Lately I’ve been reflecting and diving into the things/ activities that I really enjoy. I am currently developing a deeper appreciation and fondness of pottery. I am getting back into climbing and bouldering after taking a short break. What I really love about these two activities is the beauty in each of them. There is a beauty in the process of forming a vessel and there is beauty in the persistence of solving a boulder problem. There is also beauty in the final product– the gratification that comes from working hard and giving something your complete attention. In each of these things, however, I find the joy that comes from each accomplishment only sustains me for a short time. Eventually I will find a new boulder problem or a more difficult piece to replicate. Depending on my mindset, this can either be an enjoyable process or one of frustration.
These activities can be futile if I am looking to them for my source of life and joy. This applies to relationships too. When I search for sustaining joy and life outside of the person of Christ, I am left unsatisfied and my relationships suffer. No person or activity or job is meant to be a life-line. There is only one source of life in the universe that doesn’t have an expiration date: God. Upon this realization, I had a plethora of mixed feelings. I was relieved because my search for something to bring me lasting joy was over, but I was also a bit discouraged by all the time I had wasted giving my heart to other things and people. Ultimately, I feel a sense security. There’s nothing like having a sure promise of joy, love, and life from the Lord. There’s nothing like knowing in your deepest parts who you are and what your purpose is. I find such security in trusting the One who by His wisdom created the universe and my heart. He knows my heart because He made it. He makes Himself known to me in people I love and in activities I enjoy.
It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that I am falling in love with God. I used to love Him because of all that He did for me, for dying for me while I was still His enemy. For pursuing me despite my indifference. But something is different now. I am beginning to love Him not only for what He’s done, but for who He is. How special. I feel like this is the kind of love the Lord has for me, and the kind of love He’s wanted from me all along. No one want’s to be loved for what they do for others, they want to be loved just because they are uniquely and irreplaceably themselves.
In this revelation, I’m learning more everyday about how man was made to be in the image of God. We get our deepest yearnings from Him. He too wants connection, intimacy, community, to be known and loved and sought after. He wants to be someone’s first choice. He wants to be fought for and He wants to be the superhero that defeats the bad guy and saves His damsel in distress. Look at little children: do they not dress up like princesses and play marriage and have sword fights? Is their play not a picture of our core desires expressing themselves? This is who we are. Reproductions of a fierce and romantic God who wants to show us who He intended us to be and invites us to live our best lives alongside Him.
Out of all my life pursuits, even the most noble one is vanity if Christ isn’t my source of life. He brings light to the deepest parts of my heart that no one else can touch. Each day, He loves me in a way that cannot be matched. He has come to be my first love and my best love. No other can take His place. I have found this attitude of the heart to bring me much comfort and peace.
In taking Christ as my first and best love, a sweet thing has happened: all of the things I enjoy doing (climbing, pottery, drinking tea and wine and coffee, watercoloring, gardening, hiking, listening to music, playing guitar, reading, and writing) have become even more enjoyable, because Christ is in them! This is my reality: doing life with God instead of for God. It’s so enjoyable! Praise the Lord!