Graves of Craving


I wrote this post, and saved it. That's what I do whenever I write about whats on my heart. Just in case over a few days I learn more or realize how wrong I am (so many a post never gets posted for that reason!) This week I went to a women's bible study and it was on a topic similar to what I was writing about here. With thoughts affirmed,  I decided to share this post from several days ago. Hopefully you can resonate.

In Numbers, The Israelite people are travelling, just freed from years of slavery. They are finally FREE. But they don't have meat. They have food, but they don't have the food they want. While wandering in the desert, they grumble. 

Numbers 11:1-4 

And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. ...... Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!

If you were to keep reading, you'd find that God gives them TONS of meat. Imagine a square with the width and length of a days journey and 18 Inches high. All Quail.

 31 Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits[b] above the ground. 32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers.[c] And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. 34 Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah,[d]because there they buried the people who had the craving. 

Then he strikes them down while they're still eating and they die.  The Israelite people call that place Kibroth Hataavah meaning graves of craving. 

Graves of Craving.

This might seem odd that this is the passage that I'm seeing my heart through. But its been really getting me this week. So many times I do the exact thing that the Israelites do. What I crave often times trumps what I need. And I get angry at God for not providing that craving.  Its a fortunate thing that God has yet to strike me down for all the thousands of ways I've taken his obvious blessings, set them aside, ignored them entirely (Like my own freedom, and all the ways he's provided) and demanded more. Yes, you've given me food and protection and family, heat, clothes, salvation, & freedom, but I want proverbial meat! 

For me, the meat I crave looks like:
  • more convenience in my days
  • an easier baby
  • a husband that pays attention to me every single second
  • a better body
  • more rest
  • a clean house
  • finances being a non-issue
  • perfect health
  • awesome self-confidence in staying at home
and my list continues.

This then translates to my speech. So easy to hide how good God is in blessing when I'm so focused on how inconvenient my to do list is. So easy to ignore how God has poured out on us when I have to refrain from the things I want because they don't fit the budget. So easy for me to be angry at God the minute sickness hits, even when I've been healthy for most of the year. Its often preached that we need to not only celebrate God's blessings while things are good. But in bad times too. I find that my issue isn't celebrating him during difficulty-well at least not nearly as much as it is in me being authentically thankful to him at all.

So many ways I belittle his blessings. To say we don't live in that nice of a place (we have crazy neighbors! Lack of sunlight! we live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota.). Our marriage has its trials a plenty (we sin against each other plenty.)  Eowyn needs more attention than other babies. and on and on and on. This blog does a great job of catching all the good stuff. But outside of it, I often feel the need to qualify my life: "My life has its hardships! Big ones! That Suck! Really Bad!" As if, by qualifying I'm letting the world (and myself)  know God isn't blessing me too much, and I have it hard too. I then take that same attitude to God. 

Why do I do this? Easy. Because I'm sinful. Because I've felt disqualified for being positive. Because I have a twisted mindset that if I'm too thankful God might take it away. Because I care a lot of what others think. Because I want more. Because I've don't want to be belittled in my trials in life, so I make sure to be extra aware of how hard I have it (which really, is a joke.)  Because I want to both be accepted by man, and be blessed by God. Because I don't understand blessing.

The Israelites were in the desert. They had no home. They had food provided for them daily-no savings, very little materials. former-slaves.  But they were still blessed by God. God was providing everything for them minute by minute. They had food. They were safe (despite when it seemed they weren't). They were free. But they had to rely on him daily for everything and all they had to bank on were his promises. 

When I'm in that very situation, do I consider myself blessed? 


But I am blessed when I'm in that. And despite all the created things I so often hold on to, that really is exactly where I am now. 

How faulty my thinking is by assuming its Ben's Job that gives us security, or its my parenting that determines the way my kid acts. Or that its others that give affirmation of who I am.

What I'm realizing is this attitude is slowly robbing me of seeing blessing for what it is entirely. It's worshiping creation and twisting the blessing to a point that when blessing really comes I don't even recognize it, or who its from. Because the package it came in was a little dirty, or the timing was a little inconvenient for me, I refuse the gift and often the giver.. 

Hear my heart, we authentically struggle. We all do. Community is meant to be a the place that we can struggle and rejoice together. Our struggles need to be affirmed by others, not belittled. God intended for us to be able to connect and grow and be encouraged together. There is REAL struggle that you and I experience. We don't have to pretend otherwise. Times of difficulty don't need to be masked with a sunshiny, seeing the bright side of life mask. Perhaps my readers are currently going through HARD times. Please don't belittle that after reading this post. If there's one thing I've learned its that putting on masks and pretending something is what its not can be devastating. It leads us even farther away from each other and Jesus. I appreciate it most when gal friends state plainly their struggles, and I can state plainly mine. Some of my most rewarding and blessed conversations came when I plainly put "I hate that X is happening and I don't see where God is in any of this." Its in those moments I need to be encouraged and me making it less than what it was would destroy me. I need you for those times. And I will will be there with you to mourn, and pray, and encourage through those times when they come .

But here, I'm talking about something else. I'm talking about how I see the good in my life. The question I've been asking myself before sharing stories is: Am I sharing this because I need encouragement? To be heard? To celebrate? To Praise the gifter? Its sad for me to recognize how often it isn't any of those. It's solely to let people know I'm uncomfortable and I don't like it.

I think all in all this whole post is to say that I'm finding a deeper level of authenticity in my speech and heart. I'm discovering the difference between being sensitive to others and being sinful with others. Between sharing and complaining. Between mourning, and just finding something to be grumpy about. I'm learning how much my words dictate my hearts next step.  And how praising God and his blessing is an intentional pursuit that if I stop doing, I'll turn acidic and be a grumbling woman. 

Praise Jesus for not leaving me the way I am.

Thanks for listening.

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