Enjoying God

How does it all get this way?

I’m tired.  I have zero energy to deal with anything beyond getting up and going to work, and many days, I don’t even feel like doing that.  I feel like a failure because I graduated almost eleven months ago and I still don’t have a job that pays my bills, even though I apply like crazy.  I was a part of an incredible community in college, and let me just tell you dear friends who are still in college, the post-grad road is pretty lonely.  And honestly, I’m slightly angry, because my life is so not going the way I planned. 

I know what you’re going to say (trust me, I’ve heard it before … a bajillion times). I shouldn’t be tired (Gal. 6:9). The joy of the Lord should be my strength (Neh. 8:10). I’m never really alone (Heb. 13:5). And God doesn’t promise me that life is going to go according to my plan (Is. 55:8). Yep, I know.

I think somewhere in the midst of the hustle and bustle of post-grad life, I’ve stopped enjoying.  I’ve stopped enjoying art – if I’m going to see or hear a piece of art, I’m always thinking in terms of FortyOne20 Ministries. I’ve stopped enjoying relationships – it’s hard for me to make time in my schedule for people, and then I feel guilty (and I think reasonably so) because it’s all about the people.  And, *collective gasp* I’ve really stopped enjoying my time with God. (I imagine you’re thinking that’s exactly where I went wrong. I’m not disagreeing).

It’s not just the whole thing where life isn’t going according to my plan, it’s that being obedient to God is (at least in my experience) hard and costly.  There is a song on the radio and part of it goes, “You and I embrace surrender,” and I seriously switch stations every time that comes up because who in the world embraces surrender? (Maybe you do. Good for you).

It happens this way because somewhere along the way I shifted my focus off of Jesus and onto what I want (but don’t have) or don’t want (but do have). The last time this happened to me, I was trying to hold on to what I was afraid to lose, and ended up losing it anyway. For me, the root of depression is either connected to covetousness (that focus on what I don’t have) or fear (a fixation on what I don’t want to lose).

I’ve heard a lot of “spiritual solutions” for depression. I’ve been told my whole life to just get over it, or to just be joyful, or to have a blessings journal (which is great to have regardless, but in this case, it has never really worked for me). BUT the only thing that has ever worked for me is enjoying God. Seriously.

Getting to that point where it’s just me and Him. Where I am dwelling on Him. And that’s the point of the FortyOne20 Ministries Devotions. Once a week I want to take from the overflow of what I’m learning about God and share it with you. It doesn’t specifically pertain to art necessarily, but I just want to be dwelling on God in the midst of article-writing or art-reviewing.

For this week I want to dwell on Jehovah Rapha – which means the Lord who heals, restores, and makes healthful.

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”  Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threwit into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.  He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keepall his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseasesI brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who healsyou.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

~Exodus 15:22-27

Our God is the One who turns bitter waters sweet, and brings us from desert to oasis.

A prayer for this week: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).

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