The Inside Out Project is all about experiencing real change as we encounter a real relationship with Christ. We’re so proud of our kids as they inspire us to constantly change to be more real and passionate in our relationship with God. Just read this profound excerpt from our oldest sons, Ryan and Joshua’s new book, Firsthand: Dumping Secondhand Religion for the Real God. The book will be released March 19, 2012 by Waterbrook/Multnomah.
Emptiness is a divine gift! So, stop anesthetizing and covering it up and embrace the emptiness you feel. Emptiness will lead you to become desperate for a real faith. It’s that desperation that will drive you into a genuine relationship with the only one who can quench your deepest thirst.
Everyone experiences emptiness; but, not everyone becomes desperate for real fulfillment. Desperation is what you feel when you’re in so much pain or fear, you’ll try almost anything. You know the feeling. Desperation sucks!
It’s a pretty strange dynamic when you think about it—first you feel empty, then you get miserable, then you get desperate, then you change. But, it’s only strange if you’re looking at the ‘what’ and ignoring the ‘why.’ In Jesus’ most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, He has something to say to all of us who are desperate. And it’s good news. He says:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Matt. 5:3 (Mes)
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope? Even though Jesus’ words sound completely backwards, He knew something that very few of us ever stop to think about: I can’t be filled with God until I’m emptied of myself! That’s always the ‘why’ of desperation in God’s plan. Before we can find fulfillment, we must feel the emptiness. The reason God allows the emptiness is so I’ll become desperate for a full relationship with Him.
And God has to get our attention. For example, He uses fear to wake us up. Your Mom tells you your Dad is going to be moving out—their marriage looks like it’s over. Your doctor tells you that goofy looking mole on your leg may be cancerous. You find out that your military husband just got his papers to be deployed overseas.
These things wake us up. They pull us out of the doldrums of a life of safety we have created for ourselves and instantly remind us we need more of God than we had before.
If fear is God’s wakeup call, then desperation is His fire alarm. Your father passed away after a battle with cancer. The love of your life left you for someone else. You lost your job and have no idea how you’ll pay for school. You’re at the end of your rope. Maybe you’re contemplating making a noose.
But, if we’re willing to stop running away, desperation can put you and me in motion toward a real, personal faith. At those moments, we drop flimsy and untested hand-me-down beliefs that don’t really fit us anymore anyway. We dump empty religion and reach for something real.