"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Selfish Unfaithfulness to God

This topic has sent me on another quest to discover just how I live that is unfaithful to God . . . . it was and still is a painful journey.

For years I've known that God is to be my source, my provider for all I need, but it seems to be going deeper, it's getting narrower and it's becoming a pinch!

I understand He provides for all my needs, it's the definition of 'need' He has which is so different from what I think I need which is causing all my struggle, which is causing me to doubt at times His love for me, selfishly because I'm not getting what I want, or think I need.

I am beginning to 'get' that He is more committed to changing my character than He is to relieving me of any present challenge. I'm beginning to see that at times my biggest 'need' is to find relief when I'm in a situation I don't appreciate, a place that is painful, lonely, bored or sad.

So where does the unfaithfulness come in . . . . when I'm lonely and I'll do just about anything to find relief. When I'm bored I want relief so what do I do?? I fill my time with mindless playing about on the computer, watching TV or eating something, even if the 'something' is healthy but I'm eating to lessen the pain of loneliness or boredom. I seek out other people to find relief of loneliness. When I'm sad or lonely, I'll first think of 'who can I call, what can I do?' I use people to assuage my need more than I go to God, how selfish is that?

People use drugs, cigarettes, porn, sex, reading books to escape, partying, watching TV and other people to find relief from the difficult and painful situations we find ourselves in. We date and marry others, one of the most important life-changing decisions we will ever make and our motivation is often to find relief for whatever our need is; financial security, loneliness, that deep desire to be loved by a special person etc. We use other people for our selfish need to find that relief.

In a marriage we vow to love one another through better or worse, through sickness and health, for richer or poorer until death we part. I'm beginning to see when I look to other people to find relief from the above kind of situations, I am being unfaithful to God who has said He will meet my need.

I am unfaithful when He says 'no' and I turn away from Him.
I am unfaithful when He says 'wait' and I go ahead to provide it for myself.
I am unfaithful when He doesn't provide as I expect Him to, and go looking to get what I want.
Or worse still, I try to manipulate God into relieving me of any current situation which is causing me pain or pressures me in some way. In fact, the whole attitude of striving for relief and comfort is pretty big in my life and that is very disheartening to discover.

If I liken this to
being faithful in a marriage, what if every time my spouse did not meet my 'need' or didn't give me what I wanted, and I then go looking for another to meet that need? This would be very detrimental to us building a deep, satisfying marriage together. In fact it's one reason, I think a very big reason, why divorce is so prevalent. 'We' don't get out of it what we need, so rather than loving sacrificially and asking God to provide for our needs while still in the marriage, we find a way to 'get out' of it and go looking for someone else who will meet our needs. To me, seeking marriage as a way to having my own needs met is a very bad motivation (I can say this because that was my motivation for a while). I Cor. says Love does not seek it's own, but I want relief from being alone, from not having a companion to enjoy things with, to assuage my loneliness rather than to give and love as Christ loved the church (a topic of discussion too big for this post).

I think I am like a baby who wants to be fed, to have a full belly to feel good, so I cry. I'm like the toddler who wants 'that' toy so I pitch a temper tantrum to get what I want to feel good. I am like any other scenario you can think of which describes someone who wants relief in some way and behaves poorly when they don't get it.

I read the following which says better what I'm trying to say:
“until you fall into the dignity of despair where words about Me mean nothing to you and where service for Me seems futile; until the wisdom that comes easily fails to stir you with hope; until available pleasures, legitimate and illegitimate, moral and immoral, no longer satisfy or even bring more than temporary relief to your empty soul; until whatever wealth you have accumulated, whatever possessions litter your life, whatever achievements decorate your resume, until all of it leaves you with the realization that more will not fill the emptiness in your heart; until time with friends doesn’t energize you as it once did’ until sacrificial deeds of kindness that win the applause of many no longer have the power to help you feel worthwhile; until the drama, passion and activities of church become lifeless and dull; until you have nowhere to turn for the satisfaction for your soul’s desire, not to the Bible, not to prayer, not to music, not to friends, not to church; until all this happens, you will never dance to heaven’s music as I designed you to dance. You will hear not My song of love as clearly and beautifully as I sing it. You will not know that every moment of your life is a perfectly tuned note in the eternal harmony." Larry Crabbe

When everything but God has more importance in my life in meeting my need to find relief to any of my situations, it is being unfaithful to Him, it is turning to someone or something other than Him and that is idolatry.

I want things from this life that most people want or if they have them, take them for granted.
I want my own home again where I can entertain, have my kids and grands over for holiday meals.
I want gardens both vegetable and flowers.
I want a clothes line to hang out laundry (I know, sounds weird).
I want a good husband/marriage relationship.
I want a car that isn't falling apart, bit by bit and isn't held together by the grease and oil that covers it.

I want, I want, I want . . . . selfishly, to bring me relief. But I'm beginning to see they are a temporary fix at best and a trap into more selfishness at worse. I can look back at my life and see it is riddled with decisions that should have made my life easier, better and more pleasing, but in looking back, it did little to satisfy or meet those 'needs'/wants. What it did, that I did not realize till now, was give me a sickening attitude of entitlement and one of 'deserving' and that is so not pleasing to God. (
Please don't misunderstand, I am not against marriage, having friends, having a home and all the things we enjoy in this life, I want them too. What I'm talking about is our motivation to selfishly find relief and above everything else feel good about me.)

But what does God want for me? He is more committed to changing my heart attitude, to changing my character, to making me more into the image of His Son Jesus than He is to giving me a temporary and eventually-dissatisfying relief for my present discomfort.

As Christians, we want the same thing right? We want to be like Jesus. But it's the journey to 'becoming' we find so incredibly difficult and most of the time we are not even aware that the wanting of all these good things is often the hindrance to becoming more like Jesus and to building our relationship with God into a deeper, more intimate and infinitely more satisfying relationship. And, as long as I continue striving to provide for myself, I rob God of the opportunity of providing for me, in a more rich and satisfying way and I rob myself of an opportunity to grow my faith and trust in God.

It's not an easy trip, there are so many roadblocks, some of which I don't even know are tripping me up. I guess I'll just leave it to God to show me them when necessary ~ as He did with this selfish desire to find relief.

Here's to each of us as we travel our own Journey. May the Provider of all our needs draw you closer and be everything you really do need.

Blessings from a Girl on a somewhat-painful-portion of this Journey called life.

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