How much am I allowed to want?
Almost every person I know in their twenties is planning. Whenever I catch up with friends from college, the conversation almost always drifts into what we are doing, where we are living, who is dating and not dating, will we teach forever, when are babies coming…
What’s the plan?
We’re all so curious and checking ourselves against this imaginary marker because every one if us is unsure that we’re doing it right. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are making it up as we go along.
These are the years of plans and dreams.
But what about my best laid plans? What happens if God is most glorified through waiting? Through suffering? Through enduring?
How much am I allowed to want?
Is wanting too much being uncontent? And how do we define too much? Is it succeeding in business, financially, or is it having the freedom of doing what I want to do? How does that match up with what God wants?
I hate these questions that paralyze-
At times I feel like my life has become a series of checks and balances, of managing misplaced expectations in order to prevent risk. The problem with this is that I can always see what could be…and those could bes turn into large, larger than life dreams, and I have to chase them! And then I swing to the other extreme, chasing the dream with my whole strength and heart and mind…to find that something is still missing.
Maybe I’ve missed the point.
Jesus said he came to give life and life to the full.
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b, NIV
“…I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10, The Message
My fullest life is found in him.
I believe that God whispers to us His own given dreams and plans for his glory. However, every once in awhile, In searching for my fullest life, or accomplishing my goals or seeking to get credit for being a worthy vessel I can forget that He is the Dream-breather and Author of my book.
Is this why you’ve been felt distant Lord?
Because I’ve been chasing outcomes rather than You?
I hate how it feels when my voice is dismissed and exchanged for my productivity or what I have to offer…I feel used and unseen.
Why would you, God of the universe tolerate that? Why not just smite all the selfishness below you?
You don’t tolerate it. You are a patient God who invites us to be with You. You are also a jealous God; no one or no thing comes before You.
You also abandon us to our idols- what we think will satisfy us- but You are loving enough to make sure that these things will not satisfy.
You refuse to fill our bellies with mud. We do that do ourselves.
What if the dream being fulfilled is not the best outcome? What if the best possible outcome in the whole world is knowing Christ?
Philippians 3 allows me to hold what I want with open hands. I’m a go getter- I want to accomplish and create- but in chasing those accomplishments I don’t want to lose sight of the loving hands of my Father and the love of Christ- I don’t want to feel the weight of them on my shoulders or carry the anxiety of questions like what happens if things don’t turn out how I planned? If my dreams aren’t fulfilled? Will God still be good?
“7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
He is. He is. He is. He is worth it. I have the freedom to pursue my dreams without hanging my whole hat on them because they are not where my life is found. I can chase them down with the freedom of knowing Christ is worth more than all of them.
If my fullest life is found in him, my dreams and self are held by Him. And he is trustworthy.
These words are fitting to end with- the words of this sermon from George Whitfield. They are simple, straightforward, and were written primarily for an audience of single women, but I found that they recognize how Christ completes and meets every need and longing we have. I hope it moves you as it moved me.
Consider who the Lord Jesus is, whom you are invited to espouse yourselves unto. He is the best husband. There is none comparable to Jesus Christ. Do you desire one that is great? He is of the highest dignity, he is the glory of heaven, the darling of eternity, admired by angels, dreaded by devils and adored by saints. For you to be espoused to so great a king, what honour will you have by this espousal?
Do you desire one that is rich? None is comparable to Christ, the fullness of the earth belongs to him. If you be espoused to Christ, you shall share in his unsearchable riches. You shall receive of his fullness, even grace for grace here and you shall hereafter be admitted to glory and shall live with this Jesus to all eternity.
Do you desire one that is wise? There is none comparable to Christ for wisdom. His knowledge is infinite and his wisdom is correspondent thereto. And if you are espoused to Christ, he will guide and counsel you and make you wise unto salvation.
Do you desire one that is strong, who may defend you against your enemies and all the insults and reproaches of the Pharisees of this generation? There is none that can equal Christ in power, for the Lord Jesus Christ hath all power.
Do you desire one that is good? There is none like unto Christ in this regard; others may have some goodness but it is imperfect. Christ’s goodness is complete and perfect, he is full of goodness and in him dwelleth no evil.
Do you desire one that is beautiful? His eyes are most sparkling, his looks and glances of love are ravishing, his smiles are most delightful and refreshing unto the soul. Christ is the most lovely person of all others in the world.
Do you desire one that can love you? None can love you like Christ: His love, my dear sisters, is incomprehensible; his love passeth all other loves: The love of the Lord Jesus is first, without beginning. His love is free without any motive. His love is great without any measure. His love is constant without any change and his love is everlasting.
Oh everything we look for everywhere else but God can only be found in God!
Every greatness, every wealth, every wisdom, every power, every goodness, every beauty, and every love we are longing for can only be found in him, and in him we find the apex of all these virtues and more. Even the best of all earthly versions of these virtues are but pale substitutes. Even the most joyous marriage, the most blessed parenthood, the most adorable of babies virtually disappears in the radiance of his most joyous of joys, most blessed of blessedness, most adorable of adorability as the stars disappear when the sun comes up.
I haven’t mastered this balance or holding the tension between chasing them and knowing its okay if they don’t turn out exactly as I have planned-
I get scared, I try, I fail, I try again-
but I think seeing Christ’s surpassing worth is a good first step in remembering who all this is for anyway.