Saturday, May 12, 2012

Open Wide

The first time I heard the song, the words gripped me:

They say I am a dreamer, blind and cannot see. . . . 
They say I am an idealist, blind and cannot see 
that the principles I cling to won't stand reality.
Well, if that's what I am, Lord, won't you care for me? . . . 

I haven't met too many people who can't identify with that. In one way or another, we're all dreaming "impossible" dreams. We're all trying to beat the odds of reality and be or accomplish or feel something exceptional. We're all a little bit blind to the way things are, and trying to live something better—or at least different. And it's a good thing, since those dreams often help us find better realities!

I grappled with dreams and reality this week. Dreams of how fast I'd like to finish college, reality of how fast I can pay for it. Dreams of people and places I want to visit, reality of how that affects school and finances. Dreams of being in a healthy, intimate relationship, reality of being single. Dreams of being like Jesus, reality of being like me. 

I struggled, too, against temptations. Temptations to indulge in passing little pleasures that Jesus didn't endorse. Temptations to covet gifts He hasn't given. Temptations to feel like I'm being cheated if I don't get them.

Finding my resistance mostly ineffective, I prayed and studied the Word. He gave me a verse:

"I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt. 
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10).

A wonderful cure-all, diverting my mind, my longings to the truth. Need something? Want something? Feeling empty without something? Open wide! 

One of those too-good-to-be-true-unless-God-is talking (because then it is true) types of claims. And yet, it takes faith, because there's no guarantee that God's going to "fill it" with my felt need. He's going to fill me with my actual need...which is, ultimately, Him.

Hmm. What about what I want? Another verse. "And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul" (Psalm 106:15).

OK, never mind! (What I want is not worth that!Lord, teach me to trust You, that what You fill me with will be best. (Several times during the week, I actually stretched my mouth open in prayer.)

And He did, every time I claimed the verse and chose to trust Him.

Today, a disappointment. Wasn't a big deal, shouldn't have been a big deal. Except that it brought up painful memories from the past. Except that it gave me more to worry about for the future. Except that I'd been looking forward to this all week. Except that it put a cherished dream back in jeopardy. Except that my hurt reaction made me disappointed in myself.

Again, the verse. . . . I am the Lord your God, who helped you with your struggles all week. Open  your mouth wide and I will fill it.

But I'd wanted to talk to somebody else. I'd saved up stories all week to tell. I'd already talked to God about those things. How could God fill this hole?

And then a text from a friend reminded me that God cherishes me and His plan is perfect.

Even His plan for today was perfect.

Even the things I didn't enjoy, He can use.

Any part of me that is empty, He can fill. If I will open wide. If I'll let Him fill the compartment in my heart I was saving for someone else.

This week will be a new journey, because tonight I'm making a choice. No more "compartments" will be saved for something else. My whole heart will be open for God to fill. And if He's the only one that does any filling, I can be sure that my "cup" will still be running over (Psalm 23:5).

I'm stretching my mouth open wide in commitment.

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