I’ve been in a rush since before I was born. Seriously. I was born three weeks before my due date, and my mom’s water broke on the way to the hospital. I even attended my own baby shower because my family didn’t think I was coming just yet. When I was in middle school, I couldn’t wait to go to high school to live out my High School Musical dreams. When I was a senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to go to college to finally get out of my hometown. When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to get married. When my plans to be married fell through at 25, I wondered, “When is it going to be my turn?” It’s easy in our instant gratification and highlight reel culture to look around and think that any season is better than the one we’re in right now.
The first PG-13 movie I ever saw was 13 going on 30, which many of you may be familiar with. If not, the premise of the movie is this: 13 year old Jenna Rink is having a hard time in middle school and all she wants for her 13th birthday is to be “thirty, flirty, and thriving” like she has seen all the women in her magazines be. After she makes her wish, she becomes 30 and gets a glimpse of what her life would look like if she got everything she wanted in middle school. It all seems super glamorous, until she finds out what a horrible person she has become. She rejected her best friend from middle school, is cheating on her current boyfriend with a married man, and being deceitful at work. Obviously, this is a romantic comedy, so she changes her ways and makes things right, but I think there are two lessons for us to learn here: be careful what you wish for and trust the process.
Imagine for a second you were Jenna Rink. What if you got everything you wished for right now? What would be some of the repercussions of your wishes? Would you be ready for the promotion? I think the quick answer is, yes of course! I want my dreams to come true! I’m ready! I think the real question we need to ask is, do we have the character to have integrity regardless of the promotions we get in life? Or will we walk away from The One who truly matters for fame, money, popularity, a relationship or whatever it is else that we crave?
The sobering reality is although “follow your heart” seems like a nice mantra, it won’t ever lead you in the right direction.
In Jeremiah 17:9 it says that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” If we can’t trust our hearts to guide us or to make our desires come to pass, who can we trust?
The simple but not often easy to swallow answer is: Jesus. Maybe you have heard the verse that says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).” So we’ll get the desires of our heart if we delight in Jesus, right? Not so fast. Let’s look at some context surrounding this verse to get a better picture of what it means:
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And he shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret--it only causes harm.
If we look closely at this text and underline the action words, I noticed that there are several insights for us here. Trust in the Lord. Feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord. Commit your way to the Lord. Rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for him. Cease from anger. These are all things that surround receiving the desires of our hearts. These actions can guide us in making the right decisions and not allow our hearts to lead us in the wrong direction.
Now, I want to go back to the phrase that often eludes us “Delight yourself in the Lord.” Delight means to please someone greatly. What pleases you greatly? What makes you happier than anything else? Is it God? Or have you put something else on the throne where he belongs? I encourage you to ask yourself these questions. When God is the thing that pleases our hearts greatly, then and only then, will we get the desires of our hearts. And as we delight ourselves in him, our desires will change.
No longer do the things that we wanted so desperately matter, because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is more satisfying than anything this world could offer.
A great example of delighting in the Lord is Mary of Bethany. In the Gospels, Jesus visits Mary’s house. Her sister Martha is cooking and preparing and getting everything ready for guests, but Mary sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to what he has to say. When Martha gets frustrated and tells Jesus to reprimand Mary for not helping her, this is what he says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her.
Be encouraged today, friend. No matter what you gain or lose in this life, your relationship with Jesus can never be taken away from you. His presence will never leave you. He is our treasure. He is our great reward. As you delight in him, he will guide you and change the desires of your heart to match what is His best for you. Then, when our desires are rightly aligned, we can learn to trust the process no matter what season we’re in.