29 May Are You Seeking the Healer or the Healing?
Isn’t it amazing how you can be walking with the Lord for a long time…you can be saved and be a Christian for a long time, or even a short time. But when you make the conscious decision to let Him dig a little deeper in your life, you realize that He’s ready to do something beyond what you’ve been settling for. That’s definitely where I’ve been the past few months.
Listen to this post instead of read it!
Praying for Healing
I’m part of a leadership team that ministers to women in Colorado and Utah. As a team, we did a 40 day prayer challenge at the beginning of this year.
During our time focusing on prayer for those months, we were challenged to focus on something to pray for specifically. If you’ve been reading the blog for a little while, you know that I’ve struggled with some autoimmune issues, and I’ve been working to solve them.
During that time, I was praying for complete healing. I didn’t just want to be figuring out how to deal with my health, I wanted complete healing. That’s what I was praying for.
And even though those issues haven’t been completely resolved in my life, and I’m not completely healed, my heart definitely has been given peace in that. And that’s worth so much more.
Near the end of this prayer time, and this season of really focusing on prayer, I heard a song called, “More Than Anything”, by Natalie Grant.
The first line of the chorus, actually the entire chorus, really stuck out to me.
It said, “Help me want the Healer more than the healing. Help me want the Savior more than the saving. Help me want the Giver more than the giving. Help me want You Jesus, more than anything.”
Even just writing those words again gives me goosebumps because that is a place where we can sometimes be.
I had unintentionally been seeking God’s healing more than I was seeking Him.
Now don’t get me wrong. God wants us to go to Him and ask for things like healing. But my heart was definitely getting bitter instead of soft during this time of prayer.
And I’m embarrassed to say that, but this blog isn’t about me wanting to seem so great, or me having everything figured out. What this is, is us growing together to build this life that’s full of grace. And it really got me thinking about how the gifts that we ask God for can easily turn into idols if we’re not careful.
A Lesson from Abraham and Sarah
And it reminded me of the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis.
God promised Abraham that he would have a family. And God even went so far as to say, “Your descendants will outnumber the stars.” But, the years went by.
I can imagine Abraham looking at those stars every night. He’s remembering the promise God had given. And years went by. Decades went by.
They had been praying for a baby, and now Abraham and Sarah were old and they didn’t have a child. The Bible says they were beyond child bearing years.
They got impatient. And you might know the story, but they took a shortcut to try and make God’s promise happen for them. They tried to make it happen with Sarah’s servant girl having a baby in lieu of Sarah.
Of course, like any time we try to make things happen our own way, it ended up causing tons of problems. Because later God gave them the gift of Isaac, their son.
We can look at this story, and look down on them for trying to take matters into their own hands, and for trying to do things their own way, and for not being patient.
But more often than not, we make the same heart mistake that they did.
Abraham and Sarah wanted the gift of a son more than they wanted the Giver. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been there before. I wanted the healing more than I wanted the Healer.
Struggling with Idols of the Heart
Sometimes the biggest idols that you’ll struggle with are the ones that you’re blind to. And many times, you’re blind to them because these idols come out of the gifts of God.
They come as a gift of God, and then we begin to idolize them. So how to we discover these idols in our lives and how can we overcome them?
Figure out what you love more than the Lord.
So first off, you have to figure out what you love more than God. I hate to say it that way, and that might seem super harsh.
But I need to be honest.
It’s not that you think that you love those things more than God, but your actions show it. So you need to ask yourself, “When I’m upset, where do I run?”
“What thing in my life, if God took it away, would it feel like my life was completely ruined almost to the point where I could not reconcile with God? Like I would be so angry with Him because He took this away.”
If nothing comes to your mind, then you’re not off the hook. I want you to ask God to help you see what things have become too important to you.
For me, the last few months it was my health. A few years back, I would definitely say that food was an idol for me. Whenever I was upset, I went to food for comfort. When I was bored, that’s where I went. If I was feeling inadequate or frustrated or rejected, I went to food.
And for a while, even my children were an idol for me. Hang with me: I know this is going to be kind of a sensitive topic.
I remember being so scared of losing my children, that I didn’t trust that God would take care of them.
I had put them on a pedestal because I loved them so much. That was perfect example of this because they were a gift from God to me, and I had kind of wrapped them up in this picture thinking, “I’m just taking care of what God has given me.”
But really, in my heart, they had become an idol for me. I remember listening to a Beth Moore study. And she had shared about a fear that she would lose her husband. She would tell God, “God, what if he leaves me?”
And God said, “Okay, then what?”
And then, they went through this conversation where God said, “Okay, then what?” And she said, “Well, I would be by myself.” And then God said, “Then what? Then what?” And so, He walked her through this process of how He would always be there for her, even if what she feared happened.
But see, I love my kids so much, but if I love them more than I love God, I’m loving the gift and not the Giver.
The items that become idols that aren’t necessarily bad things, in fact it’s the good things that become the easiest idols to justify. Those are the easiest idols to overlook.
Once you discover what those idols are, then the first thing that you need to do is to repent. And you need to confess that those things or those people have become an idol in your life.
You have to acknowledge that it’s a sin. Anything that we prioritize above God in our lives is a sin. And you need to let God know that you really want to change that.
Just because I took my children and food and my health off of their pedestals of being idols in my life, doesn’t mean that I forsake them. It doesn’t mean I forget about my kids or quit caring about them.
It just means that they’re in a proper place in my life.
Of course, my children are still hugely important to me. I still eat food. I still care about my health.
The difference is just that I don’t let those things come between me and my relationship with the Lord. We don’t need to minimize or give away the gifts that God gives us.
Increase Your Love for the Giver
God is an extremely good God. And He wants to give us good gifts. There’s a verse that talks about how, if you are evil (because that’s what we are). In our flesh, we’re not like God. We are not perfect like Him. And it says, you who are evil, even you want to do good things for your kids. So how much more does God want to give His children good gifts? So we don’t need to villainize what God has given us. We don’t need to see every gift as a problem.
But what we need to do instead is increase our love for the Giver.
Whenever I started loving on God as my Healer, I started loving Him for who He was.
I started to love Him whether or not He chose to heal me.
Instead of going to Him saying, “God, I really want to be healed. Why haven’t you healed me yet?” I would say, “Lord. I trust you. I trust that You will heal me when the time is right. And if that means I’m healed when I enter into Heaven, then I trust You in that.”
I kept asking for healing. I still kept praying for that, but it was no longer an idol in my life. My heart started to get softer. When we start seeking God more than we seek His gifts, that’s when our hearts become soft. And whenever our hearts are soft, then they can be molded into what God wants.
He’s the Potter, We’re the Clay
When I was younger, my family went to visit this play. There was a man dressed as Jesus and he was at a potter’s wheel. He began preaching about how God molds our lives into something. And the entire time, he was creating a piece of pottery.
He’s pushing this wheel, and spinning, and he’s preaching and he’s sharing.
God is wanting to mold you and if you let yourself be softened, if you let your heart be soft, then He molds you into something beautiful, something that He can use.
My favorite part of this chorus is the last line, and it says, “Help me want You Jesus more than anything.” Because one of God’s gifts is the fact that He is always with us.
If it feels way too hard to let go of idols in your life, and you think, “I love my children so much, and I realize that they’re kind of at a place higher than the Lord is in my life right now, but I don’t know how to take them off of that pedestal in a way that’s still healthy. I don’t know what to do.”
Well, you don’t have to do this alone. And I’m not even talking about me being here for you. I’m talking about the Lord being here for you because you can ask for His help.
He’s always with you.
And if it feels way to hard to let go of those idols in your life, then all you have to do is ask for His help. I don’t know how people go through life without the help of the Lord, not knowing the Lord, because I don’t know where I would be without Him.
I don’t know how I would handle any of the problems I’ve had in my life or any of the struggles I’ve had in my life if I didn’t have Him to lean on.
Learning to Be Dependent
We want have independence and we aspire to that. But we forget that dependence on the Lord is an important quality that we need to have in our lives.
We have to want to seek Him. We have to want to depend on Him. And He wants that for us. He wants us to lean on Him so that He can help us. He doesn’t expect us to do this in our own strength. And He wants us to go to Him for this.
If you are struggling with some idols in your life, sometimes they can be things that seem good, things like your children or food or any of those different things, money and success. Maybe you have a lot of success, and you know that God gave it to you, but it’s become more important to you than the Lord has.
If that’s you, I’m going to be praying for you because I know how you feel. And I want you to come to the place where you can confidently say “Lord, ______ is a gift from You. But before I seek Your gift, I want to seek Your face. I want to seek the Giver first.” And I know He’ll be faithful to help you overcome.
I hope this post challenged you a little bit. And if you have questions, feel free to ask them in the Girl of Grace Facebook group. I hope that I will see you there. And I would love to hear more about the things that you struggle with and how the Lord has helped you to overcome that.