Thou hast created us for Thyself,
and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.Saint Augustine
There’s a concept floating around. It has something to do with all of us having this heart-shaped hole inside of us only God can fill. I believe this to be metaphorically true.
I think it’s often communicated (or perceived) that this filling is a one time event. We have a come to Jesus moment and He comes and fills that emptiness within. This is true as well. But I also think this is an ongoing process.
We all have a deep longing to be seen and heard, to belong and be connected, to be known.
Ultimately, this is about our innate desire to be loved…intimately loved, deep within the recesses of that heart shaped void. We were created in love and need love to sustain us. And as an outflow of the love we receive, we are meant to extend love. All original design.
As God’s children, we are seen and heard by Him; we eternally belong to Him. I have noticed lately how often the New Testament speaks of us in the context of being united with Christ. It is so mind blowing to me, we are literally joined to Jesus. Connection, close relationship is what love looks like – and it is only in this context we are made whole.
Yet, we have voices (within and without) that tell us nobody sees me, hears me or really knows me. I don’t belong, no one understands me. Sometimes we feel unloved and/or unlovable. Even with Jesus alive and well in our hearts the voices can bring us down. No one is immune to this.
So what about this cliché, heart-shaped hole idea? With lies all around, we need to be reminded we are God’s beloved. The Bible tells us hundreds of times, to remember God and His goodness towards us. That is because He knows our tendency to forget. Our hearts and our minds are like sieves; we need to be reminded, refreshed, and refilled by Him and in Him. Often.
We need to turn our hearts again and again to the Lord.
This is why the Examen is such a great practice, but that is another topic. As we remember God is only a breath away, we can internally turn towards Him and be reminded, not only that He is near but He cares. This turning towards Him is an ongoing, necessary thing.
“Jesus often slipped away and went into the wilderness to pray.”Luke 5:16
We, like Jesus, also need to find time to come away, and be with God for more extended times. With more time He can tend more deeply, to what is on our hearts, to what weighs us down. And He does do just that when we give Him time and space in our lives.
Divine love is what fills the heart-shaped hole. His love transcends all and fills us, so we can live our lives as a reflection of His goodness and grace.
The beginning of a new year can be a good time to reflect on what our life with/in God looks like. I am not talking about a New Year’s resolution. Talk about cliché! But just a good look inward.
Part of this reflection process is having a good awareness of ourselves, taking some inventory. Not for the purpose of guilt-tripping ourselves but rather for the purpose of tweaking some of the ways we spend our time. We can think about what the rhythms in our lives are that keep our connection to the Lord strong. What new rhythms in 2019 might be for us, personally, ways to keep the void within filled?
- We can ask ourselves, what are ways I habitually try to fill the emptiness I feel? Where do I turn when I am stressed? What are the quick fixes I turn to that are counterfeit to what my soul really needs? These things may not be bad in and of themselves, but rather may not be the “necessary thing” that only God can provide. What prevents me from engaging with the Lord? That can be an insightful list indeed. The key is, there is nothing He can’t handle, nothing that surprises Him about us.
- We can also ask ourselves what are some life-giving ways that help me come closer to God (remembering He is always near)? What practices cause me to delight in Him? How can I find Him as refuge when my soul feels tattered and frayed, when fear or sorrow threaten to overwhelm me? What spiritual disciplines can I incorporate into my day-to-day, week-by-week, month-by-month life that will keep my heart full-filled?
Here is a fabulous passage of scripture you might like to read and reflect on for a day or two as you ponder what it might look like for you to be filled with God’s love and grace.
Then you will be empowered
to discover what every holy one experiences—
the great magnitude of
the astonishing love of Christ
in all its dimensions.
How deeply intimate and far-reaching is His love!
How enduring and inclusive it is!
Endless love beyond measurement
that transcends our understanding—
this extravagant love pours into you
until you are filled to overflowing
with the fullness of God!Ephesians 3:18-19 (TPT)