Misplaced Affections

Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

Have you ever felt those moments where you don’t want to exert energy to be noticed by people? To be isolated and alone. At the same time, the embracing feeling of loneliness sparks a desire to be reached out to, even with the paradox of running away?

In those moments, I wrestle a lot with how to act under that desire for acceptance amidst the comfortable loneliness.

Currently, I’m fasting for church as part of leadership, and I’ve come to recognize that when I’m lacking food, rather than becoming hangry, I become more lethargic and very emotionally/spiritually down.

I become unwilling to spend much energy and it leads me to a sense of purposelessness and some aspect of loneliness.

Why does this happen? Why do I act this way not only when I fast, but when my wants and needs are not met?

I recognize my heart has many wants and needs. Things like fullness from food, a substantial amount of likes/comments for a social media post, enough sleep, and recognition from my work. When a certain amount of these are not fulfilled, my security breaks down and a whole set of insecurities arise.

I become plagued with questions that I don’t normally ask. Do people care? Is what I’m doing worth my time? How do I get out of these insecurities? Should I get out of them, or enjoy the selfishness of it?

Additionally, desires that don’t make sense become prominent. Things like wanting acceptance while feeling lonely amidst a group of people, walking a different path to avoid the same scenery, and not waving to friends passing by because of the fear of rejection whilst wishing them to be the first to act.

And sometimes, irritation and frustration can ignite easier.

My mental fortitude becomes more vulnerable to thoughtless thinking. My heart yearns to share the turmoil and emotions. In the midst of wallowing in my own state of self-deprecation, I want to cry out.

But as I reflect upon all these things, I know that there is a deeper reason behind all these thoughts.

In those times, what I desire are affections that are misplaced.

Living as a human in a physical world where physical and psychological things have much impact, I cling to things that have a temporary impact. Things that will only last for so much. My expectations and needs look towards a very finite timeline.

I end up falling over because of how easily things in this world fail for me.

When my affections are placed in the world, they will always be unsatisfied.

What I must cling to, affections-wise, are not things that last for 10, 20, 50 years, or even a lifetime. Those are only an atom’s worth of water in the vast ocean of time the world has to offer.

I must cling to something that lasts forever.

That something is Christ.

The Gospel. The cross. The death on that hill and the life found in the empty cave.

The reality that I am a child of God. That I have an inheritance in the Promised Land of heaven. That I am no longer chained by the things of the world, but I can live for something that is beyond my understanding.

I must learn what trusting in God is.

Trusting not by saying or knowing the concept, but by executing it with action.

Trusting not in the world, but in something not of this world.

Trusting even if it means I must not rely on my emotions/feelings, which have defined and validated my experiences for 21+ years, and throw them away in the midst of a storm in order to enter blindly into the constantness of God.

5 Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, he will make your paths straight
- Proverbs 3:5–6

It’s hard to trust in God though.

Not because His promises don’t make sense, or He’s not good (He’s far above good!).

But because He’s not here.

Not tangible.

Not visible.

God is not in the flesh to confirm to me what He says with verbal words.

I can’t see His miracles played out from the Bible in a modern way.

I can’t feel His love through a warm ambient embrace.

I can’t experience Him physically always being there for me.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t put faith in something not visible.

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
- Romans 8:24–25

That is what hope is.

Hope is not found in what is known and seen, but what is unseen.

And it requires a lot of things to have hope in the midst of learning to trust:

  • Patience
  • Love
  • Faith
  • Joy amidst suffering
  • Sanctification (in which I fall and get up with His strength)
  • Compassion
  • Courage

And so much more…

It is a lot to face, handle, and hold onto.

But it’s worth it.

I learn to put my trust in God. Learn to find hope in Him.

And I know through that, even if I’m fasting and feeling down or getting sidetracked with misplaced affections, He will faithfully bring me back to Himself.

Cling on Him, and only to Him.


Thank you for reading this post.

Living out life in Christ is not a one-time thing, but a continual process, and I still find myself asking many questions during my faith, even after I have thought I have found the answer to them. Things like:

What does it mean to trust in Christ? What does it mean to hold onto nothing but Jesus?

This song reminds me through worship what it means to trust, and in sharing it, I hope it is a reminder to you of what it means to hold onto nothing but Jesus.


Intro
I am so in love with You
There is no one else for me
I am so in love with You
There is no one else for me
Verse 1
I lean not on my own understanding
My life is in the hands
Of the Maker of Heaven
Chorus
I give it all to you, God
Trusting that You’ll make
Something beautiful out of me
Bridge
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open
Outro
There’s nothing I hold
There’s nothing I hold
There’s nothing I hold
There’s nothing I hold