The picture you see before you looks radically different from the image that was hung in your mental museum. This wasn’t how it was supposed to turn out. What you see barely resembles the beautiful canvas you meticulously planned out. The prayers and pleas begin. Please God. Change the scenery…the person…the situation…my heart. Hope fades as the bridge connecting the gap from where you are to where you long to be grows wider and longer and steeper. Regroup. Reframe. Remember. He is able. Even, when you are not.
Nonetheless, sorrow, disappointment, and perhaps, even despair quietly creep in to the innermost cavities of your heart. These emotions bring exhaustion and weariness along with them. The burden grows heavier. You’ve been here before and were not planning on returning to this place. Yet, somehow the path brought you back here. The unmet expectations once again form a weight you never thought you’d have to carry again.
Your spouse isn’t who you thought they were.
Raising kids no longer brings joy or satisfaction to your life.
The path you dreamed and desired so deeply is so different from the path you are on.
The mundane tasks of life crowd away the hope that things will ever change.
This unwanted stone is your reality. But, oh how I know you long for something else. Our hearts feels the weight of it all. Our mind replays, recreates, reimagines. Our body begins to drag. No one wants this heaviness. What will you do with the weight that accompanies this place? Do you hear the voices that rise up from the pack that you are carrying? The deceptive one lures you to protect your heart, to shield it from feeling any of this? It promises relief by rejecting what you feel. It warns that these emotions will cripple you and cause your soul to crumble? This voice speaks a message that provokes fear or shame or guilt to swirl within you as you wrestle with how to deal with your reality and the uncomfortable emotions that continue to rise. The more you engage with this dialogue the more you begin to believe that Christians, those who really trust in the Lord, aren’t supposed to be sad and weary. The voice will keep sounding until you continue to suppress the emotions and form a smile on the outside. Your heart will begin to hide and sink and disappear. A dissonance slowly occurs. The outside no longer reflects the agony on the inside. A war is being waged. If you continue to give in to this voice, more of you will slip away as you frantically place your energy in protecting the inside and painting the outside.
Amidst the noise that accompanies all this construction, a gentle whisper persistently beckons you to a land where the heart can freely feel and the mind can be renewed. You want to believe that this hopeful place exists. Could it be as real as the place you are in? You try to imagine this but fear strikes you and reminds you that more desire can mean more death. The invitation to this place of authenticity relentlessly surrounds you. Could this be from God, the lover of your soul? He continues to invite you to sit and wish and wail on one side of the gap while He sits with you with His eyes able to see the other side. In the midst of the deepest disappointment, our Great God dares us to lean on Him, to trust Him, to rest in Him. He offers His promises to us as we lay down our expectations, our fears, our facades and fix our eyes solely on Him. The walls inside begin to crumble in this resting place and our captive heart is set free. Here we can glimpse the Father’s heart for us. As we remain here, we are gently coaxed to courageously expect more, dream more, desire more…from Him alone. His promises are enough. He is able.
Living with expectations, with hopes and dreams and desires for our lives can be so difficult at times. Over and over again, we confront the todays that we could not possibly foresee yesterday. What will you do with the pain that resounds in your heart? Where will your emotions propel you? A place of striving, of concocting, of building facades? Or a place of rest and renewal where your heart is known and loved and set free?
May all that you feel propel you to His feet, to experience His gift of grace, of rest, of renewed hope. In this place alone,you will surely experience rest for your soul.
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
By: Jackie Perry | MS, LPCS, NCC