Delicately Crave Depth

Earlier this year, God gave me the phrase, “Delicately crave depth.” I thought it was beautiful, but didn’t know what the context was surrounding it or how to interpret it.

These past six months have been sweet, but not short of sorrows, let-downs and confusion. I have the tendency to let emotions become all consuming. I think it’s really cool that God gave me a capacity to care so deeply, but sometimes this trait can almost feel debilitating. I don’t just feel my own emotions, but also take on others’ emotions and burdens to a point where I am often entirely too overwhelmed.

I love that empathy has been a trait drawn to the forefront in my life, but getting to the point where I can love people and be vulnerable while still drawing boundaries for my own wellbeing can prove to be challenging. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus exemplifies what it looks like to show up physically, emotionally, and mentally for those who are in need of care while also showing a healthy regard for His own limits.

As humans, we have limits in the nature of our being. Jesus also encountered these limits in His time on earth, and He knew that His needs needed to be met to be able to give of Himself to others. Throughout the gospels, He retreats into solitude, rests, and fills His body and mind with sustaining food. In order to maintain healthy boundaries, one of our first steps can be entering a rhythm of life that allows us to be replenished and refreshed by God.

I notice that when I feel with people, I try to process the events that led up to their emotions and then attempt to determine what the aftermath of their current situation will entail. I want so desperately for others not to fear the uncertain, and so others’ circumstances dance around in my brain as I lay in my bed late at night.

In Mark 14:32-36, Jesus is with the disciples at Gethsemane before His crucifixion. He says to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” As they continued walking through the garden, He fell to His knees and cried out to God saying, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus knew of the pain and suffering that was going to befall Him the next day, yet He chose to surrender entirely the outcome to God. In making this choice, Jesus gave up worrying about His circumstances and resisting the path laid before Him simply saying, “but what you will.”

I know in my own life, surrendering every aspect of the outcome isn’t the instinctive decision for me to make. But how significantly would the way we care for others be transformed if we trusted God with all of the outcomes for both ourselves and the people we feel with?

I think this phrase, “Delicately crave depth,” is one that longs for a balance and an introduction of boundaries. I understand it to mean we should desire the beauty of relationships we were created to experience, but we should do so in delicate consideration for our limits as humans. I don’t think it means we have to step back and distance ourselves and love from afar either physically or emotionally. Instead, we can channel the depth of emotion we may feel into prayerfully asking for guidance on the situations in our lives and giving every aspect of the outcomes to God—saying over and over again, “but what you will.”

Author | Emma Kate Shelton




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