The human race has always had a problem with leaning in the wrong direction. It seems to be our natural bent, something inherent in us that leads us to trust our own evaluation of things. The problem with this is that we are not God, and thus we cannot see or know everything, which makes our perspective extremely limited, at best.
Ever since the first man and the first woman and the first garden and the first lie, we have continued to experience the same devastating results of our repeated choice to choose what appears right in our own sight. The inevitable consequence of this silly cycle is disappointment after disappointment, failed relationship after failed relationship, broken hope after broken hope.
Just yesterday I met a woman whose story sounded like this. In truth, I’ve met many women with such storylines. And as much as it pains me to say so, I can look back at the years of my own life and see the same plot playing out. It both frustrates and exasperates me to see the same look of defeat and disappointment on the faces of the women I see every day. I long for more, for all of us.
Have you ever wondered if things could be different? Or if maybe they were always meant to be different? Do you really believe we were destined to wander around in this repetitious void where we never find real fulfillment and life is always a struggle with no real and lasting reward? Have you accepted your experience as the limit on this life, or do you have the sense – even if you’ve shut it down a hundred times – that there must be more than this?
I believe there is more. In fact, I know there is. These questions have led me into a search for something other than what I’ve known, and what I’ve discovered in that search is that God has much more planned for us than we could ever hope for. And He has much more planned for us than we will ever be able to obtain by trusting in our own perception.
In the first garden, where everything was perfect and unbroken – including relationships between man, woman and God, between man and himself, and between man and woman, we made a grave mistake. We listened to someone who told us that what God had forbidden would add greatness to our lives, and so we should go ahead and see for ourselves. Rather than trust God and be content with the life He appointed for us, rather than trust His judgment, we wanted what looked like more in our own estimation.
Only it was the wrong kind of more. It was the kind of more that brought shame and separation and a knowledge of things we were never meant to experience: things full of evil and darkness and devastation.
But because we trusted in our own perception, and the more looked good and seemed promising, we gave up the perfection and abundance God promised in exchange for the one thing that He wanted to protect us from (the whole garden full of trees was lost for the taste of one forbidden tree). And forever following that decision, mankind was cursed with the now innate tendency to trust in his own understanding – even when it leads him right to death’s door.
No wonder the Bible tells us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 5:6). Our understanding is flawed, and easily led into believing lies. We have only to look back upon our lives to see that this is true. How many times we have been deceived! How many times we have met with disappointment at the way things turned out, when at first they seemed so promising.
What is the solution to this ongoing dilemma? It is simple, really. We must become like little children, trusting God in everything. Of course, simple isn’t the same as easy. For some of us, this will require a great deal of healing from the wounds of broken trust, where imperfect people have done great damage. For some, it will require a great deal of unlearning cultivated patterns of relying on ourselves and surrendering the facade of control over our own lives. But for all who are weary and longing for more, it is available. And while it may not be easy or comfortable, it must certainly be better than what we’ve known – even if we’ve grown used to it.
The reality is that, ever since the first man and the first woman and the first garden, before the first lie ever took its toll, God had more in store for you and I than we could even begin to imagine. And that more is still being held out to us. By the working of His Spirit within us, those of us who have given God our irrevocable yes will always be plagued by an inner discontent with what our own perceptions can provide. This is a gift, even when it feels like a curse, because it is God drawing us away from what can never truly satisfy and toward the only thing that will: relationship with Him in the path of life. Taking only what His hand provides and discovering that it is so rich, so full, so incredible that we can’t believe we traded it for so much less for all the years we lived before!
God is inviting you into the experience of life as He designed it. If you feel the stirring in your heart for more – even if it might be in the form of an exasperated and discontented heart – just say yes! He knows how to move you from where you are to where that life is flowing in its fullness. He promises that it will be well worth the journey, and I testify that it is true! Follow me as I follow Christ and together we will discover unimaginable things in the path of life!