Overcoming Angst

God has been inviting me to embrace a perspective that virtually takes the angst out of disappointments. This new frame of reference not only keeps me anchored to Him, but actually propels me towards Him in life’s most difficult moments.

What do we do when our deepest desires are not our reality? What happens when the things we have dreamed of seem to be out of our control? How do keep our heart from becoming hardened in the process of living with unfulfilled longings?

I am practicing living what I am learning, and it is saving and preserving my heart. What I realized, at a practical level, is that everything in my life is an opportunity. When our God-given desires are not being fulfilled, difficulty arises that provides a built-in “resource” for us. What is this resource in our struggle? Tension. Whenever we have a healthy desire for something that we are not currently experiencing—like marriage, having children, financial abundance, or physical health—an innate tension arises within our soul.

How is tension a resource? What is its inherent value? Let us consider the purpose of tension in the natural world around us. Take a spring, for example. There are springs in cars, pens, manufacturing machines, chairs, mattresses, toys… If we looked around throughout the day we might marvel at how much spring-steel physical “tension” we rely upon to make our lives work.

Tension stretches and compresses; it puts strain upon something in order to accomplish a positive purpose. When we are waiting for something that we do not have the ability to make happen, our longing becomes a force that presses on our soul. As we seek fulfillment the “mainspring” becomes wound tighter, building torque within us. Outside of God, this torque of unfulfilled desire makes people frustrated and discontent. But in God, this same force of tension is the very thing propels us to Him who is our All in All.

This natural torque is intended to drive us to seek God, developing the intimacy with Him that is deeper and stronger than any other desire that we have. Once we understand this, we realize this tension that may not feel like a gift, is indeed the greatest of gifts, with the profoundest of rewards. Desire makes us “self-winding” perpetual seekers. The question is: what will you seek on your quest for fulfillment?

Will you commit with me to pursue God in all of your desires? Will you use the energy and torque of tension to burrow deeply into the heart and fullness of the One who only has good for you? Will you join me as I shift my perspective from one of heartbreak—in the longings and losses, to one of gratefulness as I embrace the opportunity of “getting to love God” in the sacrifice? May we each reap the rewards of intimacy as we walk in the freeing reality that He—not the circumstances we live in—is our fullness of joy!