Finding Delight (and Learning to Live From There)

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I spent this past weekend on the shores of the coast, where deep beauty and refreshment met my soul. The ocean is always a great reminder to me of the majesty of God, and I am always renewed by the time I spend there. Something about the waves crashing onto the shore, mighty but still contained by their God-appointed boundaries, brings a peace and rest to my spirit that nothing else can. I exhale stress and busyness and inhale trust. I remember again that He is control of everything I’ve surrendered to Him, and I find my way back to the place I was meant to live from: delight.

Delight, however, is a two way street, and I am used to exploring only one side of that path.

I delight in the presence of God. I delight in His creation (of course while being careful not to worship it…because that goes real bad real fast). I delight in sitting with Him, soaking up His love and being healed by His gentle touch. Time spent in a setting like I experienced this weekend, with God, truly delights my soul. I always walk away with a heart so full it seems near to bursting. I truly can’t imagine much in life being better than that.

But God, being Who He is, led me into even better. As I sat, delighting myself in Him, I began to feel a drawing into deeper waters…an invitation to taste yet more. It seemed impossible, of course, to do so.  But I got still enough to let my heart hear Him clearly, and when I did, He led me through a door and into a place I had forgotten I was meant to live in and from.

So often, I come to God because I am thirsty for more. Because I delight in the refreshment He brings. Because I need more of Who He is and what He holds. He has become the fountain of life for me. And when I enter into His presence, I always find what I came looking for. His love never fails to meet me and to fill me.

What I had forgotten, and had the pleasure of rediscovering this weekend, was that God feels the same way about me. He delights in me! He longs for my presence just as I long for His. I am more than just a daughter He has to take care of. I am a Bride He takes deep pleasure in. To Him, I am more than an orphan in need of…well, everything (this is how I often feel). His love and His covenant have made me a Queen with whom He delights to reign.

Like Esther of the Old Testament, I have captured the King’s heart. So when I draw near to His heart, it isn’t just a matter of presenting needs or petitions. It is a matter of living in the access He has granted me to His heart…the deep, deep place of oneness that His love and sacrifice have made home to me.

Now, I can theorize my way through this on any given day, because it’s a revelation I have received through much study and even encounter. But to live from there, from the place of His delight in me, is a different kind of story. Trying to walk worthy of the calling I have received, as a daughter and a Bride, are much different than wearing the robe and being captured by His gaze daily.

This might sound a little far out to some, I realize. Religion would categorize this as off-limits, for sure. I know because I used to be a captive in that prison cell. But crazy love that gives itself for the object of its adoration throws that door wide open and sets free the one whose heart is willing to receive it.

Not, of course, by my own ability, but by a force greater than everything contained in who I am, my heart has said “yes” to that love. And since that day, Jesus has pursued me down into the depths of my ravaged soul, time and time again. He has drawn me out of every lie, every fear, every hidden trap, and into not just life, but deep, deep love that is dependent on nothing but His very nature.

He loves me because He is love. And because He is love, He delights in me, the object of His love. I am far from perfect, believe me! But for all my imperfections, He provides adoration, not condemnation. He draws me out of hiding, out of shame, and out of insecurity, and into embracing the identity of one He loves.

And as I embrace the identity of being one He loves and desires, I am better able to forsake anything in life that would seek to lead me away from Him. I learn to cherish His adoration, and that makes me want to be everything He sees in me. It leads me to trust and surrender to the reality that His love, His delight, is the freest place I could ever dwell in, because not only do I find Him there, but I find myself – the me I was created to be there, as well.

This is what every human heart longs for, but rarely finds. Love that has no breaking point. Love that depends on nothing but the genuineness of the love that is given, because we can trust the One Who is giving it. We die searching for it, and giving ourselves for it. But we don’t always realize or remember that God has given Himself so that we can possess it. All we have to do is come to Him, and even that is a gift His Spirit provides (see John 6:44 and Ephesians 2:8). It’s not supposed to be as hard to find as we think it is.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, this kind of love changes everything. The direction of the flow of this love heals something in the human soul that would forever bind us to performance-based relationship. This is the beautiful place God, in Christ, has invited us to live in and from. And when we do, we are transformed into everything He said we would and could be.

I needed that reminder this weekend. Because life and the enemy of my soul have a way of reminding me that I need to do better and be more. But God…(this is becoming my favorite saying)…has a greater way of reminding me that all I need to do is come to Him. And His love changes everything. His delight restores my identity and invites me to rest in His love again. The fire of His gaze, His determined passion for my purity, for my wholeness, for my love toward Him, burns away everything that keeps me far from Him.

I could tell you stories of those who have lived from here. The Bible is full of them. Our modern world holds examples, too, if you look for them. The lives that have gone beyond their own desire for God, and their own quest for more of Him, and have entered into God’s delight for them and His determined pursuit of their hearts – they are the ones who’ve crossed the line. There’s no going back for them. Their worship has no boundaries. Their song knows no defeat. Their lives are on display for all the world to see that they are consumed by the God Whose love has taken them to a place they never want to come back from.

So how, then, did I forget? It’s a simple answer: I didn’t retreat. I got busy doing, and I let my times, my moments of devotion, become offerings instead of deep connections. It’s a human tendency we all have to fight, if we will enter into and live from the place of God’s delight in us. But it’s worth the fight, because He is also fighting for and with us. His love is jealous for us, for time alone with us, for connection with the heart He died to make His own. This became so clear to me this weekend as God, in His tender goodness and passionate pursuit of my heart, met me and carried me back into the chamber of His deep, deep love. This is where I want to – and am called to – live from. It’s where I want to serve from, too.

I love serving God, but dwelling in His love causes me to know that God is more interested in me than in anything I can do for Him. And when what I do for Him and how I live in Him is the fruit of His love for me, it is satisfying to both Him and me. And it is sweet to the watching world.

By contrast, when doing becomes my focus, and I live from servitude rather than intimacy with God, my love grows weary, and the fruit of that leaves a bitter taste in others’ mouths, and a deep sadness in God’s. He doesn’t want slaves. He wants sons and daughters who grow up into covenant partners and live in His delight.

Many people serve God because they love Him. I believe that brings honor to Him, but I also believe that is only the entry gate. To be motivated by His love – not just once upon a time because He saved us, but daily, hourly because we are in communion with Him – is another matter entirely. It is another kind of life, and ushers us into another dimension of knowing Him and partnering with Him.

May you find – no, may you make the time to get away with God very soon, and follow Him into the deep chambers of His heart so you can discover His delight in you. It doesn’t need to be a trip to the coast (although that is a recommended venture!). It can just be in a quiet corner, as long as you close yourself off to everything but Him. This is to be the way we live. All of “normal” life will resist this, but who wants a normal life when life lived in the delight of God is the alternative?

Just as my soul has been renewed in His love, I am convinced that God’s heart has been deeply blessed by the time I spent with Him, opening myself up to the fullness of His gaze and choosing to be satisfied by Him alone. This kind of relationship is what He said would show the world we belong to Him. Deep connection. Walking as His Beloveds. Giving ourselves fully to Him. His Spirit in us leads us to this place, and to this desire – desire that goes beyond being for God, and presses in to being desired by God, and there transformed by His perfect, relentless love.

Beloved, I, with the King of Kings, invite you into (or maybe back into) the Lord’s delight this day, and I encourage you to live there, with me. Then you will taste and see a goodness that cannot be found anywhere else in this life! And you will be fully filled and satisfied, just as the God Who takes pleasure in you will also be. It’s a win-win set-up!

“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” Psalm 149:4 

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 

 


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