Today, Amanda and Danielle ended up sitting around the breakfast table for hours sharing different things God’s been revealing to them—turns out, God had a lot to say to each one of them through the other. Here’s a peek into their conversation:
Danielle: So I’ve been praying lately about the idea of being pursued…and I think I came to kind of a revelation today.
Amanda: Do tell.
D: OK. So this is going to be “Danielle pouring her heart out time.” Get. Ready.
A: Hold on a second (pause. Amanda sits back in her chair, closes her eyes, and opens her hands). OK. I’m ready.
D: (laughs) OK, so I’m beginning to realize that I have the whole definition of “pursuit” all wrong. We talk a lot about being pursued, especially as women—and I think that’s good, and from God. We were made to be pursued in a lot of ways—humanity, as a whole, is being pursued by God, like Hosea says: “So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart” (2:16. Editor’s note: “her” being Israel…and then, by extension, all of God’s people.) The problem is, we talk about being “pursued” in a holy way, but we’re really just living with the expectation of being pursued in the world’s terms.
A: Yeah, when we think of being pursued we’re expecting flowers, candy, grand gestures…like we’re all waiting to be “swept off our feet.”
D: Exactly. Sometimes I get caught up in focusing too much on those externals, and being dissatisfied when they’re not a part of my life. I think that those things are what I want—but in reality, that’s a lie. The world tells us that we should be made to “feel” like we’re worthy, we’re loved, we’re worth fighting for by what someone does—that our senses and our emotions should be pursued. But the TRUTH is that it’s our hearts—our souls—that are worth fighting for, and being pursued means we are loved the way we need to be loved, instead of being loved the way we want to be loved.
A: Gosh. That’s so true! If I really want to let go of my old way of thinking, to really live with Christ, and trust Him to fulfill my desires, I can’t just cling to the same old things I’ve always desired—the things of the world—and put Christian terms on them. Christ is not going to give me the things of the world, the things I don’t really need, the things that don’t satisfy my heart. If I define my wanting to be pursued in terms of what it looks like in the movies, it will just turn into something unhealthy. It will become really confusing: all of a sudden, saying “I’m pursuing you” is like saying the magic words, and I could think “oh, this is holy, this is right, this is how it’s supposed to be;” when, in reality, I’m still being pursued in the world’s terms and not in Christ’s terms.
D: Oh yeah! I prayed about that this morning! The reading for Mass was from 1 John, and this line just struck a chord for me: “Children, let us love not in word or speech, but in deed and truth” (3:18). I’m beginning to realize that really being pursued in a way that’s from God is going to look DIFFERENT—in the fullness of what being pursued actually means—and that difference is good, it’s real, and it’s what authentic love looks like. All the externals are insignificant. There have been times in my life, and in the lives of people I know, where all the right words were there, all the right “grand gestures,” as you called them, but underneath, there was nothing. We think we want someone flying across the world to stand on our doorstep to surprise us, but what we really want is someone who is not going through the motions, someone who loves you for who you are, someone who leads you to God and not himself.
A: Mmmm. Yeah. I think sometimes we’re scared that love won’t come along, and so we settle for less.
D: Yeah, and we sell out for what the world has to offer instead of waiting for what God has to give us.
A: And God wants to give us so much! It’s like what Father Roland was talking about the other day—God doesn’t call us to just survive; he wants us to live abundantly!
D: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
A: Yes! And not just in Heaven! Not just in the life to come, but in this life too! That’s been in my prayer lately and it just blows me away. I always thought about God rewarding us in Heaven, but that’s only the half of it. We have to believe—I mean, because He tells us!—that He has good things for us and He wants to give them to us NOW. He wants us to live a blessed life. We’re afraid to give up the things we think we want…but when we give everything to God and let Him purify our desires, then He can really give us the things He wants to give us, the things He has prepared for us, the things that satisfy. (Editor’s note: this is a paraphrase of Mark 10:17-31. Check it out).
D: Oh my gosh! You need to hear this part of Malachi—this Scripture just keeps coming up and it talks exactly about that: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” (3:10, emphasis added). Blessing without measure! Floodgates of Heaven! That’s crazy. God is sitting there, waiting to fulfill us, but He wants us to bring the “whole tithe,” all of ourselves—not just part of ourselves, but ALL OF US—to Him first. And He says, “try me in this,” like, “go ahead, try and prove me wrong; just see if when you give me everything I don’t bless you.”
A: Yeah, we have to believe that when God says things like that, He means them. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have struggles in our lives; it doesn’t mean that life is a walk in the park…but when He says He wants us to have life and have it abundantly, He means it! He doesn’t want us to settle for just having enough, for just scraping by; He wants us to be blessed.
D: Amen. And that ties back into the idea of being pursued. God is constantly calling us to more—to give more, but also to receive more. The beauty is not just that God wants so much from us, but that He chases after us to give us more than we ever imagined in return.
A: It’s like when we finally stop running and He catches up to us, He says “OK, are you finally ready to see what I have for you?”
D: And we have to trust that whatever He’s going to give us is going to be what we need, even if it’s not exactly what we think we want.
A: (pause) Well. That clears that up.
D: Thanks, God!
God, thank you for revealing yourself to humanity, for being a God who is truly with us. Help us to stop grasping at what we think we want and give everything to you. God, we trust you with all of our desires; we offer them to you, along with all our fears, our worries, our hopes, our plans, our expectations. Purify our hearts, Lord, so that we may more fully and freely receive what you have in store for us. Amen.
Oh, look! It’s lunchtime…