I bought some shoes recently because I just loved them so much. They were also kinda painful to wear when I put them on the first time. I wore them to meet a boy, and I could barely walk. Halfway through our time together, I kicked them off and put on my Uggs, which is short for “Ugly.” The second time I wore them, it was to meet another boy, and they felt a lot better. I was able to wear them much longer and walk a little better. It took some time to get comfortable, but I loved the shoes, so maybe it was worth some discomfort at first?!
I think my uncomfortable shoes are a lot like my longings. If my longings are uncomfortable, I’d rather ditch them and not look at them to be reminded of what hurts. I’ve tried that for years, and, you know what, it also means I have to ignore a significant part of my heart – the very place God wants to engage with me – that tender sacred space that feels vulnerable and exposed.
I’ve tried killing it, numbing out, justifying it away, making excuses, and various other coping mechanisms, but nothing comes from it except half-hearted living and only offering to others what feels safe and comfortable. This is a way to live, but not a very good one.
Our longings tell us something matters.
My spiritual director reminded me that our longings can be disordered when we only focus on the desired outcome. The invitation – dare I say it, GIFT – is to engage with the Lord in the process of the discomfort, especially when we want to discard our longing like a sweater or pair of shoes that need some time to get broken in.
My spiritual director who also sees many other single women said, “There’s an acute pain that you live with. Remaining present means remaining with the longing.”
I felt seen.
Our longings are more than one thing. They are multidimensional, just like any other human, but today I want you to know I see you and am with you in it. As a big sister to many of you on here, let’s keep encouraging one another to risk, long, remain open, face rejection with tenderness, and engage honestly with the Father. Our longings here are but a tiny snapshot of something bigger.
By Beth Wayland