Recently, I was talking to a friend who said she needed prayer – the “spirit of discouragement” was trying to latch onto her. I went into prayer for her, ready to do battle against this “spirit”, to cast it away from her, whatever I needed to do. She is at a really intense time in her life and certainly didn’t need a spirit of discouragement standing in her way!
As I began getting into the heart of my prayer time though, God gave me the revelation that in this case there was no such spirit of discouragement. There was simply a girl, a child of God, doing her best to walk out the calling on her life but currently falling short. She wasn’t out of His will, she was following His call, she was just falling short of the fullness of what her life was meant to be at this time.
Why was this happening? It was because she knew what God had called her to do. She had heard His voice…..but then she used her earthly ideas to fill it in. For example, say somebody really likes flowers. And so, really liking flowers, was expecting them from a loved one for their birthday. All day at work waiting for that bouquet to arrive, expecting it at home. Instead, the loved one didn’t send a bouquet at all but took them to a picnic in a field of wildflowers. The wish was fulfilled but not in the way our flower-loving person expected. The present didn’t meet expectations per se, but does that mean it was bad?
In the case of my friend, it is Jesus’ will that she is doing. She is just walking with a certain (earthly) expectation of what that should look like. A certain expectation of how people will respond to her along the way, because it is God’s will. And as it happens, it isn’t turning out like she expected. The breakthroughs are happening between her and Jesus, not between her and those around her. And so she is finding herself discouraged.
But as I prayed for her, God revealed that this is an issue of our own hearts, not some outward spirit attacking us. And it’s an issue we face a bit too frequently. So often we walk in expectation of what God can and should do. And yes, of course we should be expectant. But sometimes we end up seeking the things we expect of Him, rather than seeking God Himself. And that’s a problem.
Readers, our first and really only desire should be Jesus. To serve Him. To seek Him, To be with Him. There are numerous – numerous – Bible verses about how we should seek God with our whole heart. That doesn’t mean “seek Him with half our heart and keep the other half of our heart waiting to witness His miracle”. That doesn’t mean “seek with most of our heart and keep a teeny bit waiting to rejoice at a breakthrough”. It means our whole heart longs for Him and Him alone. If He is healing the masses as we walk among them, great. Awesome. Amazing. I had a friend in Africa recently who was feeding a village and God literally repeated the miracle of the loaves and fish. I was crying at His glory and power with this miracle. BUT. If He happens to just be merely standing before us, that is fine. Amazing in fact. Why? Because He’s Jesus. And He’s enough. And if our whole heart is truly desiring Him and Him alone, if we keep all our own thoughts and expectations out of it and instead seek only His face and heart, His mere presence is enough. If we desire Jesus, our desires are fulfilled. Because we have Jesus.
There’s no place for discouragement when our heart’s desire is being fulfilled. At the end of the day, maybe we didn’t see a miracle we expected. Maybe we didn’t see what we thought we would. But it’s not our plan. It’s His. It’s not our expectation that matters. It’s His. We’re merely the vessels for it. If our hearts are truly in the right place, and God is our true desire, we’ve got Him. Our desire has been fulfilled. It’s being fulfilled constantly, as an inherent part of our relationship with Him. Us + Jesus = perfect satisfaction for our hearts and spirits. The Bible makes this equation clear, and there is simply no room for discouragement in it. Where would it even go?
Where does that leave us? Well. We all feel discouraged at times. It’s normal. It’s natural. For every verse in the Bible that says to desire and seek God above all else, there are probably just as many examples of someone discouraged. It happens. But it’s still a problem.
So, if you are in that place of discouragement, as we’ve all been, I invite you to seek Him a bit further today. Really, really press in to Him and let Him show you if maybe something else has entered your equation. Let Him reassure you and give you peace to know that these other variables don’t really matter because He is bigger than them and He is able. Give your heart over to Him to be reshaped. Give Him your very thoughts to be brought into obedience under Him.
And then rest assured. He’s got this.