“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” -Psalm 37:4
That was a verse from my last blog entry and I wanted to talk about it today because there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the promise behind it.
The Heart Wants What it Wants
Each and every one of us has a deep, intense, heartfelt desire. Leave a comment and let me know what it is that burns within you because I’d like to join you in prayer. Perhaps you have a family member you hope will get saved? Perhaps it is an addiction you hope to overcome? A goal weight you’d like to reach? A health issue? A destination you’d like to travel? For me, it is the yearning for a family of my own, a loving husband and children.
Trust in the LORD and Do Good
The surrounding context of Psalm 37 tells us to wait, have patience, trust in God, commit our way to Him, don’t worry, and rest. It speaks about trusting God’s plan and waiting to see what He will do, aligning our will with His will. When our mind is united with His mind we are becoming more like Him. His desires become our desires. THIS is delighting ourself in Him.
Delight ~ Hebrew word עָנַג
de·light / dəˈlīt
- To please (someone) greatly
- To be exquistely happy about
- To make merry over
- To give pleasure to
To delight yourself in the Lord is to serve Him with enthusiasm (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23). To have exceeding joy in your salvation (Psalm 51:12, Psalm 13:5). Letting Him satisfy your every need (Psalm 23:1, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:33). To live contented with what you already have (Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:12) rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) and be thankful (1 Chronicles 16:34, Philippians 4:6).
According to His Will
When we are delighting in God and submitting to His will, He blesses us with provisions, protection, deliverance, guidence, stability, and peace. But Psalm 37:4 is not a quid pro quo verse. Jesus said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Notice He said IN MY NAME. He didn’t say, “Ask me anything and I will do it,” but only if it was according to His will.
There are many examples in scripture of unanswered prayer. For example, we read the story of Paul’s thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Paul asked God to remove it three times but for one reason or another, God chose not to say “yes.”
Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane with droplets of blood pouring out of his sweat glands in complete anguish. He prayed earnestly, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Obviously, if God had answered THAT prayer then all of us would be going to Hell!!!
Sometimes God chooses not to answer our prayers, even when we’re delighting ourselves in Him and trusting Him with our whole heart. But because we know and trust that He “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28) we can praise Him and thank Him even when we are experiencing great pain.
Hillary Scott wrote this song right after she had a miscarriage which was the hardest trial she had ever gone through. She said in an interview, “Even when it hurts… God’s will is what’s best. Sometimes we don’t understand God’s promises until eternity. His ways are so much bigger than our ways. He sees the whole picture.”
When we are trying to pray but can’t find the words to say we can say these four words:
“Thy will be done.”
Be Still and Know
It’s hard to count it all joy when we’re distracted by the noise. That’s why Jesus intentionally rose early before anyone else to have his regularly scheduled time to be alone with God every morning. Jesus disciplined Himself to do this because quiet time with God was of utmost priority to Him. We can’t get lost in the business of life and put God on the back burner. We need to be open to hearing His “still small voice.” Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” If we aren’t listening, we’ll miss it.
Where is Your Delight?
It’s frustrating when we’re still single with verses like Psalm 37:4 laying around that seem to offer so much hope. Yet despite our unanswered prayers to the desires of our heart, God has a plan for “those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.” First I’d like to ask you: Where is your joy? Is it in a relationship with a human being or is it in a relationship with the Lord? There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship but our delight must be FIRST in the Lord. If time with God it is not a priority in your life then your joy is not in the Lord.
Second, are you “trusting God and doing good?” I read a statistic that only 5% of people are saving sex for marriage. I don’t know the statistic, but many believers choose to be unequally yoked with unbelievers and live impure lifestyles. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). God might choose not to bless you if you haven’t turned over all areas of your life to Him. When we repent of our sins and walk with the Lord, He removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). Then he plants His desires for us in our heart. As the old, beloved hymn goes, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus!”
Third, continue to pray, “YOUR way, not my way, Yahweh! Thy will be done. Make Your desires for me the desires of my heart.” Then be still and wait on Him. Waiting SUCKS but God tells us to wait over and over in scripture. Don’t rush. Be patient. He has His perfect timing.
Finally, delight yourself in the Lord! The Psalmist sings in Psalm 73:25, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Is that true in your life?
There is a funny story I’d like to share with you. My roommate in college gave me a poem for Valentine’s Day. The last line of the poem reads thus:
Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine,
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
Lord, they should all be Thine
I joked, “Can we just give God 999 hearts and save one for Mathew?” (At this time, my ex-husband was my boyfriend.) We both tilted our heads back with deep, belly laughter but then we both got quiet and serious. There is no room to give God 99% of our heart and keep 1% for ourselves. We have to give Him our WHOLE heart.
He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). He longs to bless us with good gifts (Matthew 7:11). But first He wants us to be completely satisfied in Him (John 6:35; John 7:37-39). When He is the object of our desire, we will have more of Him! Draw close to Him and He draws close to you (James 4:8).
If you’re anything like me, you tend to overanalyze every little detail, emotion, and possible connection.
It’s exhausting and unnecessary, but it’s also a sin. Yup. Overthinking is just the polite, grown-up way of saying “worrying.”
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Worrying keeps up from experiencing the full life of joy God has planned for us because we’re too busy overanalyzing all the minutiae. Worrying just keeps us busy doing a lot of nothing. This distraction is a tool of the enemy to keep us from our God-given purpose.
There’s nothing wrong with questioning the status quo but we need to remind ourselves of the truth, which will set us free. If you feel anxious or upset due to racing thoughts, you know they are not from the Lord beause He is a God of peace. There is no fear in love.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6)
And I don’t know why
What should I do?
What should I say?
Why’s this bothering me?
I finally gave up on my crush ever returning my feelings. Okay, I’ll admit there is still a little dash of hope lurking somewhere in the dark recesses of my heart. What can I say? I’m the most optimistic person I know.
Alas, I signed up for online dating. Why? Because seriously, how long do I have to wait for you, Honey, before a girl like me can move on?
Apparently more than five months… and I’d literally wait YEARS for him if he gave me even a tattered shred of threadbare hope.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops at all”
But he is a godly gentleman and he doesn’t lead people on so he hasn’t and won’t ever give false hope. Now I’m just trying to find a man on his level of awesomeness.
Less than five minutes after I uploaded a picture to my online dating profile I had 147 messages in my mailbox. I remember thinking to myself, “Self? Your time of singleness is over.” I was at first excited about this new adventure especially after seeing messages with pick-up lines such as the ones below:
- “How does it feel to be the most beautiful girl on this site?”
- “Seriously, how in the world are you not yoked with a man of God?! Are Tucson men just blind to how incredible you are?”
- “You are GORGEOUS. You must have a million guys after you.”
- “You are too good to be true. Are you real?”
- “Your energy is contagious and your love for God shines.”
But I quickly became discouraged when none of the gentlemen in Tucson seemed to be what I was looking for.
Except my crush.
And of course the website flashed it in my face every day that were were 99% compatible and that he was online RIGHT NOW, probably talking to other girls, too.
So my rules were:
1.) No initiating conversation. Never be the first one to suggest exchanging phone numbers or meeting in person. Let the man lead.
2.) Don’t even bother to reply to messages if you’re not initially attracted to the person’s picture. There’s no need to get people’s hopes up if you’re just not attracted physically.
3.) If he doesn’t say God is the most important thing in his life or if his answers to the questions don’t reflect that, again, don’t bother replying.
4.) Don’t even waste your time with men who say “MIGHT want kids.” Our eggs is a-shrivelin’ up, Honey Chile!
6.) Pray without ceasing. If it doesn’t feel right in your spirit, walk away.
7.) Remember that God desires to give me good things. He loves me and WILL provide in His perfect timing. Rest in Him.
So the first guy I talked to seemed perfect on paper… but then when we talked on the phone he said that he was only just married last month… “but don’t worry about that,” he assured me. “I’ve grieved over the loss, my heart is healed, and I’m over her and ready to move on.” I nearly choked on my own tongue. “Thank you for being so honest,” I replied. “That’s honorable of you to mention up front. However, it’s a red flag to me that if you truly are done mourning the death of your marriage so soon after its demise. The only thing I could possibly be to you right now is a rebound. I’m sorry, but this cannot go any further.”
That was the end of that.
Then there was an amazing guy who was even more perfect for me on paper than the one above. He was gorgeous, shared many of my hobbies and interests including salsa dancing, was intelligent, witty, musically gifted, and made me laugh.
He was very slow to meet me in person and I was growing impatient because everyone else I began talking to had already asked to meet me in person and he was the only one who hadn’t yet and also the only one I really wanted to meet anyway. I MIGHT have nudged him a little bit even though one of my rules was to let the man lead. Mistake number one. It worked though! And he asked me out the very next day.
We went on a date that I thought couldn’t have been more perfect… he actually sat there grilling me with questions and covered all the bases I could ever think of even right down to what my love language was, my communication style, how often I desired to be physically intimate after marriage, how many kids I wanted to have and when I wanted to start having them. It seemed we were compatible on absolutely everything because he kept saying, “Good! Me too,” and high-fiving me. Then at the end of the date when I said it was a pleasure to meet him he said, “Oh no, the pleasure is entirely mine. It was truly an honor to meet you.” I thought we were definitely going to make babies together–bahahahaha just kidding! (But like, maybe a little bit)
Unfortunately, I had to wait with bated breath for a text or email for what seemed like an eternity (which was really only about four days but in online-dating-time that just seems like a lifetime.) In his email he wrote that he could get lost in my “beautiful blue eyes all day long” but that he “didn’t feel God meant for us to be together.” What a heartbreaking rejection. I wrote back that I respected his sincere honesty and for doing it sooner rather than later. I also asked if he felt comfortable sharing what made him feel that way about us but he never wrote back and so the reason for the death of our romance so quickly kindled and so swiftly doused may haunt my waking thoughts for the foreseeable future.
Then I “met” the most amazing man I may have ever met in my life. We talked on the phone for seven hours our first time speaking to one another and even though he’s from India, a culture so completely different from mine, I felt like we could have grown up together because we were so similar. (Being a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ plays a huge part in that.) His grandfather is the founder of Hopegivers International, which is an organization that helps rescue orphans and at risk children from abuse, sex trafficking, and abandonment. They provide for all their needs, shower them in love, and introduce them to their heavenly Father. He owns some of the “Hope Homes” in his name and is truly one of the most caring and loving individuals I’ve ever met and I already told him that if it doesn’t work out with him romantically that I’m keeping him in my life forever and ever because he’s my beloved brother in Christ and I feel a deep spiritual connection to him.
I also met this sweet, adorable Asian guy who is incredibly easy to get along with and really fun to be around. I feel like we would have some amazing adventures together and I also feel like he would spoil me rotten if I ever became something more than a friend to him.
Okay so then the next guy I am meeting in less than an hour. I have seen him before a couple times at the gym I used to go to. He’s this super buff guy, 6’1″, green eyes… basically a head-turner. I never talked to him because A.) I just go to the gym to do my thang, I don’t really interact with people all that much and B.) I thought he was way out of my league. Plus C.) this was during the time I was still trying desperately to win my husband’s heart back. I know what you must be thinking, “WHY? He was so AWFUL to you, why would you want him back?” Well…
people always do crazy things when they’re in love.
The rest of the relationships I’m juggling are all long distance… there are no other ones in Tucson who have messaged me that I am interested in. I’m just keeping my options open at this point and keeping things really casual and nothing too serious unless the Lord whispers something to my heart.
WISH ME LUCK! *Gets purse*
I just got back from my date and let me tell you… it literally could not have gone any better. We seem to have all the same goals and priorities and we are attracted to one another. We have ridiculous amounts in common and whether or not this works out romantically I can definitely see him fitting into my friend group as he is someone I’d love to have as a friend for life.
He straight up told me I’m his dream woman and everything he wants. And he told me at the end of the date that he couldn’t wait to see me again. So this is either VERY GOOD if it’s God’s will to let him pursue me or VERY BAD because if it isn’t God’s will, He better tell me quick because I can see it headed in that direction unless God puts a road block in our path.
The number one thing I love about him is his genuineness. He’s extremely open and honest and puts everything out on the table. That is not only refreshing but also extremely attractive. He shared with me many of his flaws and strangely, I was not put off by them. I’m still going to keep my guard up and watch for red flags, but I’m already starting to trust him and feel very comfortable around him.
I’m relieved he didn’t try to kiss me at the end of the date. I was sort of worried he might but he probably did his homework by reading the questions in which I had answered that I didn’t like to kiss until we were in an established, exclusive relationship. Or maybe he’s a lot like me in that mentality. 🙂
Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you that if you are still single and really want to find the love of your life, this verse may be of some comfort to you:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” -1 Timothy 6:6
Contentment is peace and joy in your current circumstances. It is the freedom from worry, fear, anxiety, and greed. It is wholeness. It is accepting your situation and being satisfied with what God has given you. Maybe you desire more, but you’re truly happy with where you are in this time even if you don’t receive more.
As my sister told me before I started this online dating process: “Are you really trusting God to use the internet as a vehicle for bringing the one He has for you or are you trusting yourself for it to work out?
She reminded me that I have a tendency to be controlling because I like everything to go my way. I tend to plan things out and live in the future and get extremely disappointed when things don’t turn out as I had hoped. She told me to be extra careful because I wear my heart on my sleeve and get carried away by my emotions when I fall for someone.
Doubt and fear are a direct mistrust in God’s provision and goodness and faithfulness. There is no fear in love. If you’re worrying about being single and not finding the one you want to spend the rest of your life loving, then you are not trusting God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. If you’re looking online for handsome men you feel a connection with but you’re not bathing every second of your interactions with prayer, then you’re trying to “fix your singleness” yourself apart from God and without God, nothing can go right.
Oh, and the disappointment? Yeah. There is going to be a lot of that if you are anything like me and get rejected by someone you start having feelings for. I assure you, though, God knows best and if someone is not the BEST life teammate for you then God is going to withhold that from you because He has someone even better in mind for you than you could ever imagine for yourself.
The title of this blog entry was my facebook status update on May 14th. It received 56 likes (my new record I think).
I stepped into this new full-time role with only four days to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had no idea that I would have to make such important decisions so quickly like, “am I going to play ‘the tooth fairy’ tomorrow morning?” This is actually very important to me because I don’t want to deceive the children or confuse reality and fantasy, but I also don’t want to dash their hopes and spoil the magic that their parents wanted for them. Another small dilema is that my two girls asked if they could call me “Mom” today. I’ve only been their parent for four days and already they’ve wiggled deep into my heart. If you would have told me one week ago I’d be caring this much for four little munchkins, I might not have believed you. Who knew there was a Mama Bear inside me all these years just waiting to come out?
Being a parent is hard work and stressful at times but I feel blessed and honored to have this job. God placed me here for such a time as this. These kids needed a parent and I happened to be in a season of my life where I’m all alone and don’t really have much else going on… so why not? I felt led to ask for the opportunity and the Lord granted me my desire. Psalms 68:5-6 says, “Our God, from Your sacred home You take care of orphans and protect and defend widows. You find families for those who are lonely.” He truly uses broken people to serve other broken people This job was a match made in Heaven for me. I love serving these kids and they’ve touched me in ways I can’t describe and gave my life new purpose and meaning. To think that one year ago I was crying myself to sleep every night and thinking my life was pretty much over.
“They that sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. They that go forth weeping bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
I have to play the “bag guy” sometimes to get the children to bed on time and I have to be firm but I’m new at this and I’m so thankful for tons of co-workers who live near me with their own house of kids. The campus is like a big family who’s always there for you. I hope I may emulate those who seem to run their households so smoothly.
I have been graced with respectful, obedient children (most of the time) and they all have big, bright personalities. I wish I could post pictures but since they are wards of the state, I’m unable to but here’s a little bit about them:
My tweleve-year-old boy is full of laughter and is very helpful with the little ones. He is on task and listens well and has a smile that lights up the room.
My nine-year-old girl can be a little down on herself with low self-esteem but she’s fun-loving, energetic, patient, and just wants to be accepted for who she is. I tell her every night that God made her special and everything about her is exactly as He planned and that she is dearly loved by Him.
My eight-year-old girl is a ball of liveliness! Life is a musical in which she is the star who sings and dances through the day. I wish I could just remember everything she says and write it down in a book to make me laugh later because it’s just so funny. She’s also a bit of a flirt and I’ve got to keep eagle eyes on her when she’s around the boys. She keeps telling me she needs deodorant and a razer… she can’t wait to grow up.
My youngest is a six-year-old boy who has night terrors every night about an hour or two after he’s gone to sleep. He’s very sweet and good-natured and extremely helpful with chores. He always wants to pray at mealtime and is a joy to watch at play. Everything seems exciting to him, and he likes to jump up and down at even the simple little pleasures of life like getting to eat popcorn or going for a ride in the van to the store.
When my husband abandoned me, I was left shattered. However, what the enemy intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. I feel so much freedom- like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I think I finally know what God’s plan for my life is and I’m in just the right place now to take on this adventure.
Being abandoned broke me. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of day-to-day living. But I still knew God was good and worthy of praise. I praised Him as though the healing might never come. (But of course it did… it always does. God promises that in His Word: Psalm 147:3). I prayed and prayed for my husband to come home but the Lord chose not to answer my prayer. And you know what? His worthiness is not dependent upon the outcome of my prayer. He is good and His faithfulness stretches across the skies. If you’re going through a crisis like I have been, I promise you there is Hope after devastation. There is hope even when our prayers aren’t being answered. Maybe it’s because God has something even better for you in store than you could ever have imagined for yourself!
So let go of all your fears, insecurities, and self-doubt and place them into the capable, loving hands of the Heavenly Father. Worrying is just a big waste of time and keeps you busy doing nothing productive. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do and being who God called you to be. Every good and perfect gift is from above and God wants to give you good things! Keep asking Him to bless you and He will not only bless you but use you to bless those around you!