Put Down the Apple

This post has nothing to do with food.  It does, however, have everything to do with choices.  Specifically the choice to trust.  In a previous post I posed the question, "Who has your heart and what are you seeking?"  The first woman who ever had to ponder this question was one lovely lady named Eve.  The very first lovely lady as a matter of fact.  She literally had everything - paradise as her home, a life free from pain, (including childbirth!),  a husband who loved her perfectly, and complete access to an unhindered, absolutely intimate relationship with the God whom she was created to live in a powerful relationship with.  The woman very literally had it all - not a care in the world, not a burden to bear.  Yet it was not enough.  She just couldn't help but crave, want, and go after the very one thing she could not have.  The world had her heart and she was seeking after all that it had to offer.  She was not completely surrendered to the only One who could give her everything and anything she could ever want or need, even if she didn't understand the process.

Even as I write this my heart aches and beats faster from frustration at the thought of what we as women so often do.  We live in such a way that communicates to God that He is holding out on us in some way.  That we are suffering an unbearable pain and confusion and we assume He just doesn't want to comfort.  The truth is, it's not Him at all.  It's us.  We are the ones enticed by and often falling for the apple, while He is asking us to wait.  He is longing for us to trust that He has so much more than we could ask or imagine.  He longs to refine us during what feels like a long process to get there, but we do not need to go after it for ourselves.  He will provide.  He is pursuing us into a love relationship with Him that will be like no other, that will be the source from which all other fruit in our lives is produced.  It might be painful and confusing at the time, but ultimately more life-giving than we can imagine in the end.
Yet we must choose to trust.

What is it that you are seeking?  What is your "apple" per say?  Is it love, beauty, a man, children, success, physical pleasure, perfection, affirmation, money, comfort, justice, or recognition?  What desire plagues you and challenges your ability to completely believe in the all-powerful God who specifically created and knows you?  What, in essence, is Satan telling you your life is missing?  Do you ask your kids, your boyfriend, your students, your husband, your friends or family to answer your questions of, "Am I valuable?  Am I worth it?" For me, still being fairly new and not so perfect at my job as a teacher, I fight to not let my heart go to a place of wanting to prove myself.  I am finding that when I am depending on myself, I have very little confidence and I feel like a failure.  I want to scream, "Outside of these walls I am somebody!  There are people who love and respect me!"  But God has been so gently yet firmly reminding me that even if I am never praised for my work or my efforts, if I am never talked about as one of the best at what I do, that does nothing to affect my value.  It does not define who I am or what I am worth.  Often the season of life we are in determines what it is we are seeking and who it is that has our hearts.  Yet there will always be only One who should have it, and only One we should seek heart, soul, and mind after.

Trust me, being single until I was almost 28, I know the particular struggle that involves the longing to be loved, valued, and pursued by the man of my dreams.  I prayed and prayed for years, I cried and wondered, I often felt frustrated, confused, and ugly.  I questioned and doubted myself.  I wondered what I needed to do to get the attention of others.  I often wondered what I needed to do to answer my question of whether I was worth enough, valuable enough, or beautiful enough to ever have the desire of my heart fulfilled.  Here is where I went all wrong.  I realized God alone could answer my question.  I would only be at peace when I was looking only to Him for my value, not letting anything else define me.

The book Captivating was a powerful resource God used to bring me back to Him during this time.  When I read this book I felt like I was very much reading my heart and struggles on paper.  It made me cry and pray, realize and return to wanting what God alone wants for me; trusting that He is for me and wants the best for me, and is asking me to simply fall crazy in love with Him.

In the chapter called, "Haunted By a Question,"  Stasi Eldredge, the author of this book, recalls the part of scripture that tells the story of Eve and her fatal choice. (Genesis 3:1-6)  Then she writes this:

"Alas.  There are no words.  Wail; beat your chest; fall to your knees; let out a long, lonesome howl of bitter remorse.  The woman was convinced.  That's it?  Just like that?  In a matter of moments?  Convinced of what?  Look in you own heart - you'll see.  Convinced that God was holding out on her.  Convinced that she could not trust his heart toward her.  Convinced that in order to have the best possible life, she must take matters into her own hands.  And so she did.  She is the first to fall.  In disobeying God she also violated her very essence.  Eve is supposed to be Adam's ezer kenegdo, like one who comes to save.  She is to bring him life, invite him to life.  Instead, she invited him to his death."

    She talks about Adam's role in the whole mess, then goes on to say

"And women?  We tend to be grasping, reaching, controlling.  We are often enchanted, like Eve, so easily falling prey to the lies of our Enemy.  Having forfeited our confidence in God, we believe that in order to have the life we want, we must take matters into our own hands.  And we ache with an emptiness nothing seems able to fill."

Dear friends, I ask you to take your question to Him.  Seek with your whole heart after God and ask Him to remind you of how valuable, lovely, and beautiful you are simply because He made you and He says so.  He created you, designed every ounce of you and loves you with an everlasting love.  Everyone and everything on this earth will fail you at some point.  It is the nature of the world before we get to enjoy eternity in Heaven.  Do not look to it to satisfy.  Do not compare yourself to others or allow Satan to condemn you.  Do not settle for the pleasures this world has to offer at the cost of intimately knowing and following your heavenly Father.  He promises to be faithful, but He will not make you trust Him.  This choice is yours alone.  Please do not be convinced, like Eve, that God is holding out on you.  Rather, He is holding you in the palm of His hand.  Rest there.  Put down the apple.  Pursuing it might lead you down a painful road God never intended you to travel.  Perhaps clinging to it already has you in a painful place .  Lay it at His feet and trust Him.  Seek Him and give Him your whole heart.  I promise you, He will be faithful. 

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart." Jeremiah 29:13

1 comment:

cait said...

This is great, Page. I just read the first 16 chapters of Genesis yesterday and already had this on my heart. So neat how God keeps a thought he placed on our heart fresh to mold us and change us. You are so right about us having the apple in our life. One of my favorite quotes is from Lady in Waiting...this was the book that changed me in my singleness. I'm paraphrasing..."Life is not determined by fate, but by the choices we make." The message you wrote about is so powerful. God is SO incredibly good to us, if we would just stop being so petty sometimes and realize it. Enjoyed our "girl" chat today after school! :)