One year ago today, I started this blog.
My heart was dry and depression hovered over me, but there was one word, one thing that was keeping hope alive…
Psalm 37:4 was taped up on the lavender wall in my room. Delighting His gifts, His Word, started to wake up and nourish those languishing places in my soul. In the process, He gave me the desires of my heart–the real, true, deep desires, not the petty, unimportant ones.
To celebrate this theme of delight–the vision behind Delighting in Him–I decided to host a blog series called, ABIDING DELIGHT.
Enjoy this compelling, honestly beautiful first post by Isabelle Ingalls.
Valentine’s Day used to really hurt.
Not because I have anything traumatic that ever happened around it, nor because anyone was ever unkind to me, and not even because I hate chocolate or red and pink wrappers. (As if such a thing could be.)
No, Valentine’s hurt, because it was a reminder. Because all around me people were getting flowers and buying cards and posting photos of them and their significant other. And there’s nothing wrong with them doing that. But to me it was a reminder. A reminder that there are the Have’s and the Have-not’s of relationships, and I was well and firmly in the latter.
Valentine’s hurt because it was a question. Why wasn’t I like everyone else? Yes, I made the choice to not become involved in relationships while I was too young to even consider marriage, but — I wasn’t too young any more. Why hadn’t Mr. Right come along? Or, what’s worse, what if he already had passed by? What if he had walked by and decided that I wasn’t worth his time? What if I was broken beyond fixing?
Valentine’s Day used to hurt. And maybe it hurts for you today, as a dull ache in your stomach that you could blame on the chocolate but you know is something deeper inside. But it doesn’t have to.
No, I don’t have a magic pill. No, I didn’t just muster up enough strength to get over my hurt. And no, I am not in a relationship of any sort (unless you count with tacos).
Valentine’s Day doesn’t hurt anymore, because I changed my focus.
Those years, I was so desperate, so longing after someone to delight in me; for someone for me to delight in. Many theologians have argued over what “her desire shall be to her husband” in Genesis 3 means, but at the least we can all agree that us daughters of Eve desire a husband. We crave for someone. A man who will care for us, protecting us in his strong arms. A man we can laugh and rejoice in. A man who cherishes and delights solely in us, and one we can do the same too.
But I realized that my desires were all wrong. Because I wanted a perfect Prince Charming. And he doesn’t truly exist, or if he does, he’s very bland and one-dimensional. My knight in shining armor won’t really save me. My Tall, Dark, and Handsome (actually, mine is Tall, Red-Headed, and Handsome) won’t be my complete delight. Because he’s human. He’ll snap in anger. He’ll forget important days. He’ll get tired and lazy and annoyed and frustrated and annoying and selfish — because I do the exact same thing. I wanted a man who would always love me, lead me, and protect me perfectly — but no man could.
Only the God-Man can.
My desire to be loved despite all my flaws? Only Jesus can fully fill that. My desire to have someone who stands up for me against the evil of this world? Only Jesus can fully fill that. My desire to have someone who delights completely in me and I in them? Only Jesus can fully fill that.
Valentine’s day regained its joy when I remembered what my desires were truly for.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t hurt, because now it’s a reminder. A reminder that the Lamb of God came and sacrificed Himself for me. A reminder that the Prince sought my redemption throughout all of history. A reminder the He calls me Beloved, Holy, Unblameable and Unreproveable in His sight. He’s clothed me with white linen, He’s made me new; He rejoices over me with singing. A reminder that He came down to make the Have-not’s into Have’s. A reminder of His love.
Valentine’s doesn’t hurt, because now it’s a question. If He’s done all this for me, how much must He loves me? If He’s given His life for me, what can I now give Him? What other response can I have than to shine His love to others? The dirty, the hurting, the hard — those whom others just pass by, those whom others think aren’t worth their time — those are the ones whom we love. Because we know that there is no one so broken beyond His fixing. How can I love them?
I wanted to delight in a man. But fullness of delight is found only in God. I desired purpose and love from a human. But He has created us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. It’s only when I direct my attention where it truly belongs that I can find peace.
Am I perfect at this? Certainly not. Do I never struggle with this anymore? Let’s just say I might have rationalized eating far too much chocolate the other day because of my emotional state. But my humanness doesn’t make truth any less true.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Give Him your longings. Give Him your fears. Give Him your hurts. He can handle them all, promise. Pour it all out to Him, however raw it may be, begging Him to give you His wisdom, His comfort, His presence. He’s already given Himself for you. He’s promised He’ll give Himself to you again.
And if that’s not a good enough reason to eat some chocolate, I don’t know what is.
Isabelle Ingalls is a 20-year old writer seeking to see the reminder and reflection of Christ’s glorious Gospel in all of life. When not writing, you can find her working with children, singing and dancing around the house, and discussing theology with friends over hot chocolate. You can find more of her writing on singleness, adoption, Narnia, thunderstorms, stories, and Christian living at Seeing Everything Else and on Facebook.