*Originally written on 8/17/15
Today I would like to share two lessons God has taught me and is continuing to teach me over the past little bit of my life.
One of my favorite lessons I have learned involves the desire to be wanted. All of us want to be liked, to be needed, to be popular and in essence be wanted; and also it seems the more we want it, the more we lack it and the emptier we feel. For me personally, this emptiness feeling always sinks downward in a depressing thought spiral. I knew that God was my “all in all” and I shouldn’t need to be liked in order to be happy, but nonetheless I still found myself down trodden when I felt unloved, when no one asked me to hang out, when I had no one to talk to, no one to text or was seemingly alone in any other shape or form. As I was reading in Psalms the other day, I came to Psalm 18:19b where it says “He rescued me, because He delighted in me”. As I sat around contemplating that verse, the very tail end caught my attention. It says “He delighted in ME”. What does that mean? Well not only does God want and like our worship and our praise, but He individually “delights” in us. To delight in something means “to give somebody great enjoyment and pleasure”; that is what we give God – great delight and pleasure. So what does that have to do with the want to be wanted? God wants us; God delights in us. We want to be wanted; we want to be delighted in; we want to be cherished and desired and loved. For a while, I was wondering, “Why would God make such an unhealthy desire for us to try and overcome?” Well, the answer is that a) it is not an unhealthy desire and b) we don’t need to overcome it. Rather, it is like a fish in water; when we place our wanting-ness in God; He fulfills our want beyond our wildest dreams. And when He does so, there is nothing healthier than finding our confidence and self-worth in Him. Only God can truly fulfill that desire because He specifically made that desire, so He can fulfill it.
The second thing I would like to share relates to love, self-sacrifice and caring for others. Do you ever feel tired of caring for others? Do you ever feel like you go out of your way to do things for other people and no one ever reciprocates the actions or does anything for you? I have certainly felt that way and still at many times feel this way. I imagine this emotion as a bunch of cups pouring water back and forth; some have more carrying ability than others while some require more filling up than others. The question is: where does the water which fills our cups come from? For the past 17 years of my life, I solely got my water (aka my caring ability) from friends, a good conversation, a good laugh, a good time, family or something of that nature. However, these people or things only had so much water to give before their cup ran dry. It would never come close to “filling me up” or making me feel satisfied. Like earlier when God wasn’t fulfilling my desire to be wanted, I was left thirstier and emptier. However, as I started to pray and read my Bible more and more around the clock on a daily basis, I found this caring source that kept filling me up. It would never run dry. I could ask people about their days and lives without feeling drained when they didn’t ask me. What I found is that God was pouring into me. Referring back to the water and cup analogy, God was and is Niagara Falls, and I was the empty cup right beside it on a rock. All I simply had to do was to put my cup under His torrential down pour of love and care and I would be endlessly filled up to go and give to others. He never runs dry. For all who come to Him, He will fill up so you can in turn go pour into other’s lives. God created and allows us to go empty, so we will run back to Niagara Falls and let Him fill us up. Often times now, I find that God uses all those wonderful enjoyments I mentioned earlier – friends, family, laughter – to help fill us up; but ultimately, when the day is said and done, He is our source of living water and emotional fill-up through prayer, His word, worship music or simply sitting in His presence. While I’m still working on having Him fill me up from the very beginning, I now know exactly where and how to get filled up to the point of over-flowing whenever I need it. So once again, just like our wanting emotion, God created our emptiness so He can fill it up. If we turn to God, He can and will satisfy us in a way no one or anything else can.
So who fills you up? And where do you place your confidence and your desire to be wanted?
And finally from 1 Thessalonians 5:24-25, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Daniel Wintill (19) is a former staff member at TPS Chapel and Changing Lives Ministry. He studies at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.