Where We Have Gone Sideways

Once upon a time a perfect woman had everything every hungry heart strives to pull from this Pintrest laden landscape of unmet expectations and Facebook-impossible standards. She was in a perfect place, in a perfect relationship, in a perfect body.

Everything was just as it should have been.

A perfect woman.

And yet perfection did not satisfy. What haunts us in the wanting isn’t what we lack. She lacked nothing. It is the unquenchable feeling that there is More.

And there is More. We are made to feel the lack in abundance, to be planted in a paradise of endless trees and beauty and remain dissatisfied till we seek Him out to walk in the cool of that shade. But she didn’t say “a tree is missing from the multitude” instead she wondered “what if there is wisdom in my next bite?” If God had been as generous as he should have been, there would be one more gift. He forgot. He left the best out.

Our preoccupation with wanting More is our capacity for relationship with an infinite God gone sideways. Of course we are wired to want More, know More, see More – because we are wired to know and love One who always is More. He is the divine More. The inexhaustible deeper and deeper still.

Her heart was made to want More.

But her head said “he won’t give it.” and “I’ve got to find it.”

More than the desire to be wise or to taste a fruit that looked delicious, there was in Eve’s inner groaning a desire to ascend the heights and plumb the depths. The very thing that made her an image bearer of God, uniquely capable of loving an infinite More.

It was simply turned sideways by a serpent and emboldened by a cold hearted misjudgement of her perfect More.

She accuses Him, in the midst of perfection, of holding out on her. Instead of plunging her desire for more into the inexhaustible and infinite, she takes an apple into her own hands and tries to exact her needs from a lifeless want.

Me too.

Surrounded by the warmth of a wholehearted and generous God, I quickly wonder “what if…” What if all these groanings inside me are the way out. I’ve come to see the garden as a gated place instead of protected paradise. What if my chafing is compelling me out of here and into that forgotten greater – the thing God should have given me.

What if, despite the miraculous provision of the life around me – the every good and perfect gift that Father has lavished upon me – there is still something I kinda have to do myself. Something I need to run after, hard after. What if I have to go out and get at least some of the More myself.

This is where discontentment becomes a merciful wake up call, not a camp of shame. When I wake up running, I already know I need Him. When I get that shortness of breath that comes from striving and chasing and trying so hard, I remember – “oh right. I was made to run”, but not like this. I’m tired because I’m running after something instead of running into someone. I’m chasing my More and I’ll never catch up to it.

That’s when I stop.

In the pause, I feel infinite God arms shrink down from cosmos-holding to heart cradling. He wraps giant majesty around me like a sweater that reminds me of love-is-enough.

He is my More. And he has made my heart to hunger for Him in a way that will intrigue me for eternity (I’ll never be bored) yet content right now (he is enough). He is both/and God of infinite More and present perfect contentment.

I live in Eden of loving provision, of More. But despite its many perfections, despite having the More, my heart tempts to chase what is outside the bounds. Knowing this, I let that nagging become my reminder to live loved, to remember and to believe that his love isn’t withholding anything. My hunger is a gift that I can enjoy his More tomorrow as I did today.

My resolution for this new, fresh year? Not to chase a goal until I’m weary but to live loved believing that the More I want is in the every-ascending heights of his heart. Will I be

skinny/wise/organized/cheerful/perfect

in the new year? I do not know. I will be loved, and I will have More. When my heart cries out for More I will seek the tree missing from the multitude because He wants to be sought and found.

Where do you see your longings “gone sideways?”

14 Comments

  1. Elizabeth January 5, 2016

    I love this! The More. Have not pondered it in this way before. Will have to keep thinking on this and come back to it later. (After I cross an ocean.)

    “Kristin wishes English had as many words for tears as Inuits have for snow.” Love that! Have you seen the photos Kay Bruner (author of “As Soon as I Fell”) has shared that show the different chemical make-ups of different kinds of tears? We may not have enough words for them in English, but chemistry knows there are different kinds 🙂

    I hope to see you back at VA some time 🙂

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Oh I can’t wait to look that up Elizabeth!  Once again science confirms what our hearts already know!

  2. Vivian January 6, 2016

    Wow…you really poetically expressed the struggle that we all have.  You are right.  Eve had everything and yet she desired More or thought that there was more that God didn’t give her.  She took control.  How convicting that was to read…that’s what I struggle with unconsciously.  Thinking that God didn’t give me something and not trusting He will provide.  Not being satisfied with Him alone and trying to look for satisfaction in other things.  God help us to remember we can only be satisfied in Him.

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Thank you Vivian!  It is my constant struggle but God has been so gracious to turn that struggle on its side and show me its hidden strength.  My hunger for more keeps me tethered to his infinite heart!  Blessings on you!

  3. Patty Stallings January 6, 2016

    He is both/and God of infiniteMore and present perfect contentment.  

    YES!  Kirstin, you never cease to inspire me to wholehearted pursue Him.  I love the beauty of your words, your thinking, and your heart!  Thank you for sharing them all with us here!

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Thank you Patty for your constant stream of life-giving encouragement – any place you are is a place of refreshing for weary hearts!

  4. pattisj January 6, 2016

    So true! Love the bio, Kirstin. 🙂

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Thank you Patti!  You are a treasure! I’m so glad our paths crossed this Summer.

  5. Michele Womble January 6, 2016

    “she takes an apple into her own hands and tries to exact her needs from a lifeless want.”  So how often am I guilty of this – this trying to exact my need from a lifeless want.  Very well put.

    “he has made my heart to hunger for Him in a way that will intrigue me for eternity”...also well put, and it’s so EXCITING and then here I am again “trying to exact my need from a lifeless want…”  … and it so doesn’t make sense –

     

    I love how you ended:

    “Will I be

    skinny/wise/organized/cheerful/perfect

    in the new year? I do not know. I will be loved, and I will have More.”

    Beautiful.  Thank you Kirsten!  May we all have More in the new year and know ever more deeply that we are loved.

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Thank YOU Michele!  So rarely is a comment section on the internet a place to find abundant life or encouragement but finding Velvet Ashes has been the most pleasant surprise!  Blessings on your hunger for More…may it continue to grow deep and reach high.  This new year is going to be one of such beloved-ness isn’t it? 🙂

  6. Gregory Cote January 25, 2016

    Wow!…Intriguing and poetic take on our humble humanity and God’s ever presence in our lives. I’m glad I had the blessing to have read this. Thank you for sharing. We need More of this!

    1. Kirstin McGrath February 2, 2016

      Thank you Gregory!  You encouraged me today! 🙂

      1. Gregory Cote February 2, 2016

        Honestly you’ve encouraged me to get back to writing. I had a sister named Kristin who passed away and I believe she connected me to your words for encouragement. God truly works in mysterious ways. Bless you and please continue writing. Thank you.

         

         

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