I have a funny memory etched in my mind of a friend serving in our church nursery several years ago. It was toward the end of a long church service and she had been serving in there for a good hour and a half. Although she didn’t see me, I saw her looking longingly out the nursery window for parents to come and retrieve their little ones. I giggled at her puppy dog “Help me!” eyes…and her nose – literally – pressed against the window! Clearly it had been a big day in the nursery and it was time to call it a day! I waved at her, breaking her out of her trance, and we had a good laugh about it. But what has stayed with me is that look on her face. There is something I will remember from that nose-pressed-against-the-window look. I think I recognized something in myself that day, something that doesn’t always rise to the surface of life. But it’s a common trait of all humanity: longings.
How many times through the years have you thought, “If only…” If only I could be somewhere else…someone else…If only I could somehow be more free from the troubles or limitations of my current situation…
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with dreaming. It is a God-given blessing to dream. The question is – where do we go with our dreams? Do we look toward God and seek His ways of satisfaction? Or do we look away from Him and search high and low, desperately seeking to fulfill our deepest needs in ways that may bring us satisfaction for a season… but will it last?
The Bible talks about three potential directions of the heart. The first two are obvious: We can turn our hearts toward God or we can turn them away from God. The third position could be described as somewhere in the middle. Christ describes this third direction as a lukewarm or divided heart – and if we are living that way, He has some sobering words for us. “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:16 Wow!
It’s clear that the direction of our hearts matters deeply to God – and only one of those directions will be blessed. That is heart that is fully turned toward Him; a heart that is undivided, set on honoring Him with your whole life. How I need God’s help to love Him more fully, with my whole heart!
Now, I must say, the way of learning to live for God and be satisfied in Him is not a quick fix – nor is it always easy. In contrast to what the world has to offer you, God’s ways of satisfying the deep needs of your heart are very different. I have found that when I choose to turn to God, my experiences have been marked by unexpected, yet truly life-giving lessons. Things like forgetting my own needs for the sake of another, surrendering my plans and dreams to Him, trusting Him when I don’t understand His plan, waiting when I want to jump, laying down my rights when I want to hold on to a hurt and hanging in there when life gets hard….not exactly the stuff of ease and comfort!
BUT – I have also found that God’s ways of satisfaction are profoundly real and lasting. When I choose to surrender my dreams to Him, he has a way of gently guiding (even changing!) them so that they are more in line with His heart and will for my life. As a result, I find myself resting in the blessing of being completely at peace with God and with my circumstances! Truly, there is no greater joy than to feel that you are enjoying the smile of God on your life – and there is nothing more satisfying.
So, friend with your nose pressed against the window, I encourage you to turn your heart fully toward the One who loves you most, and best knows the deep needs of your heart. Trust Him to show you the only true way to meaningful satisfaction – and that is satisfaction in Him!
– Julie McGrath
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:2-4
1. Where is your heart today?
2. Take time to spend time with the Only One who can speak to the deepest needs of your heart.