Oct 25th 2016
I’ve always loved sports, especially when I was a kid. Sports were always available to me and it was easy for me to engage in them. Sports were my most loyal and consistent companion growing up … my best friend and main comforter. In fact, almost everything I did revolved around sports and they rarely let me down.
As a kid, when I wasn’t feeling connected, heard, or taken seriously, or if I needed to feel important, I would go up to my bedroom and re-create pro basketball games. It was one of my favorite activities. A rolled up pair of socks made a great ball. A hanging lamp played the basket. I was an awesome shot. And in my fantasy game, I always won. My fantasy helped soothe and distract my mind from the day’s hurt, allowing me to escape to a place where I was important and valued, and life was enjoyable. But most importantly, I was in control.
When we feel misunderstood, devalued, or simply overlooked, we turn to things that we believe will make us feel better, like exercise, gardening, knitting, cooking, a business deal, or work project. More harmful options include eating, gossiping, shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, TV, and pornography. The list is endless. If it is something we can think about, do, or feel, we can turn to it for soothing.
However, after a mild blip of satisfaction, created things never make us feel better in the long run. None of these idolatrous substitutes satisfies the thirst for what we truly desire: God’s compassionate, unfailing forgiveness, acceptance, and love. In fact, the substitutes actually take us farther away from what God has for us. Satan presents us with many empty substitutes, but only God offers real and lasting forgiveness, acceptance, and love. We fill our needs by pursuing the Creator, not the created.
You can change your patterns if you are being sucked into choosing Satan’s cheap imitations. But to do so you have to be strategic and intentional. You’ll never accomplish anything good without some strategy and intentionality. So don’t think you can randomly live life and expect progress to happen. Do you fall into that trap?
Today, identify where you turn for soothing and comfort. Recognize your pattern and strategy. Is it self-protective or self-destructive? When you are feeling misunderstood, overlooked, hungry and thirsty for satisfaction, remember this: God is the Lover of your soul. He understands you perfectly and loves you eternally. Reach out to Him in prayer and in His Word, and then listen. Cease striving and know that He is God! Take one promise of His and act as if you believe it. It will transform your life. Pursuing God or a cheap substitute, Whether you pursue God and put your life in the hands of the Creator or you pursue the created, a cheap substitute, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so thankful that it is my soul You love, and not my appearance or performance. I am often dissatisfied with both of these … especially when I make them my focus. There are so many empty substitutes in this world when I want to feel better about myself, or to provide a distraction so I don’t have to think about why I am hurting. Father, help me experience Your unconditional love more fully. Help me relax in Your loving presence and always turn my focus to You. I know that You created me to know You, love You, and make You the center of my life. I pray with hope in the name of my best friend, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted amongst the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
“Though the mountains may be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed” say the Lord who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10