Are You Thirsty?

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit (Jeremiah 17: 7-8, NLT).

Fear is driven by thirst and I realized I was thirsty.

When I began the journey of writing Shining Freely three years ago, I was a completely different gal. Writing this book and encountering God through it has transformed my life. I loved Jesus, but I was still thirsty. Thirsty for accomplishments, titles, and a platform to prove my spiritual worth. I needed you to like me. To approve of me to feel okay. The beautiful thing about God is, when we truly ask Him to search our hearts – He does. He searches for and shines a spotlight on the places in us that will make us fall flat on our face in heartache if we continue to try and do life and ministry our own way. He knew that if I kept seeking your approval, I would always be thirsty. The “Am I enough” void continually threatened the growth He wanted to give me. So, He took me on a 40-day journey that changed my life forever.

I share this because I know many of you reading this feel the same. We are hard-wired to connect, to belong, and to be liked. It is a matter of survival. What I realized, though, as I ceased from my work (work that I thought all depended on me) for 40 days to be led by God, is that nothing can fill you more than an encounter with His heart.

I was listening to one of my favorite pastors, Steven Furtick, talk about “The Thirsty Trap” and it shined a spotlight on this approval seeking tendency in me. He said, “Everyone is thirsty. It is not a sin to be thirsty. It is where you go to get fixed that determines whether your soul will be satisfied.” The truth is, “Everybody drinks from somewhere”.

Did I mention I am a “do-er”?

Being a “do-er” sure made this 40-day rest a test that was really hard for me to pass. I resisted it the first time, sure I had heard God wrong, and I ended up in the hospital because of stress. I am just a tad stubborn. So, the second time He impressed it on my heart I listened. Anyway, it was during this season of rest that I realized how much I got my fix from doing. Being busy felt important. I had a real awareness moment that this thirst was destructive to the very calling I wanted to fulfill. My fix couldn’t come from titles  – even though it sounded really good in my head to be a Co-founder and Clinical Director. It couldn’t come from  accomplishments, the number of followers on my blog, or likes on Facebook either.  All those things can change in a moment and leave me thirsty for more.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a bubbling spring within them” (John 4:14, NLT). Jesus knew this woman was dying of thirst inside. Not the kind any man could fix. He was a Jew and wasn’t even supposed to be talking to this Samaritan woman, let alone be sharing a drink with her. It didn’t matter to Him that she had 5 failed marriages.

What matter to Him, was that her heart was empty and He knew how to fill it.

What mattered to Him was freeing her from the shame that brought her to the well in the hottest part of the day, because she didn’t dare show her face in public. He didn’t need the water He asked her for, He wanted to FILL HER. He went there on purpose with the intention of giving her Living Water. The kind of water that would cleanse her soul and forever fill the empty places inside her. He knew no other source could provide what she was seeking.

Where are you drinking from?

Are you dying for people’s approval? Are you caught up in the rat race of gaining accomplishments or things to finally answer the “Am I enough” question looming in your mind? Are you striving and pushing yourself to produce something on your own because in the end you fear God won’t provide as He promised? What things do you feel you need in order to be enough? Is it a relationship, a bigger house, a degree, and letters behind your name? Or do you fill your empty heart with alcohol, sex, shopping, food, caregiving, or a number on a scale? We are all thirsty in need of filling.

All fear is rooted in self-preservation. Will I be liked? Will I be enough? Will I have enough? The woman at the well was so focus on meeting her need in the moment that she almost missed what was right in front of her, waiting to fill her completely and fully. But God wasn’t going to let her leave that day empty. See that’s what He does, He never leaves us where He finds us! Her encountered with the Living Water that day changed her forever. She left the well a completely different gal. Free, head held high, and a heart filled to the brim and spilling over. She became a woman with purpose. A woman on a mission to spread the gift she received with everyone who would listen. All because of an encounter with Jesus. Never underestimate the power of an encounter (time in His presence) to heal you, restore you, to set your heart free, and point your feet in an entirely new direction.

I am now that woman on a mission. I have been changed by an encounter with Him. You see I was thirsty and He sought me out. He filled me in a way no amount of likes, titles, or accomplishments ever could. God, His love, His acceptance, His approval, His living, breathing water is the greatest gift and I want to share it with you. There is only one Source that never leaves us empty. A Living Water that never fails us.  We all long to be accepted, approved of, and loved. His presence is where we find it.

When I finally got it, nothing else mattered. God delights in me. God delights in YOU! He wants your heart, not so He can condemn you and point out all that is wrong, but so that He can fill you and show you all that is right about you!

Uncertainty drives our fears. Luckily for us, there is a Source of certainty that is always flowing waiting for hearts willing to be filled. Our thirst is quenched by God alone. In time spent with Him – time in the filling. You come, He fills, enough for each day, just like the manna. Learning how to cease from ourselves to take time to be still in His presence, is the key to a thirst filled life. It’s time! Time to lay down your self-protective strategies at His feet and let Him guide the way. He is the most gentle, loving guide you will ever have the pleasure of encountering!

Be Blessed ~ Be a Light!

*This is an excerpt from my book Shining Freely coming the end of 2017!

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