Hugs can’t save

I would like a hug, please.

I am open to receiving said hug from one of three people: (1) Jesus (2) my dad (3) my husband.

Bad news for me: short of the return of Christ, I’m not gonna get a physical hug from any one of those three people today.

Good news for you: I will use myself as a case study on how to fight discontentment!jcisbetter

Longing for something is not automatically bad.  Discontentment is what happens when that longing is so great that I begin to doubt the truth and turn to a savior other than Christ.

It’s not that I just want a hug.  I believe a hug from one of those three men will save me from this weird disconnectedness I feel today.  And knowing I won’t get it from those guys today is leaving me doubting that God really is kind and good and sovereign.

Diagnosis confirmed: discontentment.

Now it’s time to fight:

First battlefield: my mind

Discontentment is a symptom that I have a little wiggle room in my mind as to what’s true.

Here are two sort of lie-truths that have crept in today:

(1) A hug because it will make me FEEL more known and loved than God does.

I have no ammunition to destroy that, because honestly – that’s not necessarily a lie.  A hug from my dad might make me feel more known and loved today.

(2) I can’t look to God to satisfy this desire because He can’t.  It’s physical.

I will never be able to deal with my heart and my actions while there is any uncertainty in my mind, so I say to my mind:

Look, mind:

(1) A hug might make you FEEL more known and loved, but it won’t alter your state.  You have it all.  You are as known and loved in this moment as you will ever be.  

Plus, seriously.  Jesus gave Himself up for you.  If that doesn’t make you FEEL loved, it seems unlikely a hug will do the trick.

(2) God offers me more than the purely physical.  We are closer than a hug.  His Spirit lives inside.  If I am longing for more of Him – good.  That’s where I’m supposed to live: longing for more of Him.  

Settle in my mind that these thoughts are not the fullness of truth.

Second battlefield: the heart

I have preached all those things to my mind for days.  My heart’s sort of slow.  I gotta wait for it to catch up.

One thing I do to help it out with that  process is tell God the awful truth.  I consider, confess and repent.

Today I sat and considered the thoughts spinning around in my mind and finally I spoke out loud to God the horrific implications of my thoughts:

God’s sort of interchangeable for me.

It’s not God I want.  I would be content for a hug from my dad or husband in this moment.  What I want is to feel a certain way, and I’m willing to worship any god who might deliver.

I said that out loud to God and I imagined Him – my Father and my lover who has died to give me it all – listening to those words.

He once said that His heart was ‘grieved’ that He had made man, and I wonder if it’s moments like this have something to do with that.

He endured horrific ‘feelings’ to change my reality.

And in my flesh I would exchange my reality for a feeling of relief.

Third battlefield: my actions

Most of the battle in this area is about refusing to take action to save yourself.

I have to put myself to work to avoid taking action.  Here’s what I do:

(1) Bible.  True contentment is faith and faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God.  So, I chew on His word, even when it feels meaningless.  I memorize it. I lay my head down and shut my eyes and pray it.  I beg Him to use it like a syringe, injecting faith into my heart.

(2) Do things that stir your heart for Christ. I refused to let myself watch TV yesterday because every commercial pushes me toward a new means of salvation. I was so tired last night, but I scrolled through scripture on my phone before I fell asleep.  This morning I wanted nothing more than to disappear inside my head on the drive to work, but instead I recited Scripture.

These aren’t meaningless rituals.  They are river beds through which the streams of God’s grace flow to me.

(5) Imagine the witnesses.  I have a vivid imagination, so I make it work for me.  I imagine all the saints and angels looking into my heart and I tell God that I want to use this tension to testify to them that He is really as great as they believe.

I tell myself: Now is when worship is born.  Now – in the moment when there are other saviors promising deliverance – now is the moment you get to testify that you will wait for the only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

4 thoughts on “Hugs can’t save

  1. Your words, in anguish, are almost the exact things I could have written myself….I thank and praise you for the ways to fight and, as always, to turn my eyes (and heart and longing body) to Christ.

    Thank you.

  2. Oh my goodness. I needed to hear this. Earlier this year, my dad died and for the past couple of years I have had an overwhelming desire to meet my future husband, so those first couple sentences touched my heart. Jesus is so much more than I could ever desire or need and I need to trust and believe that. Thank you for sharing!

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