At 6:15 AM every morning, I hear little feet pitter patter across the hallway. My door creaks open. A sleepy two-year-old with crazy hair holding her special blanket walks over and stands next to my bed. She whispers in my ear:
"Mommy... I want to watch Peppa Pig on your phone."
As I struggle to wake up, she crawls in bed with me. And the familiar dialogue of her favorite show captivates her little heart. But not for long.
If you spend much time with children, you know that this is just the start of the "I want..." for the day. Those two words are the start and end of every
activity from 6:15 AM until bedtime.
"I want to wear my Rapunzel nightgown... and my Cinderella dress... and my tutu... at the same time."
"I want fruit snacks (not these carrots)!"
"I want you to hold me, Mommy."
I want... I want...
My days are characterized by those two little words. However, they are not the "I wants" of my two year old–they are my own. I hate to admit it, but if you could see the inner dialogue of my heart, you would see that I'm a lot like my daughter. Most moments, my wants are a little more sophisticated than hers. Some moments, my wants even align with Scripture. And other moments, they are just as immature as a preschooler's.
There's something about the way our hearts were created that makes them always want. Our hearts are never fully at rest. They struggle to be content for long periods of time. They are sort of like our stomachs–full for a moment, but as soon as it notices a void, it starts wanting again. We walk around each day carrying the weight of our wants. And as we walk, we look for ways to fill the emptiness and quiet the craving.
Maybe, you've perceived this in your own life, too? I have seen it in the college student who wants knowledge of the future. And in the single woman who wants to be loved and favored. In the married woman who wants her husband to love her well. I have seen it in the mother who just wants to be valued or deemed important again. And I have seen it in the older woman who wants a full house again.
The hunger pains of our hearts come in all various shapes and sizes. These wants are not limited to one season of life, and honestly, any one moment can hold several hunger pains of varying degrees. At any given moment, we can want a particular kind of food for lunch, want to go shopping because we don't like any of our clothes anymore, and want a way out of the hard situation we are facing. What are we to do with our hungry hearts? Can they ever be filled?
In the kingdom of God, we discover the good news – our longing hearts finally receive what they have been seeking all along.
We are invited into the throne room and ushered into the feast only to be seated at the family table. There, we are given the Bread of Life.
In John 6:35, Jesus says to hungry crowds, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
Sister, what are we to do with our hungry hearts? We are to run to Jesus! He will fill us. He will satisfy us. He will sustain us. When I think about all we have learned about the King the past two weeks in the Kingdom Reading Plan, I cannot help but exclaim,
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!" –Psalm 34:8
"For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." –Psalm 107:9
The holy, awe-inducing, humble, kind, suffering, creating, loving, serving, righteous Savioris better than anything this world has to offer. And once I've been in His presence, nothing else compares.
But, just like on the day after Thanksgiving, we somehow wake up hungry– wondering how it is humanly possible considering how much we ate the day before. Similarly, God designed us to feast on Him daily. He didn't provide a week's worth of manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. He provided just enough for the day. In the same way, He provides just enough to sustain us through the next moments to come. He wants us to continually go to Him in His Word and cry out to Him in prayer for continued sustenance.
I love how Marshall Segal describes it, "At least as often as your stomach gets hungry, your heart and soul get hungry. Look for God's promises when you read the Bible, specific
promises, and feed your hungry soul. Eat them. Eat them every day and throughout the day. Eat full meals. Eat snacks. Eat planned meals. Eat spontaneously."
When Cravings Persist
As much as we eat, our hunger will never be fully satisfied on this side of eternity. What do we do when the demands of our hearts well up within us, begging for someone or something to fill them?
What do we do when we want to be loved well, but we feel like no one cares about us–including our husbands or dearest friends?
What do we do when the circumstances seem impossible to face–a major diagnosis, infertility, a loss of a loved one, or a broken relationship–and we want to ask God for a different life?
Whether the "wanting" moments are big or small, we run to the One who says, "Come to me" (Matthew 11:28). We run to the only One who can quench the thirsty desires of our hearts. We find Him in Scripture and study His matchless character. Crying out with our need for Him, we repent that we have turned to worthless idols, looking to fill the emptiness in our heart.
And we confess how desperate we are to believe what He says,that nothing and no one on this earth could ever satisfy the ceaseless wanting of our hearts... except Jesus.
Next time you notice a craving persisting in your heart, I encourage you to consider these two categories:
- What does the Gospel say about my circumstance?
- In light of the Gospel, I can...
Here's a little glimpse of what this looks like in the pages of my journal:
What does the Gospel say about my circumstance?
- I am deeply loved and accepted by Jesus.
- Jesus sovereignly placed me in this situation for His glory and for my good.
- Jesus, as a human, has experienced the weight of this struggle and understands more deeply the hurt that I am bearing better than anyone else could understand.
- Jesus is walking with me through this moment. He is giving me the strength to make it to the end. Because He is with me, I am able to have joy.
- One day, all of these wrongs will be made right. I will be healed. There will be no more suffering.
- I get to know Jesus more through this moment. I get to worship Him more because He has allowed me to walk through this.
In light of the Gospel, I can...
- Repent from believing that anything in this world can satisfy me.
- Choose not to respond in anger towards the person who has offended me.
- Love them because my worth is not wrapped up in what they think of me or how they treat me. My worth is permanently secured. I am a child of God and co-heir with Christ.
- Forgive them and absorb the deep hurt that they have caused me, because of Jesus' forgiveness of my sin against Him.
- I can cry because the hurt and the disappointment are real. But then, by the power of the Spirit, I can wipe my face, stand up, and believe the promises of God.
Sisters, let's experience the deep satisfaction that Jesus alone offers us today. May the cry of our hearts be, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." – John 6:68
By Emily Guyer
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 02.