// You are the well that never runs dry. //

On Thursday night, Liberty started a new thing: The Well.

The Well is a college women’s ministry event that happens once a month, in which a thousand or so (1,600 the other night) Liberty girls come together in the Concert Hall on campus to worship, open the Word, and discuss issues that are so, so relevant to our lives and this season we’re in.

If you had asked me beforehand, I really couldn’t tell you why I felt so compelled to go; I truly believe it was simply the Lord saying, “Trust me. Obey me and go. You need to be there tonight.”

So throughout the day, I tried to find someone among my friends who was planning on going to this event. One thing you should know about me: I do NOT like walking into new potentially-social events alone. Especially the kind of events where you know you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of girls who are all there with their friends. (#introvertproblems)

I almost backed out because I couldn’t find anyone to go with. The anxiety was real.

But my wonderful mom reminded me that one of my goals for the semester was to get more involved with the on-campus events and ministries that Liberty offers, and that this could even lead to me making a new friend or two, and that it’s when we step out of our comfort zones that God often speaks to and changes us the most.

So I went, meeting new and lovely people to walk to the music hall with, but leaving them once we got there as I didn’t want to intrude on their group when they were trying to find others from their hall. I took off on my own, and found a seat between two groups of girls in the balcony.

Was it awkward? Yes. Did I feel uncomfortable and out-of-place and alone? Yes.

But almost as soon as the event got started, during the first worship song, the Lord began to speak to my heart.

Because I was sitting by myself in that concert hall, yes, but I most definitely wasn’t alone. Here I was again, doing that same old song and dance in which I looked to humans to fulfill a need that the Lord has never once failed me on. In that moment, as we sang about His presence in this place and with us, I knew He was with me, just patiently waiting for me to remember Him, to realize that I should’ve been seeking Him first instead of worrying over and lamenting my lack of human social support in this situation. As we sang, I closed my eyes and asked Him to forgive me for briefly forgetting His promise to be with me always, and as we continued to worship I felt such a peace in knowing that I wasn’t alone, far from it, and that His presence was so much more than enough.

The conviction that night started early on, and honestly, lasted throughout the whole event.

We talked about and wrote down the things that we cling to instead of Jesus.

Relationships with friends and family.

Accomplishments and the desire for success.

Social media.

Even fiction, at least for me.

All these things and more, while not at all inherently bad– quite the opposite, they can be used for so much good and beauty, and a big part of who we are– have the dangerous potential to be idols, the subjects of our worship even when we don’t realize it. We dare to think that Christ alone doesn’t fully satisfy us, so we look to all these things in addition to Him for satisfaction, and thus we begin to worship them.

We were challenged to ask ourselves these questions: What holds our affections? What drives/motivates me? Where do I get my worth from?

We all know what we should say, what we desperately want to say: In Christ alone.

But if I’m honest with myself– if we’re all honest with ourselves, I think– I know that I’m not living my daily life as if that’s really true for me. It’s so, so easy to say– and even honestly believe– that my worth and affection and satisfaction is in only Christ, but then if I truly examine my life I find that I’m still looking towards these other things rather than Him for fulfillment. “The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the Giver of all good things” (Rich Mullins)– and there are times when it wins in my heart, in my choices and lifestyle. I don’t much like admitting that, but it’s true.

There’s this quote by Francis Chan that’s been coming to mind quite often this month, and again Thursday night: “Never let your public passion exceed your private devotion.”

That’s always been a struggle of mine, even after coming to know Christ as a preteen, and that’s really what Thursday night’s message came down to.

We looked at how Paul’s letters have a recurring theme of emphasis on the mind– “set your minds on things above” (or “affections“, in the KJV) in Colossians 3:1-2, “take every thought captive to obey Christ” in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, and “but we have the mind of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 2:16 [emphasis mine].

That private devotion that Francis Chan spoke of, that looking to Christ alone for satisfaction– it’s an effort of the mind, and it starts with our thought life, with the constant monologue happening within us from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep at night.

A quote I wrote down from Thursday night: “How wholesome, faith-driven, and Christ-centered is the conversation that you have with yourself every day?”

Yikes. I don’t know about you, but I know what my own answer is: Not nearly as much as it should be– in any of the three categories.

Now obviously, we’re humans and we’re broken and we’re sinful, so it’s impossible for us to make every single one of our thoughts holy all the time. But we do get to choose which kinds of thought we dwell on— those that glorify God, or those that don’t.

Another thing I learned that night: that quote by Augustine, the lovely one that says “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee”?

It’s so obvious– I can’t believe I’d been living so blindly to it lately– but our hearts are restless until they rest in Him, not in what we’re doing for His kingdom.

For awhile now, since the beginning of this past summer, I’ve been so restless and weary in feeling like I’m not doing enough for the kingdom of God. I’ve been looking around my life at home and my life at school and asking myself despairingly, What am I even doing of eternal significance here? What am I doing here other than schoolwork and self-care and having fun alone and with friends (all good and important things, yes, but still)? Why am I not doing anything like ___________ [insert the names of at least a dozen people whom I’m unwisely comparing myself to here] is doing? What’s wrong with me? Why am I not taking action?

I’ve been trying to seek the Lord for guidance and peace in this area, and He has graciously given me peace about certain things even when I was only seeking him half-heartedly, even when I was looking to advice from family and friends before listening to His voice.

But– how silly and utterly blind of me!– I had forgotten that when my satisfaction is truly in Christ alone, when I am genuinely seeking and spending time in His presence every single day, that’s when He will give me joy and peace.

And maybe, just maybe, before He wants me to do anything, He just wants me to be— to be still in His presence, to rest in Him and spend time with Him and grow in Him to the point where I can say that my satisfaction is “in Christ alone” and my life actually reflects that.

(Sound familiar? That’s because I wrote on much the same thing over the summer. I’m a fallible human who forgets important lessons sometimes, but is graciously and emphatically reminded of them at just the right time. Also, Philippians 3:12-14. xD)

No, I’m not going to magically transform into a girl who never struggles with placing her affections and worship in the wrong places. My thought life is not magically going to be cleared of all the messy, broken, human stuff. I know myself, and humanity, far too well to hold myself to that impossible standard on this side of heaven.

But my mindset has changed, and my heart has changed, and I can’t help but feel that this is the beginning of something beautiful– not only in me and my own walk with the Lord, but in each of the girls who attended The Well and heard that message. (And maybe, just maybe, in you too– because we all need to hear this every now and then.)

So, so thankful that Liberty is beginning this thing called The Well– and that we are all beginning to realize that Christ truly is the well that never runs dry, and that He is so much more than enough for us, abundant and overflowing and satisfying every need, if only we let Him.

Praying that if you don’t already believe this, that you will begin to. It truly changes everything.

{Love always, Em}

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