Zephaniah 3:17 (New King James Version)
17 The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
I’ve been in a funk. I can admit that to you, right? I mean, there’s no need for pretenses. I can’t really put my finger on it just yet, and the “need-to-know-why” in me is settled down enough that I can be okay with not knowing the source of my discontent. But that’s what it boils down to–not being content with where the Lord is holding me right now. My perspective has changed from feeling that I am a prisoner to that of being held in love, being kept. That perspective change is so valuable.
But, I haven’t been all that pleasant to live with, despite the change in perspective. Discontent breeds an unloving attitude. At least that’s the honest truth for me. My husband must have added a couple of crowns to his collection these last couple of months. He isn’t perfect, but he’s the perfect one for me and the perfect one to handle me and my mighty big bad attitudes. Mostly, he just listens to my complaining and lets my unkind remarks and unloving spirit roll right off his back. I don’t understand how he does that…I’m offended by the slightest of eye rolls. He even continues to be kind to me when I have offered nothing but negativity all the live-long day. I am so blessed…
Anyway, I find myself discontent with where God is keeping me right now. There are a lot of things I want…a better camera, time to sew, family to live closer so we can have more intimate relationships, real, meaningful friendships…but those are not things the Lord is bringing into my life in this season. They aren’t bad things to want or have. They just aren’t meant for this time. And while my head knows that God is all-wise and all-wonderful and all-knowing so if I don’t have something that I want it’s for my ultimate best to live without it…my heart hasn’t really been following that wisdom. My heart has been yearning for those things. My heart has felt desperation.
My heart hasn’t really been yearning for God.
I haven’t given up on praying or studying scripture or living out my faith. I’m doing the list…you know, the list of things we know give opportunities for the Lord to have His way in our lives. But doing the list and living out the list are separate acts. Just reading my Bible isn’t the same as applying or even allowing the Holy Spirit to have access to my heart as I’m reading the Word. And praying for others is great, unless I’m ending the conversation before I sit at His feet and wait to hear what He has to say to me. Doing good deeds is nice, but an unbeliever can be kind. My good works should also accompany my faith that God is my all-in-all.
I’ve spewed a lot of emotional garbage in the general direction of Hubs lately. He’s so good at just sitting there, listening. I used to mistake his silence as not caring. Really, I think he’s praying for me, waiting for me to find God’s wisdom in the midst of whatever crisis I’m in. As we sat on the couch next to each other last night, him listening, me whining, complaining, weeping, and being generally difficult to be around, he finally said, “Honey, I think God is trying to quiet you.”
I had no response. None. I felt like an arrow had just pierced my heart. He didn’t say it in an angry tone or in accusing manner. Just simply and softly. The arrow hit the mark. Immediately, I remembered the verse above…He will quiet you with His love… What exactly was my heart raging against? I sounded like a two-year old. Things weren’t going my way and I was basically throwing an adult version of a tantrum. Instead of allowing God to change my perspective and see things through the lens of His love, I was continuing to persist in having my way. Me, me, me…ever get just sick of yourself?
Wouldn’t it be great if this post ended with me falling on my knees in repentance, praying with my husband and being forever changed by the knowledge that I have been being selfish? That would be great. But, I’m thick-skulled and it takes me awhile to decide that I’m going to obey. God is changing this part of me, but it’s a slow, uphill battle, friends. I spent a good part of last night just thinking about God quieting me. It isn’t that He doesn’t care or is apathetic to my concerns. He does care, He is listening. But my heart will stop raging, will be quieted by His love alone. I should know this by now, but I still need to be reminded. Over and over and over and over…
I love that the verse also reminds me that God delights in me–rejoices over me with singing. I like that image. Our Father God rejoicing over us because what was lost is now found and redeemed and brought into fellowship with Him.
Quiet me, Father…with your love alone. Allow nothing else to take the place of You. Amen.