Monday, June 3, 2013

Becoming truly useful

One of my primary struggles in life is feeling like a bum. I often feel that I am not useful. I'm a drag on my family's finances and a burden. I want to be beneficial and I want to contribute, yet everything I attempt seems to blow up in my face. It is a series of disappointments that have left me feeling like a failure. I don't want to be a weight on my parents, continuing to cost them more and more money that they work so hard for. With each endeavor that I attempt to make a success I get more and more frustrated. What is wrong with me that I can't seem to make anything work? How will I ever be useful?
...Then I stop and listen to what God has to say and he puts me in my place every time.
How am I defining "useful"? he asks. If I am measuring my usefulness by the standards of this world (mainly dollars and cents) then I am missing a major point he wants to convey to me. Usefulness has to do with furthering his kingdom, not my bank account. God looks at the success of this world as filthy rags. In my human imperfection, so limited in its understanding, I fall into the trap of coming up with my own definition of success and totally missing God's. I am so prone to forget what true riches are. My desire to make money and be financially independent isn't in itself evil, but God knows that it has the potential to compete for my attention. God wants my whole hearted, sold out devotion to him, with no competition and no distractions. He is a jealous God and I wouldn't want it any other way.

For the past three years I have slowly watched fewer and fewer people want to be active participants in my life. They look at me and put up brick barrier because of the red flags they see in my outward appearance. My social circle has been reduced to family and a few church friends. At times this has been a tough pill to swallow. The feeling of isolation has been overwhelming. I have lamented my loneliness and wished for someone, anyone to want to spend time with me and truly get to know me.
And all the while there was God, longing for me to stop striving for other people, a fulfilling relationship, career or a successful business venture and just spend time with him. This whole time I have been feeling sorry for myself because things haven't been going my way. I've wanted my circumstances to change and my relationships to be more abundant. When a new business idea or career hasn't panned out I've beat myself up with guilt and regret. The whole time God has been there, wishing I would just stop all of this striving and be content with him. Hasn't he been enough for me? Isn't a relationship with him fulfilling enough? Isn't being useful for him enough? Why do I need what the world has to offer if I am busy pleasing and enjoying God? If I were truly busy working to further God's kingdom and spread his glory then why would I be so concerned about what earthly job I will fill? If I were truly fellowshipping with God and soaking up his presence why would I feel the burning desire for other relationships?

For so long I have been missing the heart of my relationship with God. I have been looking for other things to add to my life instead of embracing the most glorious and precious thing I could ever possess: a savior, my God, the King. I have pierced the heart of God by striving for earthly satisfaction.

....God, please forgive my heart that is prone to wander. Replace it with a heart that wants nothing but you and more of you. Give me a heart that wants to soak up your presence morning, noon and night. I want to be so in love with you, so desiring you, that my heart longs for nothing else. I want the one thing that I desire to be to know you more and to be fulfilled by you. The things of this world have nothing for me. But you, God, fulfill every corner of my heart and give my life the ultimate meaning. Thank you for loving on me, longing for me and seeking me out. I have neglected you and your love. Please forgive me. I want to come home to your presence.

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