“One of the most potentially destructive forces in a woman’s life is when she begins to look for fulfillment in something or someone else.” –Sally Clarkson, Desperate
Today we’re talking about Chapter 8 of Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. In this chapter, Sally and I talk about the temptation to escape our circumstances. Sometimes the escape is about getting away from the mundane, sometimes it’s about avoiding our responsibilities because we’re so overwhelmed, sometimes we are just desperate for a break, and sometimes it’s about running away because the life we’re living isn’t what we thought it would be, and now we’re not sure we want it.
I think it’s important to know, to ask yourself where the desire for escape is coming from. Is it coming from a place of desperation, where you can’t get any help or a break and you’re just going to break if you don’t get out for a bit? That’s normal, and in my opinion, we all need a break from time to time to refresh our souls. But maybe you want to escape because you’re trying to escape your life; no matter how many breaks you get, they’re never enough, because the truth is, you’re aching deep down for something else. This kind of escape is killer, because it ties your soul into knots of guilt, confusion, shame, regret, and covetousness. Listen, I’m not down on you if you’re experiencing this kind of escape, I have felt those things and been in that place, but what I know about that place is that it is empty and unfulfilling and ultimately will make you miserable, because that longing that is slowly coursing through your spirit is a longing for something you can’t get here on earth.
I know it hurts, and maybe you’re playing Taylor Swift songs on repeat, dreaming of another life, or you think if only you had married someone else or if you lived somewhere else, you’d be okay.
Or maybe you’re just dying for some attention. Maybe you want to be understood.
Friend, those longings in your soul, they’re there for a reason, and they aren’t going to be met by anything or anyone on this ball of dirt (although relationships are super important – we were made needing community!). Those longings, that tension, is there to remind us that there is a place that we’ll be one day that will fill every empty space in your being. Mark Buchanan in his powerful book, Unseen Things, says:
“On earth, everything falls short of some hoped-for ideal…in response, we can become so cynical that we poison ourselves, so self-indulgent that we devour ourselves, so despairing that we collapse into ourselves. In fact, self-pity and self-indulgence, boredom, and despair, envy and greed-such are only yearning gone sour…a once-burning zeal dwindles to a dry itch, and everything becomes a frantic attempt to get passion back, or a plodding resignation to its death…God made us this way. He made us to yearn-to always be hungry for something we can’t get, to always be missing something we can’t find, to always be disappointed with what we receive, to always have an insatiable emptiness that no thing can fill and an untamable restlessness that no discover can still…It’s not the wanting that corrupts us. What corrupts us is the wanting that’s misplaced, set on the wrong thing.”
Now please don’t get me wrong here, I do think God gives us glimpses of heaven here on earth, and I think He puts desires in our hearts that He means to use here for His glory and even, dare I say, our pleasure. But the ultimate longing and ache will go unmet, for now.
After asking yourself and talking with God about why you’re feeling the need to escape, and if it is healthy or unhealthy, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the portion God has given you. When I went to Colorado to visit Sally, I was in a pretty dark place. At the end of our time together, she gave me a tea cup and said, “This is your portion. You can choose to throw it away or smash it on the floor, or you can accept it and let God fill it, and see the beauty in it.”
Sidenote: While I am talking about accepting our circumstances, I’m not advocating accepting circumstances where abuse is involved. God is for freedom of the captives, so if you’re not free, find someone you trust to help you.
I am choosing, sometimes minute-by-minute, sometimes rather clumsily, to accept my portion, and to be thankful for it. And when the longings rise up, I’m thanking God for those as well, because it means something magnificent is waiting for me when my feet leave the dirt.
- Do you struggle with longing for another life?
- When do you most feel like escaping?
- How can you show your sweet babies how much you love them and are thankful for them today?
I’m finally adding a link-up for all of you who have written posts about Desperate and want to join in the conversation with more words than a comment holds (sorry it’s taken me so long to get on the link-up train!). Please link directly to your post and not just your blog. Happy linking!
“When I finished reading this book, I immediately told Aileen that she would find it rich and encouraging…I very much enjoyed reading Desperate and am convinced that it will bless and encourage any mother who reads it.” –Tim Challies, Challies.com
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