May 14, 2015

Battling the "But I Wants"

Last spring I had a terrible case of the “But I Wants.”

My flippant words hurt someone in the church my husband pastors, and although we talked about it openly and everything was made right, a weird remnant of insecurity hung over my interactions with others. God reminded me that healthy criticism can be good, as this had been for me, but no one likes disappointing people. Inwardly I wished he would have protected me from the discomfort of having done so.

I simply could not let it go. Even as he reminded me of his goodness and grace, I found myself saying, “Yes, but I want . . .”

What did I want?

Comfort.

Promises that I would never disappoint anyone again.

People to understand me.

I could go on.

Perhaps because of my growing insecurities, I began looking around for affirmation. I wanted to know my value to other people because my perceived value had been cut into just a little. This only served to exacerbate a sense of isolation and loneliness because, as God does when we place our hope in good things that aren’t him, he did not give me my heart’s desire.

Through Scripture, he spoke to me of his love for me, and of my value in Christ. Even as I read the words, I found myself saying, “Yes, but I want . . .”

So what did I want?

I wanted to not feel alone.

I wanted to be loved by others in specific and tangible ways.

I wanted pats on the back.

I could go on.

The terrible case of the “But I Wants” was metastasizing. I grasped for hope.

And then I was hurt. Legitimately hurt. Achingly hurt. One thing more God? I cannot stand under this weight.

I just wanted to run away — from myself, from relationships that seemed too difficult, from the discomfort and pain of walking through things I never wanted to walk through. I wanted to get mad at God, and I did in fact give him the silent treatment for a few days.

He wasn’t silent with me, however. He spoke to me through his word and through others about his perfect sovereignty. A glimmer of hope struck in my heart like a match flicked into tinder. Even as it tried to catch fire, I found myself saying, “Yes, but I want . . .” and feeling the fire go out. What did I want?

I wanted what I wanted, not Him.

This is soul cancer, not wanting him but what he can give me, and what he gives to others.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

He had kept my heart’s desire from me because it had been cloaked in covetousness. And because, as I was starting to see, he was jealous to give me something of greater value.

Through Scripture, He said, “I offer you my grace.” And I responded with the silent treatment.

He said, “I love you.” And I responded, “Yes, but I wish they would . . .”

He said, “I am perfectly sovereign over your life and will take care of you.” I responded, “Yes, I know, but . . .”

He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I responded still the same: “But I want something else.”

He said, “You have me.” I kept coming up with excuses of why that wasn’t enough for me.

He answered me with the enough-ness of His presence. I was looking to lesser things to satisfy.

Anything we desire more than God creates in us an insatiable thirst, as I was discovering. Insatiable. Never to be satisfied. How ungrateful and arrogant I’d been! I was pierced to the heart with my transgressions.

We will never be content if God is not enough for us, if the promise of his presence and his help in any situation we face is not enough for us.

And so I looked back over the events of the spring, pain and uncertainty still clinging to me. In light of it all, He continued to offer me grace and love and care and help.

Yes, Lord. You are enough.