February 5, 2014
The Things We Do For Love
"What a person desires is unfailing love ..." Proverbs 19:22a (NIV)
I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused.
My life was full of relationships and accomplishments I'd worked hard to gain, but none could fill or fulfill me.
Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.
I'll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.
We both "happened" to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he'd see me, realize he couldn't live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.
Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.
A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.
Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn't help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?
A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other. I sensed God answering me.
Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.
Unconditional love? I didn't know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You'll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you're looking for.
The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I'd been looking for love that didn't have to be earned. Love I didn't have to fear losing.
Honestly, it was hard to see how God's love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with that need for fulfillment so He could meet it.
Our key verse, Proverbs 19:22a, says, "What a person desires is unfailing love."
The word "desire" comes from the Hebrew word ta'avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it attributed to a person. It is only attributed to God.
God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.
His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.
Will you invite Jesus to look into your heart today so He can show you what, who and where you might be looking to be filled and fulfilled? Then ask Him to fill and fulfill you with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.
Jesus, help me stop searching for fulfillment in anything or anyone but You. Will You satisfy me with Your unfailing love and help me depend on You to meet my deepest desires and needs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If this devotion touched your heart, check out Renee Swope's new A Confident Heart Devotional. Expanding on her "When I say ... God says ..." statements, Renee gives us a new 60-day thought map that will show us how to let God fill and fulfill the longings of our heart.
Valentine's Day can be difficult for singles. The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition by Gary Chapman is a great resource to help you show love to those singles who might need to know you care.
Reflect and Respond:
What or whom do you look to, to fill and fulfill you?
Write down steps you can take to transfer your hope from other things and people to God to satisfying your longings. Start by talking to God and processing this struggle with Him.
Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (NIV)
© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.