Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

I Want To Numb Too

When you’re young you have this idea of what your life is going to be like. You romanticize and idealize it, even though this has not, so far, been your life experience. Life is hard. And one of our biggest temptations is to numb ourselves to the harsh realities we face in this life.

We don’t want to feel bad feelings. We don’t want to feel the reality of disappointment, rejection, betrayal, failure, grief, loneliness, loss, etc. So we reach. We reach for things that numb our feelings, things like alcohol, drugs (prescription too), sex, shopping, entertainment, busyness, food, exercise, other people. Things that, at least, give temporary relief or distraction from the fullness of our feelings. But what happens is you don’t just numb the bad feelings, you numb the good feelings also. You numb feelings that include love, satisfaction, enjoyment, pleasure, and hope. These are good feelings, but you cannot feel them in full measure because you have gone to such great lengths to numb your bad feelings.

So what do you do? You reach for more of the numbing relief and the cycle continues.

You lack connection to other people and to God when you “numb”.  You tune them out, do not hear what they are saying, cannot see what they are feeling. You are self-absorbed and just waiting for the next “numb”. It’s a place of loneliness, this numbing, so you seek more “numb”. Even though there are people around you that need you and want closeness, you cannot let them fully in, because that would mean feeling all the feelings; being vulnerable, and that is the opposite of numb. It eventually tears apart relationships, little by little, stitch by stitch, until all you have left is a shell, a small semblance of something that used to be. They cannot confide in or fully trust you and you cannot live without your “numb”.

Sometimes, I want to numb too. I want to numb the bad feelings for a little while and not feel the depth of them. I want to make all the troubling things go away for a few moments, but they don’t. And in the process of avoiding the bad feelings I miss the good ones.

God does not call us to numb our feelings. He wants us to feel things fully; the good, the bad, and the ugly. And in our moments when we think we cannot possibly endure the magnitude of these feelings, he beckons us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

He wants us to feel our feelings fully and then, not live by our feelings, but live, sometimes in spite of our feelings, according to his Word.

When we go to other things for comfort and not to God, it is idolatry. (The first and second commandments are listed below)

“‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“‘You shall have no other gods before me.
“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:6-10

When we numb, we are placing a trust in a thing or a person, that belongs only to God. It will never fill you up. Never. No matter how much you seek it, partake in it, indulge in it, you will never be satisfied.

He has created us to be worshipers of Himself. Nothing and no one else will suffice.

Our answer is only found in Christ Jesus. He is:

“the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1:3

So, what do you do when you have sought out people, activities or substances to fill up and satisfy what only Christ can?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Repent. Turn and start seeking Christ. Ask for his help. Read his Word, pray, humble yourself. When you seek and keep on seeking, you will find him. He will answer you. He will help you. In the article “Only Christ Can Truly Satisfy” by Phillip Holmes, Holmes talks about the Promises of Satisfaction:

“The Bible is full of glorious promises of satisfaction for the discontent:

  • “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
  • “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9
  • “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!” Psalm 22:6
  • “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11″ (Read more of this article here)

The answer is always Jesus.

Christ is all satisfying. No other person, thing, idea, method, distraction, feeling, can make such a claim.

Christ is ALL satisfying!

“Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”   -John Piper

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