Counterfeit Comfort

Focal Verses: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters...Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare" (Isaiah 55:1a, 2)

While some people eat for comfort, I drink for comfort. No, not alcohol; my drinks of choice are coffee, diet coke, and sweet tea. In particular, I've found myself in the last few months getting a 32-ounce diet coke during my workday to "comfort" me as I work a long day. What used to be a once-a-week treat turned into an almost every day necessity.

Also a couple of months ago, I found myself feeling very fatigued at work. In the afternoon I was simply run down. Some days I felt like I was battling an illness I was so tired. My husband even jokingly asked if he could declare the lemon law on me because I felt bad all the time.

Sick of feeling sick, I decided to try something. After noticing I was feeling my worst after a string of those "diet coke days," I decided I was going to switch to water. Starting on a Monday, I had a large 32-ounce ice water both in the morning and afternoon. I even added some lemon because I read somewhere that lemon is loaded with vitamin C. That could only be good right?

The difference was immediate. That Monday I was full of energy - even for a Monday! And that whole week I felt like I was back to normal again. It couldn't be that simple, right? Just exchange my diet coke for refreshing ice water?

How often do we do the same thing with our spiritual lives? How often do we try to fill the thirst in our lives with a counterfeit drink?

One of my counterfeit drinks was TV. I had at least one show to watch every night. Every day I looked forward to the show that was on that night. With those shows I could escape my reality and live in another world. They were my comfort. Yet when they were over, I was as empty as I was before, until the next night. Since I have replaced most of my sacred TV shows to other activities in the evenings - ones that are beneficial - I don't even miss it. Sure, my husband and I still indulge in a couple of our favorites, but they are treats for me, not what I depend on for my comfort.

Another counterfeit could be our friends, even Christian friends. If we are leaning on our friends or family with issues we haven't even taken to God, we are expecting them - maybe not consciously - to fill that role of God in our lives. God has used my precious friends in so many ways in my life. But he has at times also taken away their availability to me when he knew I was depending on them too much. He wants us to come to him with all of our thoughts, feelings, dilemmas, and worries. Then, if he chooses to use our friends to speak to us, great! But he is the Wonderful Counselor who needs to be the first one we turn to. And if he chooses to speak to us through our friends, that's just icing on the cake!

Still another counterfeit could be our busyness. As long as we're on the go, doing something, planning something, having something to look forward to, we feel validated. We don't have time to realize our soul is empty. This has been a struggle of mine for as long as I can remember. I'll share what I wrote along these lines in my journal at the end of my Senior year of high school: "It is right now that I feel hopeless; I have a lack of purpose. Throughout the school year I've always had something to look forward to...But now all of that is over." If we are always looking forward to the next thing, that is a sure clue that we're leaning on the wrong thing. If all of our activities and responsibilities were stripped from us, would we find an empty void in our hearts? If so, then we aren't gaining our sustenance from God's Living Water.

These are just a few of my struggles, but I'm sure that we all have our unique counterfeit comforts that we turn to from time to time. It's difficult sometimes to recognize them but if we examine our hearts and pray that God will reveal them to us, we can resist leaning on our counterfeit comfort and instead turn to our God's all-fulfilling comfort.

And once we do that, we open the door to God's living water. The one that will make us never thirst again.

1 comment:

Teresa Holland said...

wow, great thoughts on what we all try to supplement in our lives.