Do you remember what a tumultuous mess you were as a thirteen-year-old girl? With the basic needs of food, shelter, and health met, you still wanted more. You craved relationship and pushed the people you loved away. Everything was going right, but your heart still felt twisted up and wrong. Unsettled. Discontent. Puberty is a beast.
My emotions have returned to that of a thirteen-year-old girl. Everything is ok, but it’s not ok. I have my health. My family is without crisis. Our cars are paid for and running, and our roof isn’t leaking. I have a good job. I have great friends. Still, there is an unsettledness in my soul. The hot fire of discontent lap at my peace like a flame to dry wood.
At first, I attributed all of this to the enemy. He is there, whispering lovely lies to me. He tells me I am not good enough for anything better. He makes me believe that my enough is not actually enough. He points to others and it doesn’t take long for me to fall into his comparison trap. He tries to convince me that God doesn’t love me or notice me enough to bless me beyond what I already have.
But he is not the only problem. I am also to blame. I have let this discontent grow from a small seed until it has wrapped around my heart, choking out the warmth and truth of God’s light. Callouses have formed on my heart making it hard for the encouragement and admonishment from God’s word to penetrate deep enough to change me.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Matt. 13:22 ESV)
Not too long ago, I felt God asking me for a “yes” before I knew His question. I carried it around a few days, wondering what was next. Would He ask me to join a ministry, start something new, change jobs, take an exciting step of faith? I would give a hearty YES to any of those things. I usually enjoy those leaps of faith. Nothing like that came along. As I waited for God to reveal the question—to which I had already given my yes—discontent started to grow. I didn’t notice it at first. And when I did, I batted at it like a kitten toys with a piece of string. I smoothed it over with happy thoughts and surface level platitudes.
As I sit in the middle of confusion and discontentment, I realize the yes He asked of me was intended for this moment. God wants to deal with the deeper issues behind the surface emotions. The ugly truth is my discontent is doubt in disguise. It is evidence that I believe all of those lies being fed to me. I believe I am not good enough. I shrink at the comparisons to others. I am starting to believe God doesn’t see. I doubt His presence, His promises, and His provisions. And it threatens to paralyze me.
No matter who you are and no matter how long you have been a Christian, unbelief brings unrest. Unbelief is simply an unwillingness to trust God. It can rob you of what God has planned for you. (Krista Williams, First5)
I want to stay on the surface, to avoid looking at the deeper issues in my heart. I am looking for a quick fix. I want to find that just right verse that I can put on a sticky note to give me hope. I want a sign of divine intervention—a parting of the sea or a multiplication of fish—to remind me of God’s active presence in my life. I want to grow tall without the hard work of growing deep roots. I want to believe that I believe. But until I deal with the deep seed of doubt and unbelief in my heart, the thorns will continue to choke out my joy and peace (Matt. 13:7).
Are you struggling with the emotions of a thirteen-year-old girl, too? Confused, unsettled, discontent, restless. God wants to deal with the deeper issues behind the surface emotions. Will you go there with me? I am in the thick of it with you. Let’s dig deep into God’s word, abide in His presence, and let Him heal the hidden hurts in our heart.
Lord, this is not an easy place You have asked us to go. It is easier to smooth things over with a smile and quick assurances. We do not want to live with these reckless emotions any longer. Break through the darkness and the lies with the truth of Your word. Help us to see what You see, and heal what we cannot fix. Deliver us for Your glory and our good. Amen.
It is beautiful when the Master chisels. God doesn’t allow the unglued moments of our lives to happen so we’ll label ourselves and stay stuck. He allows the unglued moments to make us aware of the chiseling that needs to be done. (Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions)
I am joining Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday. Stop by to read more thoughts on going deep.
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Photo credit: Julian Blöck via Unsplash.