“My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2
I’ve been reading a book by Shelia Walsh called The Longing in Me. I began to read this book after I heard a few reminders on our identity in Christ and the labels that are given to us. Labels we can carry with us through many years of our lives. Shelia uses many labels to contrast the possible longings they represent. I’ll share just two. Someone who is labeled as an overachiever may long for significance and one who is labeled skinny or overweight longs to be noticed for more than just their weight.
In my growing up years the labels I carried and the longings in my heart led me to make poor decisions and face the consequences of those decisions. Shelia talks about how our longings can lead us to very dark places. As I began my relationship with Christ I found a new identity. In my husband’s family I also found the acceptance and love that I had longed for. One by one, many who fulfilled the longings of my heart went home to be with Jesus. Over the last few years I have longed after the way things used to be. I have longed for the ones who are not here anymore. Last year I was told “You don’t want to carry death around with you; you want to carry the good memories and the good reminders of those you lost.” I want to throw off the labels of “grieving, depressed, lost, and hopeless”. Some days I do better than others. The good days are when I purpose to have my longings fulfilled in Christ. When I focus my heart towards Him the labels fall away. When I focus on myself and my losses, then the labels stick on again. I am learning that my longings need direction until they are found in Christ alone. We know this, don’t we? How easy it is to think, “Jesus is all I need” until you realize you are longing for other people and other things. Our hearts wander; oh I feel it, as the hymn goes, and so we must lead it back to where it longs to be.
Today I know your heart is longing for something. A careful examination of your heart may reveal that you’ve been mislabeled. Maybe you never realized your label has so much influence on your longings.
Maybe your longings need to be redirected.
I pray today will be a day that you will focus your longings on the One who is longing for you. May you and I find that He is more than enough and more than able to meet our longing hearts.
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local church and teaches a Bible study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.