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Joy of every longing heart

First: go listen to Meredith Andrews’ version of Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.

Done? Good. Now you have the end of the story.

Friday made two and a half years since I landed back in America. It feels like longer, in the best way possible.

The first year and a half was mostly made up of longing. Longing to feel like a normal person again, to not be single anymore, to have a job that meant something, to get out of debt, to be healthy again. All the longing. And even if I got just a hint of anything I wanted, things still wouldn’t get better; because of course, I didn’t know yet what I was actually longing for.

But 2017 has been nothing but seeing how God has filled all of it. The first big one was in March, but I already wrote about that. The other one has been taking shape over the past month, like putting together a puzzle without the picture on the box. God handed me the last piece today.

A week ago I started feeling off, after being okay for weeks, and this morning I really wanted a peppermint mocha frappuccino from Starbucks(because IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME), forgetting that caffeine does bad things to my brain(it makes me anxious and drowsy at the same time, so I’m wildly panicking but also too tired to use any of my coping skills or even remember that they exist). Thankfully I have incredibly patient friends who didn’t mind that I was half a wreck for a little while.

We were singing, and I had leveled out enough to laugh at myself a bit, and I thought about Christmas and my brain and how weird and beautiful life is, and then we sang,

Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Did you hear it too? Read that line again.
Said like Lucy does in A Charlie Brown Christmas: THAT’S IT!!!
Jesus=joy.

Other good things=bonuses that point back to Jesus.

We’re all longing. And we all have a list of things that we’re convinced will make the longing stop.

(the sermon went on to flesh this idea out a little more. You should listen to it here; I feel like it was planned.)

So many times over the past two and a half years, my prayer has been, “God, my brain is broken. Please fix it.” And that’s fine to ask; you can and should ask God to heal you, because he totally can and maybe it’s his will, and asking for it shows that you trust him.

BUT. It’s easy, while I’m longing for healing, to forget that it’s not the ultimate answer. What I’m really longing for…what literally everyone is longing for…I already have. And you can have it too.

Because the only way I can find real peace is to rest in this: my life was broken and God already sent Jesus to fix it. I have eternal, abundant life because of Jesus. Even if he never fixes anything else for me, that alone is enough.

At the start of this year, rest and joy seemed like far off things beyond an invisible finish line. Something I’ll only find either a)when God finally does fix my broken brain or b)when I get to heaven.
I don’t believe that anymore. Now I believe I already have them. I believe I’m fully satisfied in Jesus and he has a better story for me than I can write for myself. God will only fix me if it makes me better able to serve him, and for now, what I see as a roadblock, God sees as an asset. Anxiety or depression can’t stop him, and my theory for the near future is that he’ll let them hang around as long as it takes for me to believe that.

So yes. I still want a brain with all the right chemicals in it, and a job that makes me as happy as the World Race did, and a dog…and I’ll keep believing that God can give me those gifts and will give them to me if they’re the best thing he can give me. I’ll keep asking him for them now and then. But I’ll spend much more time thanking him for what he’s already done and living in a way that shows off that hope.

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