I think everyone has cravings for one thing or another. Me, I crave chips. Corn chips, plain potato chips, ruffled potato chips, flavored potato chips, zucchini chips, anything but kale chips! I love chips, sometimes I think I absolutely must have them or I’ll go bonkers! They are so satisfying and crunchy! I feel good when I eat chips. They go with everything.
Above all that, even more than chips, I crave the presence of Jesus. I must have His presence, His voice, His fragrance. I crave time with Jesus, time building a stronger relationship, listening to His wisdom, hearing His heart.
Today He spoke these words to me, and I believe they are for you.
“Do you know that I crave? I crave close relationship with you, even more than you crave me. Look at the Song of Solomon. This is my description of how I love my Bride, my children. Each one, individually, totally, uniquely. I crave every part of you for myself. It’s true. I am jealous for you. I crave your presence, your worship, your heart. I crave your friendship, your prayers, your voice. I crave you, and your willingness to come near me. That satisfies me.”
I started making some changes in my lifestyle so that I might lose some weight and build strength. The first thing was to divide my weight by 2, and drink that number of ounces of water every day. After a few days, I began to notice something; I’m thirsty. I didn’t drink near that much water before, and I was never feeling the sensation of thirst. But now that I’m feeding my body the water it needs, I’m thirsty.
It’s like that with Jesus. The more I drink in from the wellspring of His grace, mercy and faithfulness, the more I crave Him. As I feed on His word, His stories, His wisdom, I find that I must have more to satisfy my soul. There’s joy, unfathomable joy in His presence. I thirst for more. He said, Satan has come to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come that you may have life, and more abundantly. He quenches us with abundance. He redirects our focus to Him. He satisfies our souls with His goodness. He brings life to dead places in us and turns a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. He is living water. To drink Him in is to slake the unquenchable thirst that’s built in our DNA, once for all, never to thirst again for any earthly thing. Hugs
Several people have asked me how to start writing a book. How does it begin, how does it develop? When I sit down to write a book, I just write. I just pour out chapter after chapter in a rough draft written quickly. The focus at first is to get out all the thoughts and ideas running around my head, to build a plot and characters. Later, I go back and refine it, correct it, prune out what’s extraneous. I might change the outcome, change the structure, or find another subplot to explore. I build it better, strengthen weak spots, remove junk. Because I write as influenced and directed by the Holy Spirit, I pray a lot as I write. It is His brilliance that puts together what comes out of my fingers onto a keyboard.
I notice that’s how my life works in Christ. He does the editing, makes life interesting and productive. He covers mistakes and lets consequence work for His glory and my good. He redirects my path and rewrites my plot. Life is truly an adventure. Sometimes I have no idea what is coming next, and sometimes I know exactly what to expect. I love that. I love surprises and adventure. I love certainty and confidence in Christ. I love that He puts people in our lives that we can love and share our voyage. I love that he causes us to grow and learn and have more capacity for Him. Life is joy, one activity after the next. That’s the overall picture, joy.
Have you ever gone to your jewelry box for a favorite necklace, and found it all tied up in knots? The fine gold chain is a snarled mess, seemingly just from sitting there in the box. Maybe you put it back carefully, but it folded back on itself and tangled. To unravel it takes time and patience, pulling out one microscopic knot at a time, using a fine gauge needle and tweezers. It’s slow and tedious, but in the end, it’s free again and ready to be worn.
Life can get like that fine chain. Scripture warns us not to be entangled in things that are simply not our calling. I’ve gotten so bound up in a “good thing”, that I have no time for my passion, my calling. The consequence of that is I lose my joy, friendships are strained, the fight against offense and the wiles of the enemy are on. I feel like I’m entangled in a monster sized spider web and need to be free, but there are so many sticky and extenuated circumstances, it seems too hard to deal with. I know it’s not impossible, and I’m mad at myself for missing it. Head slap! Slowly I have to begin the painstaking task of extricating myself; one thing at a time, so the knot doesn’t get worse or break the chain. It’s meticulous work that could have been avoided if I’d sought the Lord in the first place. Have you ever gotten into something that sounded so good, it had to be God? Then it goes south and you find yourself miserable. I have, and all because I didn’t ask the Lord if that “good thing”, was for me. Maybe that good thing was a distraction so God’s true plan for me would be passed by. Maybe the enemy came in and used that good thing to destroy something else. God is faithful to bring the true calling back around, but it would have been so much better if I hadn’t wasted time! Leaving it in a mess is simply not an option, I know that I know, that God has a better way if I will do the work.
As I purposely labor to get back to freedom, my joy returns. Creativity returns and relationships are restored. God is a restorer, a rebuilder, and is faithful to bring us out of the fire. He uses our missteps to educate us and bring us higher. He dances over us and rejoices over us with singing. He makes us free, even when we entangle ourselves in the stuff of life. Where are you today? Are you sitting in a pile of knots or are you a gleaming fine chain of glory, showing off the pendant of God’s workmanship in your heart? Be encouraged by the love of God. He is for you, not against you. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. He never runs out of chances and He can fix anything. Hugs.