When a Longing Goes Unmet

Last week through twitter I happened to come across an article on singleness. (Let me say upfront that although I’m using that as a springboard, this post isn’t about singleness, but rather each of our different longings. Because let’s be so honest, that is one of many longings left unmet. Okay, I feel better now. Grin.) Before reading it all the way through I quickly glanced through bits and pieces and the sweet girl who put herself out there had mentioned that she was 23 years old. A couple hours later when I had a moment, I actually read the entire post but realized her age had been removed.

And then I got to the comments.

It was no wonder that she removed her age because the first comment that I laid my eyes on was from someone ripping her to shreds for writing an article on singleness at the age of 23. What did she know? They were 34 and had waited a lot longer. How dare she?

Instantly I got defensive for this poor girl because a) I know all too well what it’s like to put yourself out there to then get slammed by the people instead of built up and b) since when was there an age limit that we could talk about singleness? Since when could we not express our desires until we had been labeled an expert? I didn’t comment because my blood pressure was too high and I’m pretty sure I would have said things I would have later regretted, but here is what I know and I would have said to that sweet girl if I could go back to that post:

The longings the Lord gives us are real. I don’t care if you’re 16 or 67, each desire and longing the Lord puts in us in something we have to lay down every single day.

At 23 I thought the world was ending because no one had put a ring on my finger. It was right after college that I was swimming in the deep end of all things weddings because that was the age that I watched seven of my close friends walk down the aisle to their beloved. Every turn I took I ran into another wedding, and with great joy, mind you, but I was reminded that I too had a longing that had yet to be fulfilled. If there was ever a time I could have said, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” that would have been it.

Following that year, I’ve learned a lot about myself, grown a lot and matured in many ways regarding my present season, but I don’t discredit that year any more than I do this year.

When we are vulnerable, I don’t think we’re asking for someone to slam us into the pavement, rather, we need to hear, “I understand.”, “I’ve been there, too.”, “There is hope!”  “I’m so sorry you’re hurting.” and “You are not alone.” While I need people speaking truth to me every day and believing for me when I’m weary and tired, I also just want people to listen without fixing or listen without giving me their go to Jesus answer. We know God is sovereign, God is good and God has not forgotten us when life looks strangely dim, but we also need a safe place to share our longings and not be shamed for feeling alone, or misunderstood. There’s a time and place for correction and truth, but when compassion is extended, even if we don’t fully understand, that’s when ministry happens. Heaven forbid we become people who throw the first stone at those who are trying to live honest lives.

Last week I happened to have a little more alone time than usual and in some silence, I realized I had let a handful of anxiety slip into unnecessary areas of my life. I was achy and although on the outside things looked peachy, my insides were a hot mess. Later on in the week after I had the wherewithal to put my thoughts to paper (which doesn’t always happen, by the way) and I was able to make some sense of the stirrings I continually sit with. The truth is, I know I can sound like a broken record, and maybe you feel like that too, but in reality, no amount of freedom, success, friends, right words, traveling, passions, sleeping in (all of the perks of singleness) can suppress a deep longing that gets left untouched. (This is true of any deep longing in any season of life.) That list of pros are things I pursue and do all the time, but it doesn’t fill the void where some true longings lay dormant. This I do know, some longings are to be placed at the feet of Jesus everyday, it’s a faith journey and a trust walk that honestly gets more personal every year. This is true for every longing or dream that’s been shattered whether you’re 20 or 72. The thing of it is, when we entrust ourselves to Jesus, we don’t get to pick and choose how He develops our character to reflect Him. That’s where faith comes in. Trusting that He really does know best and do best.

But at my ripe age of 28, I’ve also learned that every longing inside of us, though we may not know it at the time, is a deeper longing for Jesus Himself. An emptiness He’s put there that can only be met by His love and mercy. When we’re dry and weary, we really want Jesus. When we’re discouraged and lonely, we really want Jesus. When we’re hungry and searching for something, anything to sustain us, we really want Jesus. A day is coming when every longing we’ve ever had will be met by Jesus Himself. That alone gives us some joyful expectation and hope.

Instead of hitting on an already bruised soul, might we extend some kindness and ministry to those that share with us so tenderly? Let us be the ones to remind them that God really does withhold no good thing, and if He is withholding something, as much confusion and pain as it brings at that time, it is ultimately for our good. We’re all deeply flawed humans just trying to get along with and love other deeply flawed humans. Kind words, tender hugs, and a chance to weep with those who weep goes a long way in a cruel and unkind world.

So to you who have an unmet longing, whether it be a husband you long to share life with, a child you long to bring into your home whether through adoption or naturally, a wound from a relationship that is still so fresh and you’re longing for the redemption of a bruised heart, a longing for a dream or passion to come true that’s laid dormant for years, a longing to do something you’ve been waiting to do, a longing to move up in your career, the longing to grieve something you’ve lost, whatever it is, to you I say:

Your longing is safe with Jesus, and please, Lord, I pray you’re longing is safe with us. You can weep for what has yet come to pass. You can be honest. You can rejoice when that thing for which you’ve prayed so long comes to fruition. You can talk about it in the here and now. You don’t have to talk about an unknown future. Sometimes the hardest question to answer when our lives are spinning is, “What’s next?” We want to know, “What’s now?” What is Jesus doing in you today in the midst of your unmet longing? Here you have permission to be honest. You have a voice.

Because Jesus cares. Jesus is holding every tear. Every unmet longing. And Jesus is working everything out for your good and for His glory. Lean into him. Do what it takes to trust him, whether that means putting yourself out there or keeping it in the secret parts between you and God. Your longings are not foreign to Him. To you and to myself I say, God is so faithful, dear sister. Take heart.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63: 1-11

 

 

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.

12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.

13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14 I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”

 Psalm 38:9-16

Share

100 Responses to “When a Longing Goes Unmet”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.

Comments:

  1. 51
    Kim says:

    Lindsee,

    Thank you sister for encouraging me today. I’m grateful God used your words to speak what is all jumbled up in my heart.

    I especially like this part: ” The thing of it is, when we entrust ourselves to Jesus, we don’t get to pick and choose how He develops our character to reflect Him.” Everything in this life is orchestrated to bring us close to Christ, be it prosperity or calamity. Often we want answers more than we want God. I pray that we all choose God even when there is no answer in sight. I pray we choose to trust Him in every single area of our lives. Honestly, my longing to be a wife is one area that I struggle to trust God the most…. and He put that longing there! Crazy, I know. We’re working on it, God and I.

    Our God is worthy of our trust. He is worthy of our praise. At all times.

    “God withholds no good thing from us.” And repeat..

  2. 52
    Laura says:

    Lindsee – Man the Lord is using you in MIGHTY ways!!! Thank you for being a vessel to bring Him glory! It is deeply blessing myself and many others!! AMEN to this post!

  3. 53
    Stacie says:

    I have been in a season of waiting for a child, and this really spoke to me. I read it immediately after my quiet time on Psalm 113 and 1 Samuel 1-2 (Hannah’s prayers and longing for a child). We had a miscarriage earlier this year after getting pregnant quickly, and here we are 7 months after our miscarriage, still trying again, when I thought we didn’t have any problems getting pregnant. I have grown a lot in the Lord in this season of grief, pain, and waiting, and I am truly grateful for the joy God has given me despite the pain. But the enemy tries to use my fear and worries against me daily, mocking me and making me think I may be infertile after my miscarriage. It’s a hard battle I face on a daily basis, but He is faithful, He loves me so much, and He is near. I’m not giving up on Him. Praise God, He pursues me! My heart aches for women who try, often painstakingly, for a child for years; He’s used this season in my life to mold my heart in compassion for them.

    p.s. I remember praying for a spouse and thinking that I would never find him, and God sent him along when I least expected it (I was 25). My sister’s story is similar — and she married at 31. God knows the longings of our hearts. I try to remember His faithfulness to me back then, while in waiting for His answers in this season.

  4. 54
    Joyce says:

    Realizing anew that my longings are placed in my soul from my loving God; they are not something I conjure up on my own. All that He gives me is good, for He is good. This post was a balm to this weary soul this morning.

  5. 55
    Joyce says:

    Realized anew that my longings have been placed in my heart by my loving God. He is good so each thing placed in my heart is good. Your post was a balm to this weary soul.

  6. 56
    joyce says:

    Renewed my realization that my longing was placed in my soul by the Lord. This post was a balm to my weary soul.

  7. 57
    Betty M says:

    Dear Lindsee,
    My arms have ached to hold a grandchild!! We raised three kids and not one is married!! Paula, our oldest, is 41, goes to weddings with a smile pasted on her face and tears streaming in her heart. Our second son will never marry he is disabled so lives with us. Scott our youngest turned 35 with no possible mate in sight but still her trusted God. He laughed that as an electrical lineman his hopes are very unlikely that he would find a girl on his job and would he even want to?? Just this year, God provided for him! A sweet girl named Beth entered his life and they will be maried next June! Why did it take this long? Only God knows but all through the Bible God gave promises to a very impatient bunch (look at Abraham and Sarah and also Elizabeth and Zechariah!). His timing to us seems so slow becuase we live in an element called time and timing is everything!!
    We rejoice and yet ask daily for patience!!
    Knowing His timing is perfect!
    Betty

  8. 58
    Denise says:

    As I read this I remembered a dark hot New Year’s Eve in the Philippines and sitting under a star filled sky … alone. I married laaattteee in life and the longings to be “normal” (or what I thought was normal) overwhelmed me at times. I do not regret even one of those alone days. What I do regret is not realizing then that God’s plan for my life included the seasoning of the days when I was longing for more.

  9. 59
    Mindy Rogers says:

    The verses that you included are dear to my heart…I find that Satan’s biggest work in my life is to get me feeling unnoticed and abandoned by God. These verses are the mighty swords I wield when those lies come at me. Thank you for this conversation…it is so practical!

  10. 60
    Michelle says:

    Wow this got me reading! I am a caregiver of an ill child now 20 years old. I’m tired. This is a complaint but to simply tell you that the longing of my heart is for her to be healthy and whole and one day be able to support herself and have a real life.
    I have been married for 23 years, it’s in shambles, partly him, then me.
    I have so many longings I can’t even begin to tell you all of them so let’s just say this really is a huge answer for me. I have all these little crutches, limp-along equipment I use to pacify my longings but I realized they are all futile and stupid actually.
    I don’t even know what to say but I printed this off and just read the end where you asked for us to share so here I am with my dented crown, ashes on my head, sack cloth on my back just barely hanging from one shoulder but hey it matches my crown so that’s a good thing I think. I know this makes me sound like a sad sack and I’m not I’m just so tired of being stupid. Michelle

    • 60.1
      Lindsee says:

      I’m praying right now that the Lord would restore hope and turn ashes into beauty like only He can. Blessings to you, Sister.

  11. 61
    Bobbie Puckett says:

    Lindseee…. your the best
    I needed this post today so very much. My longing is to have a relationship with my daughter again. I have been estranged from my 40 year old daughter for the last 5 years. She has not spoken to me except for hurtful things for the last 5 years, she has 4 daughers and will not let me see them or talk to them. I find myself needing to see her so bad I go to her house even tho I know she will reject me again, I did this just last nite. She only opens the door a crack & does not give me much time to talk. I prayed all the way over to her house and God was so faithful. He protected my heart and I did not go away feeling the old rejection & hurt. So I very much needed to hear your encourgement that all I really need is Jesus to fill my heart with His love. Thank you so from the bottom of my heart.

  12. 62
    Colette says:

    Thank you Lindsee for reminding me that my longing unanswered prayer only brings me closer to Jesus! Somedays are harder than others but EVERYDAY Jesus is there!! He knows my concerns and wants me to trust in Him no matter what!! We are getting LOTS of rain today and it reminds me of all the tears I have cried! God sees our tears and wants to comfort us. So thank you for reminding me Jesus has heard my prayer! I just need to keep the Hope and Faith alive that it WILL get answered in God’s perfect timing!!!

  13. 63
    Tyra says:

    Yesterday was my 35th birthday, and I found myself with a group of family friends not enjoying our time in a place that should be exciting and fun. This longing you described was as real to me as anything. I just wanted to “get it together”, “be happy”, and smile so no one knew. This morning, after reading your words, I allowed myself to feel the longing and disappointment and confusion surrounding my singleness.
    Thank you for sharing! Thank you for helping me to not feel so alone and that my feelings are okay.

    God Bless you, Lindsee!

  14. 64
    Amanda says:

    This is beautiful. It really does not matter what age you are-you still have normal longings. I longed for a husband my whole life. When my fiancee’ and I broke up when I was 22, I was certain I had lost every chance to ever meet someone. I realize now, that there were more opportunities in front of me, but at the time it was completely overwhelming. I was the only one in my family who married later, and it was painful. Now that I have my husband (at 27) I am amazingly grateful that I waited for him. I wish I could go back and tell myself that everything turns out okay-but I know that would have fallen on deaf ears. When I encounter single and broken women now, I just encourage them to trust in Jesus. I tell them my story, my deep brokenness that only Jesus could heal. I pray that one woman may hear my heart and find encouragement that they are not alone, their longings are normal, and that Jesus hears them, loves them, and wants more than anything to take them to heaven! There, pain will be no more! Longings will be fulfilled by having Jesus with us, all the time. Turn to Jesus, He is the only healer of all of our hearts.

  15. 65
    christina says:

    “The thing of it is, when we entrust ourselves to Jesus, we don’t get to pick and choose how He develops our character to reflect Him.” Wise words, dear Lindsee. Thank you for sharing your heart here. You are absolutely right about wanting Jesus more desperately when we’re empty and longing for what is not. You are right about all our longings being met in Jesus. That’s true with a husband as well as without one, by the way.

    If a husband is or will ever be good for you, may the Lord bring you the right man at the right time to join you in chasing after Himself.

  16. 66
    Charlotte says:

    You, Lindsee, speak such words of truth and wisdom.

    “When we are vulnerable, I don’t think we’re asking for someone to slam us into the pavement, rather, we need to hear, “I understand.”, “I’ve been there, too.”, “There is hope!” “I’m so sorry you’re hurting.” and “You are not alone.” While I need people speaking truth to me every day and believing for me when I’m weary and tired, I also just want people to listen without fixing or listen without giving me their go to Jesus answer. We know God is sovereign, God is good and God has not forgotten us when life looks strangely dim, but we also need a safe place to share our longings and not be shamed for feeling alone, or misunderstood. There’s a time and place for correction and truth, but when compassion is extended, even if we don’t fully understand, that’s when ministry happens. Heaven forbid we become people who throw the first stone at those who are trying to live honest lives.”

    Thank you!

  17. 67
    Renee' says:

    Hi Lindsee, you are very wise for one so young!

    I have a question regarding one thing you said: “The longings the Lord gives us are real. I don’t care if you’re 16 or 67, each desire and longing the Lord puts in us in something we have to lay down every single day.”

    How do you do this? I want to, I’m not sure how to go about it.

    I’m 22 years your senior, but you never fail to minister to me in my singleness. Thank you for all you do!

    ~Renee’

    • 67.1
      Deborah says:

      How cool for you to ask this! Yes living what we say is not always easy on a daily practical level. I look forward to this answer.

    • 67.2
      Lindsee says:

      Hi Renee! You are so right and thanks for asking. Honestly, it is much easier said than done. But one thing I’ve learned (and I have a LOT to learn and a long way to go) is knowing the character of God and knowing that He’s already given me everything I need for life and godliness, His Spirt and His word. So, approaching Him in prayer or when I journal, it’s easier for me to trust Him as I pour out my heart to Him (Ps.62:8) and give Him back every desire He’s given me. Many times I’ve asked Him to take certain desires away, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m tired or wrestling through it, or what. So, the way I go about doing it is through journaling and prayer, honestly just writing my heart out, searching the scriptures and praying. Even if I don’t get the answer I want, I know He hears me, I know He sees, and I know He’s ultimately sovereign. Also, telling someone else your longings and desires sometimes helps as well. The people you love have good insight. When I approach Him in His fullness, it’s a beautiful thing. Much more dependent at that point on Him than myself, as it should be. All that to say, it’s a daily prayer telling the Lord that I trust Him and just laying it before Him. Sometimes things stay quiet, other times He presents opportunities, but being open before the Spirit and asking Him to guide me helps as well. Again, much easier said than done, but for me, it has become a daily practice, or else I’ll go insane. I hope that helps! I have so much to learn. Blessings to you!

      • Deborah says:

        Thank you for your honesty and your desire to be teachable and humble reliance on Jesus. Thank you for your answer. Trusting God for HIS WILL AND TIMING over taking the reins and trying to control our own futures is huge….agreeing FOR HIS WILL and not forcing our will is following JESUS daily. To me, You describe that well in your answer. Thank you for your personal relationship with Jesus as the core of your answer! Knowing Him enables trusting Him and knowing He is able and nothing is too hard for Him yet He knows what is best. What looks like our defeat is often the greatest victory in His kingdom. His ways are so much higher. Hard to fathom. Thank you for your faith when it is hard. Faith pleases God.

  18. 68

    Wisdom beyond your years!

  19. 69
    Mickey says:

    This is seriously the most beautiful post I have ever had the privilege to read. Thank you, Lindsee, for sharing the beautiful insight you have about Jesus with us through your graceful words. I will keep this with me for a long, long time. 🙂

  20. 70
    Lynn says:

    When I was 27, I longed to marry my boyfriend and start a family. “Just let him ask me and I’ll say yes so fast!” Well, he did and I did, but I was far lonelier as a wife than I had ever been as a single person. I spent many nights, including my 28th birthday, home alone while he was out with his bar-hopping buddies. Eventually we divorced and I was left with a six month old child to raise.

    Now, as an empty-nester, I find myself longing for what cannot be. Only God is privy to these longings, as I found that sharing them brought forth hurtful comments. I sometimes think that He has something wonderful in store for me, just around the corner, if I will but trust Him that all things work together for my good.

  21. 71
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    This post is encouraging to me, thank you Lindsee Girl I am glad you posted it.

  22. 72
    Shirley says:

    Thank you.

  23. 73
    Linda says:

    http://www.redletterwords.com/index.cfm?cat_id=174

    Just this week i ordered something from RedLetter Words…
    look at “She Knew” on her website for some amazing encouragement and inspiration from God’s word turned to prayers. One example
    “She knew that if she set her mind on things above…
    nothing could take away her Joy”
    another
    “She knew that many plans were in her heart…
    but that His Purposes would prevail”

  24. 74
    Stephanie Volkmer says:

    I am 29, and at a season where the overwhelmingly majority of my friends are either getting married or getting preggers. The desire for a husband has increased but something that God has told me is that I need to learn to depend on Him and trust Him fully, even if that desire never comes to pass.
    Daily, and sometimes hourly it seems on some days (grin) He asks if He is enough, and if He is, then I need to fully trust and rely on Him. Psalm 34:7 is my life verse this year and I am learning that when I pour out my desires, He gives me so much more.
    So enjoyed hearing this Lindsee! Thank you so much for being honest and open with us. 🙂 Love ya girl!

  25. 75
    Stacey says:

    I am only echoing what everyone before me has said, but I can’t say nothing! Thank you so much for this. Many times I feel like I have earned the role of professional bridesmaid as I have, yes – joyfully!, watched nearly all of my close friends marry. Sometimes in wanting to change the season of my life or fix myself, I attempt to cut off my longings and desires or view them as bad. But they are not. Thank you for reminding us that ultimately everything we long for is a deeper longing for Jesus Himself. Thank you for giving me strength to lift my eyes to the One who satisfies more. This post is so spot on and a beautiful picture of his grace in every season He has us walk through.

  26. 76
    Christy says:

    I love you sweet Lindsee. I love your precious heart. Christy

  27. 77
    Barbara says:

    Thank you,Lindsee. I needed this

  28. 78
    Deborah says:

    Agreeing w Christy: I love you sweet Lindsee. I love your precious heart. Thank you for having a heart for the hurting and caring deeply with CHRIST’s COMPASSION!
    Never met you in person but sure do love your writings and agree with you so much! Unity in HIS Spirit.
    My greatest longings: to truly live hearing and obeying the LORD and entering into HIS REST and REDEMPTION…for Gen 50:20 to come about in my life in whatever form the LORD has designed….Rev 12:11 too…for the HEALING in my heart/soul/spirit/life needed so I finish my life no longer a victim but A VICTOR for JESUS! and for me, my husband and children and family to KNOW, BELIEVE AND LOVE AND SERVE CHRIST MORE and live by the SPIRIT MORE.

  29. 79
    Elizabeth says:

    I have gone through the hardest three years I could have imagined. Out of this season, God has turned my depression into joy, anxiety into peace, and has strengthened me. Yet, I still wait for him to act in my marriage. I still question if I’m in Gods perfect will. I have my moments where I feel like the old self. I am still waiting for healthy Christian friendships, which I so desperately need. When I feel like I have no more strength, I am reminded of what God has brought me through and I ask for his strength and wisdom… And that is what I ask of him right now.

  30. 80
    Deon says:

    Nice blog post, but is this blog for women only?

    I am a male. And I enjoyed reading this, but I felt an immediate “Disconnect” when I read the “Dear Sister” part.

    I can only imagine that I am not the only male who read this & felt the same way.

    • 80.1
      Lindsee says:

      Hi Deon, we gladly welcome you here, but your observations are correct. We are a Women’s Ministry and our goal is to serve women, but we do hope to minister to anyone that stops by. You are free to exchange “Dear Brother” if that helps you, though maybe a bit awkward. Many blessings your way!

  31. 81
    This American Wife says:

    This is quite possibly the most beautiful blog post I have ever read. Such sensitivity and grace. Well done!

  32. 82
    Kim, Redlands, CA says:

    Last one for 2013! 🙂

    Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: