Everyone has their “it”; that thing lodged in the heart waiting for a chance to surface and take the place of Jesus. It can lay dormant for long periods of time, just waiting to take us captive for a moment, a day, or even longer when we least expect it.
I used to have many “its”. Approval, spouse, career, notoriety, children, wealth, and before this week, I thought I had been successful about surrendering “it” and all his cousins. However, when “it” popped up this time, I thought it was a bona fide good thing.
God gives me what I want so often, I mistakenly assume He will give me everything I want, especially if It is a “deep desire”. So when the answer to the thing I’ve been wanting and praying about for years turned into a definite “No”, I was confused and, frankly, hurt. In fact, I had a meltdown of sorts. It took several days to pry white knuckles off my entitlement to happiness. Or at least my understanding of what happiness should look like.
Like being under the spell of a first crush, old thoughts consumed me; other people get what they want… I deserve to be happy too… Something this good must be from God!
Yet a small voice underneath the infatuation seemed to be asking me a question:
Whom do you love?
Offended at the implication, I immediately reacted:
“Of course I love you God! Why don’t you know that by now?”
The question persisted and nagged my soul until I had to admit the truth: the thing had captured my heart. I loved “it”.
That’s when I knew I couldn’t have it. Not because God didn’t want me to have good things, but because I couldn’t embrace something powerful enough to take first place in my soul.
As I released all “it” represented (joy, fulfillment, contentment, family), I realized all those things can only be found in my relationship with Jesus. Not in a place. Not a dream. Not a longing.
I can relate a little to Jacob when he came away from a wrestling match with God with a bum hip. Yet truly, if you think about it, a limp is a small price to pay for freedom.
Because as much as I wanted “it”, I still want Him more.
“Little children, guard yourselves from idols” John 5:21
…just living the thing.