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The Pleasures Of Living

August 18, 2008

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your Presence and the pleasures of living with you forever…” (Psalm 18).

It has been years since I have been in a desert in my relationship with Jesus. So long, in fact, that it took me almost six months to realize that He was no longer the first thought when I woke up.  I no longer felt a hunger and passion for His Word to consume my heart. I didn’t really care anymore.

I asked Hugh to be honest with me. “You’ve grown apathetic, Sweetie.” He said recently. “It’s like you aren’t willing to do the hard things with God anymore. Everything seems to bore you.”

I listened – sort of. To be honest, pursuing God with everything in me had gotten a little too hard. I didn’t feel excited about it anymore. I forced myself to get up early to spend time praying and reading the Bible, but each month my prayer time was shorter and shorter and my mind more and more distracted.

How did I ever spend hours with God? I couldn’t remember what that felt like. I felt like David when he said, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving…” (Psalm 42:4). I used to have that kind of joy about things of the Lord.

The really hard thing about being apathetic is that I had zero motivation to change – I simply didn’t care that much. I am starting a new job, I have a family to take care of, and I have a really full life without making time to passionately pursue Jesus every day.

About six weeks ago, Hugh challenged me to start showing up with God even though I didn’t feel like it. To church, to prayer, to worship, to our new home group, to corporate prayer events, and basically anything of God that crossed my path.

My attitude was really terrible as I began to follow his advice. It was so hard so show up. To get up early and pray with my Bible open when I didn’t care. To intentionally find a community of believers at my local church to start to be transparent with.

But I kept showing up.

Up, up, up.

Higher and higher and higher.

Over the last two weeks, after a long time of pursuing God without feeling one ounce of His Presence, something began to happen to my heart.

It began to beat again with longing for God.

I have started waking up before my alarm goes off so I can rush to pray. When I do, I talk to God and I am starting to hear from Him. I am losing track of the time again. I pray and talk and cry and commune with my Father while time slips by.

Today when I read Psalm 18, I began to weep. David says, “you will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your Presence and the pleasures of living with you forever…” I am beginning again to live with the joy that comes with being in the Presence of God – the pleasures of living that come only from being with God.

The really amazing thing for me is that today is the first day of my new job. No more training weeks, no more teacher conferences – this Monday morning I am now a working woman. But, even in the middle of beginning the thing that has consumed me for weeks – I am not really thinking about it that much.

Because this morning I woke up and I worshiped Jesus and I meditated on His character and I felt the Presence of the Holy Spirit fill me – and that was worth so much more to me than my job.

He’s become enough again. He has become my first thought.

Up, up, up.

Higher and higher and higher.

Thank you, Lord, for filling me with Yourself. God, keep my heart soft with the things of You. I want my passion for you to consume me on a daily basis. I adore you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2008 8:24 am

    Praying for you today!

  2. August 18, 2008 10:47 am

    I “happened to” fall upon your site the other day. I am so blessed and thankful to God for that. You are such a blessing. This post spoke so much to me. You are an amazing writer and I thank you so much for being so brave and vulnerable to place your real self out there.

  3. August 18, 2008 11:53 am

    This was a truly encouraging post. Hugh is right; keep after God no matter what. I need to remember this also. (read those words like they were in bold and all caps)
    I need to chase Him regardless of what I am feeling. Prov.2 says: Cry out for insight and ask for understanding.Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasure.”
    Thanks for writing about coming out of the desert. Wonderful!
    I’ll say a pray for you right now, my friend.

  4. August 18, 2008 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been in one of those deserts for…I’m not sure how long now. I’ve been trying to pursue even though I’m not feeling anything, but it sure is difficult.

  5. August 18, 2008 5:49 pm

    As I am starting the new school year myself, I need to follow your example. Great post!

  6. August 20, 2008 5:03 pm

    …no longer the first thing on my mind when I wake up…

    just realized it’s been about 3 weeks since I stopped thinking of him first, too. time to make a change. thanks for the inspiration.

  7. August 21, 2008 9:55 am

    I wrote about you today on my blog, hope that’s alright. I’m thinking of you as you face your first “real” work day! So exciting!!

  8. August 22, 2008 11:25 pm

    You are always so honest and that is such a blessing. A woman I really look up to recently talked to me about a period of time in her life when she realized that she had lost her joy. I was so relieved to know that even she had faced that. It gave me such hope. You give others hope, too, Jess. Thank you.

  9. Taylor K. permalink
    October 22, 2008 4:06 pm

    when you said

    …after a long time of pursuing God without feeling one ounce of His Presence, something began to happen to my heart…

    it touched me, i am in a simular place right now.

    THANKS FOR BLOGGING! 🙂

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