Saturday, May 10, 2014

on wanting: holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. - Psalm 23:1

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I am full of wants. I am a child with a never-ending list for Santa. I have a belly that has never known fullness. I am at a restaurant but wanting a buffet, one of everything, please. I want a house, a husband, a child, a new phone, shoes and bags and a car and friends that will always love me and a bedroom makeover and a body makeover and a whole life makeover, while I'm at it. My shelves are never full enough, my cabinets can always hold more. I want bags full of nice things and packages waiting for me at my door every day. I want to discover things I forgot I had and receive gifts I never knew I wanted. I want to feel full and high and happy and pleased. Yes, please.

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I have a friend who has been learning lately that the Lord is her portion. When she says this, I nod and smile and think how glad I am for her, after all she's been through. And then I think of the things I have been asking God for in prayer, and He asks the question of me, "Can I be your portion, too?" This question makes me nervous and sad because I assume that means my list is null. If I agree that God is enough for me - and when I say God, I think I mean His love, which sometimes I don't even recognize, I don't even know if I've every truly recognized - if I agree to this, then does that mean I won't get those things? If God is my shepherd, I shall not want, but is that a description or a command? Mostly I have been treating it as the latter.

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I have been wondering if all of this wanting, if all of this list-making, finds it's origins not in an empty stomach but in a lonely, fearful soul. It is when I feel truly alone, or when I am fighting my fear of being alone, that I find myself wanting most. It is then that I go shopping online, or stop for coffee and a cookie, or rent a movie or frantically call or text friends who will spend time with me or give me words that can soothe me.

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Jesus said [to the man who had many things], “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.” The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.  -Mark 10

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