Desert Song by Hillsong Worship has been on my mind lately. Do you remember it? It’s from 2012. It sings about times of being spiritually depleted… and how God is worthy of worship through all seasons.
And I relate. I’m not fully tapped-out, unable to give more or necessarily in literal pain, but I have hit a time of spiritual reticence. I’m hesitant to do more. I struggle to trust whatever God has for me next because I am drained from the last thing He asked of me.
The other day, our Sunday school book took us to Matthew 4 and Deuteronomy 8. In Matthew 4, Jesus is “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” In Deuteronomy 8, The Israelites were about to be led into the promised land after wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Our study was making the point that as a people group, we do not rely on God as we should.
We discussed how Jesus was obedient even though he knew God’s plan. Jesus believed in God’s goodness and that God had Jesus’ best in mind. We discussed how Satan can only do what God allows. Yes, Jesus was tempted, but only because the Spirit led him into the wilderness for that purpose. We also discussed how we are tempted to take control of our lives, even though it may not be God’s best for us.
Much like the Israelites in Deuteronomy, when we decide not to do as God calls us, we experience less than God’s best for our lives.
And yet, there are times in my modern life that it is not easy to choose God’s way. I don’t mean in the generic, large-scale Sunday-school-answer ways like losing friends or going against the grain of society. When general instances like that came up in childhood, I always pictured myself on a huge stage – akin to the presidency or maybe on Broadway – making huge declarations for God. That is not my reality, though. My life is not on a big stage.
This version of hard is minutely detailed, more taxing on my everyday life. When choosing to be obedient is frustrating and uncomfortable, like a splinter. It’s tweaking your nerves, ever-present until you either extract it or one day it works out of your skin. (Or I suppose it could fester and create infection, if you let it.) My current version of hard is when stepping up forces you to give more of yourself than you expected, like motherhood. When serving the Lord refuses to stay within my expectations, and spreads me thinner than I planned, like serving our church family.
Those last two are beautiful experiences, and there is great joy in serving the Lord, but the work of the gospel can also make a body weary. It can wear your defenses down like a splinter. I’m verging on weary, my friend.
As someone who has grown to put a premium on down time (for legitimate health reasons and for less-than-honorable personal reasons), I am not getting the recharge time I thought I needed. And yes, I realize how selfish this sounds.
But, praise the Lord! He does not leave me to be the brat I may choose to be. God provides songs like Desert Song, and classes like my Sunday School group, and bible studies that lead me to recognize that when people choose selfishly, they miss out on God.
I had to face these questions today:
- Is God’s best for my life good enough for me?
While this answer should be an easy and emphatic “YES”, my pride in my plans for my life show that too often, I do not trust in this yes.
- Am I deserving of God’s best for my life?
This answer is never up for debate. No. I do not deserve God’s best.
But again, praise God! Because He does not leave humanity here.
God only gives His best. He never moves or pushes us away. Like the father of the prodigal son, God anticipates our return to Him and RUNS to us when we allow Him room in our lives.
God loves you.
God wants to have a relationship with you.
And yes, even me. Thankfully, God loves the me that hesitates to let Him provide. God loves the me that tries to plan the next season of my life. God loves the me that struggles to accept the changes that come. God loves the me that whines about said changes. God loves the me that may be skeptical. God even loves the me that asks hard questions.
This season of my life has been uncomfortable.
But who is ever truly comfortable when they are growing?
Deuteronomy 8:5 says,
“Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.”
God is growing me. (Maybe I took too long to come to that conclusion.)
I bet He’s growing you, too.
Take heart, friend. You’re not alone in the selfish moments where you want to whine about what is asked of you. And thankfully, you’re not alone when you recognize it’s time to stop whining and come into God’s choices rather than your own.
God is good to provide through every season.
Written by Leah Honnen. Leah Honnen is a wife, momma, and infertility warrior living in Jacksonville, IL. She is a homemaker and volunteers at her church, but loves spending time fixing up her pre-1920s home with her husband, John. Leah writes on the lessons she continues to learn in daily life – through infertility, motherhood, music, friendships, and more on Instagram @leahhonnen.