It is really easy to look to something, almost anything, other than God to satisfy and fulfill us, isn’t it? The Holy Spirit has recently convicted me (and by recently, I mean through the last several months) about my tendency to complain and whine. My husband mentioned (in a loving and joking way of course) I needed to stop whining so much. A few weeks ago at church, we read the verses from Philippians 2 that tell us to do “everything without complaining or grumbling.” So it seemed the Lord was definitely trying to get my attention.
When I read those verses in Philippians 2 and think about them in comparison to how stinky my attitude can be about things that have no eternal significance, it is as though the dagger of the Word so clearly pierces my heart, and I cannot deny His ways in my life. Ann Voskamp says in One Thousand Gifts, “Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.” How often are we caught complaining about the very things our God has orchestrated for our lives? So often, we truly believe our script for our lives is better than the grand tapestry He is weaving together for His glory and our good. I know I’m guilty of doing this more often than I would like to admit.
Isaiah 55:6-9 says,
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord,
that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God sees more than I see, because He is omniscient. He knows what I do not know, and because He has the whole picture in mind, He makes decisions that will bring peace where I would likely bring chaos.
The other day, I was driving back to work after running an errand, and something was really bothering me. I thought about how my husband challenged me to stop complaining and how I needed to see with God’s eyes instead of constantly looking at things with a scarcity mentality. In this moment, I was extremely tempted to text my best friend and vent to her. But I remembered my husband’s wise admonition, and instead took the long way back to work and just asked God to meet me. I told Him how I was feeling and why I was frustrated, and I turned on a praise song and started singing to Him. And you know what? He met me there. He didn’t turn me away in disgust or berate me for being annoyed or upset. When I fixed my eyes on Him, He helped me by giving me a new perspective. All of a sudden, what I was so upset by just didn’t feel like a big deal anymore. And to be honest, now I can’t even remember what it was!
After deciding to turn to Jesus instead of turning to my friend, I felt so much joy! It was incredible to know that I was on the other side of temptation. But what’s also amazing is in that moment, I knew God loved me. The Christian life is full of paradoxes. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says in order to find our life, we have to lose it. When we surrender to His ways and thank Him in all things, we find that He is good. Resting in His goodness allows Him to love us. And friends, there is nothing like knowing that your God, the Creator of the universe, loves you. This love sets us free, changes our hearts, and welcomes us into His arms no matter where we have been or what we have done. Let’s allow Him to love us by running into those open arms.
Jessica Mathisen lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband Rory and their sweet dog, Bailey. She is an administrative assistant at Watkinsville First Baptist Church and the author of Proverbs 31: A Life of Truth and Grace and Already Chosen: Loving Your Life in the Midst of Longing. You can find her on Instagram at @jessicanmathisen and on her blog at jessicanmathisen.com.