Have you ever tried to see how long you could drive your car before it became imperative that you put some gas in it? Well, we have….too many times to count.
After a weekend of lots of driving around it was clear that we were perhaps at the point of running on fumes. Driving on fumes and knowing I was not up to pushing the car to get home, I finally made the decision to go get some gas.
As I waited in the car for my husband to finish filling the tank, I saw a woman walking by our van. I was drawn to the way she was leaning as she walked and it made me wonder if there was something wrong. She was quite unsteady as she made her way to her destination. I wondered if she was drunk or perhaps on a medication that resulted in the imbalance. She finally made it to her destination. The ashtray outside of the store.
What she did next was very unsettling to me.
Now, I have heard of people digging through ashtrays in hopes of finding that one cigarette butt that might have some remnant left for a good smoke. But I had never actually seen it with my own eyes. I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She dug carefully but desperately through the ashes and other trash to find that one butt to quench her craving. She found not one, but three. Three different times she re-lit it and inhaled like it was her last opportunity to satisfy what she was missing.
Not a smoker myself, I was so grossed out by what I saw. Yet I tried to reassure myself that since nicotine is addictive maybe this was her attempt to meet desperation head on.
I’ll be honest, as we drove off, there was a moment that I was tempted to buy her a pack of cigarettes to save her from the other germs she was picking up from smoking used cigarettes. Blech!!!
This post is not a campaign to stop smoking, although that does have its own rewards. I was simply inspired by the visual of the picture presented and the questions it left me with.
When have I been so desperate for something that I was willing to do absolutely anything to get it?
(I don’t remember exact times, but I will say that when I did get desperate I remember feeling nervous, anxious, fearful, and developing a fix-it mentality)
What are others desperate for? Food, alcohol, drugs, time, money, relationships, peace? You fill in the blank.
When do we get desperate? Now that one I can answer. I get desperate when there are unmet needs in my life. The anxiety shows up when the need is expected to be met by someone close to me. My spouse, children, or other family members. The irony is that we actually think they are needs because we use “wants and needs” synonymously with one another. This post could have also been titled, “I don’t want what I need”, or “I need what I want”.
Let’s define it for a minute. I think “needs” are generally things that help us function, while “wants” are desires in our heart, usually based on a feeling. Yes, as a woman I will say, “chocolate is a need at least once a month”. Don’t judge.
I discovered recently that I am in desperate times. Some may call it a valley. Simply put, the challenges in my life are feeling very unmanageable and overwhelming at best. I find myself asking for help more often than not – internally and externally. To clarify, “I don’t have it all together. I never have and won’t until I get to Heaven”. Are you with me?
I am choosing to live through my brokenness.
God is at work, I can see that. For that I have great peace. The thing is, the enemy is at work too.
The enemy has built up a storm of chaos all around me that is thwarting me from side to side. I am feeling battered and bruised from the arrows he is shooting at me. These are desperate times. The LORD has brought great ministry opportunities into our family and the enemy doesn’t like it because it shows that God is using us in His ministry of reconciliation, for His Glory.
So in these desperate times I needed to take drastic measures.
My drastic measure was to stay home on a Sunday morning and to not worship with my church family.
I know, rebellious right? And for an extrovert too!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my church family. They have really been present with us through many joys and challenges that our family has faced over the years.
For some of you, this is a such a foreign concept. You wouldn’t dream of skipping church, as you see it, unless you were really physically ill. It would almost be as unacceptable as picking cigarettes out of an ashtray for one more desperate drag.
For others, perhaps you are relieved that somehow I’m giving you permission to take a break. I am. Just keep in mind I didn’t skip church to do nothing. I skipped church to spend an extended one-on-one time with Jesus, because I was desperate. I wanted and needed more of Him, especially since I was feeling like I was losing more of myself to wrong thoughts and failed expectations. He is what I crave when I am strong and when I am weak. When I feel accomplished and when I feel like I have failed. When I am doing what’s right and when I have disappointed Him. When I am in public and when I am in private.
I can’t say it enough….”church is not just where we go, it’s who we are!!!”
We need to take time out to cultivate our souls daily and then when desperate times call for desperate measures we need to seek extended times with Jesus. Who I am was feeling compromised because it felt like the enemy was working overtime. But this extended time alone with Jesus renewed my identity in Christ. Who I am in the flesh is NOT as important as who I am becoming in my spirit.
With God’s help, I choose to live through my brokenness….will you join me by living through yours? I believe Jesus is pursuing you.
Who or what are you desperate for right now?
Where are you looking for answers?
Thank you for joining me in my desperate time.