I had an uninvited guest stay with me for several days last week. His visits are frequent and unannounced. His presence is initially disturbing and eventually pleasant.
This guest’s name is Unsettledness and his presence stirs these desires:
I don’t want to dabble my life away.
I want to finish my life swinging for the fence.
I want to be on a mission that’s significant and that needs the real me.
I want to be someone my kids can proudly talk about and want to emulate.
By living for something more important than his children, a father gives them the most precious gift any father can give, the gift of transcendence.” – Dr. Larry Crabb
These “wants” pulse through my heart continually, but grab my full attention only occasionally, as it did last week.
I wrestled with the origin of these thoughts. Were they centered in pride, envy, and jealousy; or were they focused on a desire for transcendence, advancing the Kingdom, and loving my neighbor?
I knew that this unsettledness was at least an invitation from God to ask, seek and knock, and that it would not be solely between Him and me.
He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.” – Proverbs 18:1
To be very candid, I was wrestling with the state of The Noble Heart – one of the expressions of the glory and desire of my heart. I thought it might look different by now – not so small and unstable.
I knew from experience that when I am alone in this, I will end up in the cul-de-sac of Self-Examination. I needed another to help me navigate this road of asking, seeking and knocking.
I had a long conversation with Sam (Williamson) in which he asked me numerous probing, clarifying questions in the tone of sincere caring and curiosity.
Later that day Sam emailed me saying that he had been praying about our conversation, and he sensed the nudging of the Holy Spirit to re-read the previous day’s writing in Oswald Chamber’s, My Utmost for His Highest, which he could not recollect at that moment. It read:
One student a year who hears God’s call would be sufficient for God to have called the Bible Training College into existence. This college has no value as an organization, not even academically. Its sole value for existence is for God to help Himself to lives. Will we allow Him to help Himself to us, or are we more concerned with our own ideas of what we are going to be?”
Chambers articulated my greatest desire for The Noble Heart (for God to help Himself to lives) and my greatest struggle (being more concerned with my own ideas of what I’m going to be).
I’d like to say that this has settled the question of my life’s effect with God in this world, but I can’t. I can say that I feel heard by God and that He has given me something specific to ponder: Can it be sufficient for one person a year to hear God’s call?
I believe that these questions are universal to the human heart, they are good, and they are designed to bring us into intimacy with God and into a weighty life.
Unsettledness will visit frequently and unannounced, but each time it does, we wrestle with our desires from a different place. It’s part of the cyclical awakening and deepening process.
So, let unsettledness remind us to ask, seek and knock as we explore our life in this world. Asking, seeking and knocking will first lead us back to God and then back to our true heart.