the past two weeks. And I have committed this year to HIS desire, not mine. A year of journeying deeper into the Father’s heart. 

See. God has confronted me with the force of his grace, with the strength of his love. He has shown me that he never let go of me, even when I thought I had let go of him.  He holds us gently, waiting until we relax into his arms, embracing his grace.

Wrapped in his heart.
Filled with his love.
Satisfied in him. 
This is pure delight.
Finding joy in him and him alone. 
Wanting nothing but him.
I shall not want.
I shall be filled.
I shall be his.

I posted the below words on my instagram a little while ago:

surrender is
being afraid, but trusting anyway
surrender is
letting go, even when you want to know
surrender is
“falling upwards into light”

my housemates words echo

we had wandered under those stars
caught up in the umbrella of existence
shielded from the full display
only receiving glimpses
of God’s glorious work here on earth

“falling upwards”
the skyline is laughing
but how?
the sin clings so close
e n t a n g l i n g
there are all these strongholds
how to fall?
how to fly?
where to find the strength
to take the next leap of faith?

“spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the waters
wherever you would call me
take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of my Saviour”
{oceans, hillsong}

{ also listen to “I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad! }

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