My name is Megan and I struggle to believe that God is good.
Honestly, I have had a pretty easy life so far. Looking back, I can’t say my life has been marked by much tragedy. I also can’t say that I have gone through an extended season of dryness is which I felt disappointed by God. But let me tell you why. The reason is not because I have always maintained this consistent relationship with God and have constantly found him to be all satisfying. That’s not it at all. The real reason is that for most of my life I have not consistently sought after God’s satisfying presence enough to even be disappointed by him not showing up. I have lived in a deep disbelief of God’s satisfying nature. I thought, “Sure, he’s probably alright. But definitely not better than what I could come up with on my own.” I love being in control of my own pleasure.
I’ve heard many stories of how pleasure has kept people away from God. But in most of the stories, the pleasure was something along the lines of sex, drugs, or alcohol. I would hear the stories, check myself, conclude that I was doing better than alright, and carry right along doing my own thing. But believe me, I had, and still have pleasure issues. Very sneaky pleasure issues at that.
I love being in control of my own pleasure.
I am addicted to fun. For all my life I have been the ultimate lover of “the little things.” I am a flower-smeller, adventure-goer, trip-planner, hardcore fun-seeker. Beyond that, I am also a big sucker for delayed gratification. Times a thousand. I am the weirdo who doesn’t open a brand new package of socks (yes, socks) for two years because I would rather have something to look forward to every time I open my sock drawer than wear and enjoy the dang socks! Crazy, I know.
My sources of pleasure were not innately sinful unless you consider saving socks to be a sin. I am not standing up here telling everyone to stop smelling the flowers, to stay indoors all day and to not ever make any exciting plans. I am fully aware that the majority of my behaviors were not sinful in and of themselves, but the extent to which I relied on those behaviors was causing my heart to die. The Lord created me, and all of you, to desire satisfaction and pleasure, but the way I was going about fulfilling that desire, by relying on such temporary things, was not God’s design and at times it was just down right pathetic.
I am fully aware that the majority of my behaviors were not sinful in and of themselves, but the extent to which I relied on those behaviors was causing my heart to die.
I imagine it as if God is standing in the dining room, aware of my hunger, telling me that he has cooked an insanely delicious feast and would like me to join him at his table. And there I am in the corner of the kitchen not willing to believe that God is telling me the truth about this feast, so I scramble around the kitchen to prepare one bite of mediocre food. But in order to believe that this bite is enough to fulfill, I dance around the bite for hours trying to convince myself of how “delicious” that one mediocre crumb of a bite will be. God refused to let me stay there. In his mercy, he began to show me my addiction to the things of this world.
July 23, 2013, was the day that Pastor Joel Webbon and I started dating. Let me tell you, that day was the start of something immensely beautiful, but radically challenging. Most of you are well aware that Joel and I are very different people. We make a good team, but we are pretty opposite. This guy began to pop my fun bubbles left and right. Not that Joel was a big mean monster, but the way he lived his life for Jesus didn’t quite fit into my perfectly happy, easy, and comfortable life that I had placed my hope in. For a while, I could get away with blaming my lack of satisfaction in life on Joel just being a fun-stealer. Bless his heart for putting up with me during those first few months. The desires I had clung to so tightly for all of my life were being ripped away from me, and it was not a pretty sight. I had been so deceived in thinking that my hope was in Jesus and that pleasure was not an idol at all until that pleasure was taken away. God was using my future husband to reveal this huge idol of fun. I wasn’t just trying to enjoy the little things in life, I was trying to rely on these things as the source of my happiness. And it is my reliance on these things that breaks God’s heart. I’ve learned that it robs him of his glory and robs me of experiencing his goodness.
I had been so deceived in thinking that my hope was in Jesus and that pleasure was not an idol at all until that pleasure was taken away.
God is still working on me, and to be honest I am not nearly as far as I would like to be. But the beautiful thing is that God didn’t just convict me of this issue and then leave me on my own to figure it out, he is actually changing my heart. Little by little, he gently reminds me that the things of this world will not satisfy the hunger that I have for him. He continues to open my eyes through his Word, through my marriage, and through this church community. I am so thankful for the special times that God reveals to me a piece of his immense pleasure, but I am also thankful for the everyday moments that he uses to remind me that the things of this world will only leave me feeling empty. I was so afraid that this realization would leave me feeling trapped, but as God rips away the things we are slaves to we find such amazing freedom in him.