My family and I live in an area that has seven large lakes. One of them is in the town we live in. It even has a small camper’s beach for swimming. Yes, the beach is mostly covered in geese poop, but it’s sand and sun, and we love it, so we go there quite frequently in the summer. It’s also not the clearest lake. It clean, but it’s a lake so you can’t see what you’re stepping on and theirs lots of plant like substances floating around. While I’m swimming in the murky waters, I often start thinking about what’s around me and under foot. Then I start getting very jumpy. The second I feel a floating bout of weeds graze my hand, I sheik and usually jump on my husband’s back convinced that one of those crazy fresh water sharks have found their way to good ol’ Crab Orchard lake.
Stay with me now, my analogy will eventually make sense, but first some background. Growing up I had lots of ideas of what my future would be like. What I will now describe as very specific delusions of grandeur. Yes, I would mask them behind a Christian-ese facade to make them more palpable, but let's get down to it. They were idols in my heart. Things that I wanted God to give me for no other reason than to glorify me. Then real life happened and there aren’t that many similarities between my life and those delusions. We have had seasons of very painful circumstances, loss, and heartache. This can be difficult to navigate in a world that tells you to “follow your dreams,” and “you can be anything.” However, for the Christian woman our heart beats with another cry. “It’s Jesus I follow, and I am His whatever my life may bring.”
There is a quote by John Piper that has spoken volumes to me.
Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.
Far too frequently these previous ideas have crept back into my mind reminding me of a life much different than my own. It’s on those days I can choose to fear the “what if’s” of life, panicking any time seaweed floats by me. Or I can, by God’s grace, enjoy the depth of God’s love for me that I get to swim in daily. I can fully embrace what God has given me, making the most of every opportunity, realizing I was sovereignly placed for a specific time in the place He has me.
It’s on those ‘dark days of the soul’ that I must be reminded that my heart is unfit for following.
Jeremiah 17:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Apart from the Spirit, my heart will fall in line with Israel in the book of Hosea; going after lovers to give me bread, water, wool, and flax thinking those things are what I really want. I need God to come again and hedge a wall protecting me from myself. Reminding me that it’s Him, my heart’s first Love, who gives me grain, wine, silver, and gold. God continues to save me from myself; whispering to me His ways are best for me and He has better for me and that “better” for me isn’t silver and gold, but it’s Him! He offers me the best, Himself.
What freedom there is for the Christian woman who knows God has made her, cares for her, and is sovereign over her. God knows the best for her heart. Why would He give her the soil in which an idol would flourish? He is too good of a Father for that. Instead, much better He gives. He gives us life with Himself, and a promise that He will never leave. Inviting us into waters fully satisfying, far better than we could have dreamed. Today, would you enjoy the all fulfilling waters of a life spent to the glory of God, or will we be so entangled in the idols of our heart that we miss the opportunity to swim.