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February 3, 2017

I’ve been feeling a little bit blue lately. Everything in my life is going fine, but in the back of my mind, when I pause, I feel sadness.

Sometimes, at certain times of the month, I can attribute unexplained sadness to hormones/PMS. That’s how it usually affects me. But this time, I don’t think that’s it.

I’ve been reading a book called Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. It’s about satisfying your deepest desires with God and not food. It’s been helping me eat healthier foods and drink less wine, and more importantly, it’s been helping me change my mindset about my body. My motivation for taking care of my body is because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And because I was made for more than a vicious cycle of defeat. I was made for Victory. And I was made to draw near to God instead of filling myself with temporary feel-good things like food, wine, or spending money. The book is helping me focus less on the number on my scale and focus more on making good choices and feeling proud of that, whether the scale reflects it or not.

I placed these cards on the wall in front of my treadmill. I am seeking to retrain my mind and reshape my habits.

I’ve been doing this successfully for just over a month now. And in the last week, I’ve noticed a new feeling emerging. I first recognized it as my willpower waning. I realized it’s “Make It or Break It” time when it comes to slipping back into old ways. I’m feeling antsy.

When I was on the treadmill recently I was praying, “God, I can’t do this alone. I need help from the power of Your Holy Spirit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, and I don’t have it on my own!”

Then I remembered something Lysa Terkeurst wrote in the book. She said God wants to create a longing in us, so that we will need Him and desire Him and seek Him. If we constantly fill our emptiness with quick fixes, like food, wine, and anything else that makes us temporarily feel good, it distracts us from longing for more of God.

And lately I feel this emptiness. A sadness. A bit of a heart ache. I cry easily.

I realized this week, "That’s it! That’s the longing God wants me to feel." So I have been leaning into Him. Honestly, I thought I was already doing that. I try to read the Bible daily. I pray all the time. I listen to worship music. I read books about deepening my faith. But recently, because I’ve surrendered some of the things I was using to reward myself and comfort myself from the stress of each day, I find there’s a deeper need in my heart.

I was driving yesterday and wondering how to describe the feeling. I thought, “I feel unsettled.” Then I remembered Lysa had written about that too! She prayed a prayer, “God, unsettle me.” Please make me uncomfortable with my habits of overfilling myself with rich food and wine.

This week I also recognized that I was looking to other people to fill my heart. One of my dearest friends has been unable to attend Bible study lately because of another important opportunity for her family, and I’ve been missing her. The last two weeks, before Bible study, as I pray for the ladies and for God to meet us and provide a powerful word for each of us…I feel sad. I miss my friend.

I’m longing for comfort and companionship and support. And God reminds me, “Come to Me. Long for Me.” He is the only One able to meet all our needs, all the time, and not get overwhelmed by it. Other people are incapable and unwilling to be everything for us. They’re not meant to. If we expect them to, we will be let down.

Last week before Bible study, I told the Lord I felt weary and needed encouragement. And right after that, when I went to pick my son up from school, I saw something beautiful. A bald eagle! Flying right over the fields in front of me! So majestic. As my heart lifted and thanked God, I suddenly remembered one of my favorite verses.

That was the perfect verse for me. I treasure those kind of moments, when I know God sees me.

This week, as I prepared for Bible study, the sadness popped up again. I recognized that God was reminding me to long for Him.

I was all alone in our church building, looking out the window, and I remembered a precious verse.

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.”

Psalm 42:1

I thought, “Yes! God, I long for You more than anything else. More than the comfort of a good friend. More than food. More than wine. Help me continually run to You for every craving and longing in my heart. You alone can fill me.”

In our Esther Bible study, written by Beth Moore, I recently read this:

God is jealous for our true enduring hero to be His own Son. God wants Jesus to be our unrivaled champion. He answers my prayers to love Jesus above all else by allowing someone to disappoint me and prove insufficient for me. When I kick and scream about feeling let down, I simultaneously awaken to the miracle that I’ve come to appreciate Jesus more and more.”

I love that so much. Because my needy heart longs for a hero. And it can only be found in Jesus. Not in any other distraction that fills me temporarily. Not friends, not food, not wine, not shopping, not words of affirmation (which I have realized is my Love Language!)…Only He can fulfill me in a lasting way.

Help me long for You more and more, Jesus. This is the prayer of my heart.

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