What did you think about this weeks reading? It was brought out that several were irritated and provoked by chapter 1. There is not a problem with that. We are each unique. We are each uniquely made. There were a lot of topics that I got out of it:God is Glorious and what he created reflects that gloryWe are each meant to be gloriousGod is our sustainer alongside of us; he wants us to be desperate for him. He wants us to learn to turn towards him when we are desperate.We are each meant to be a sustainer to the people in our livesGod wants to be pursued by us. He longs to be loved by us. He needs us. Pursuing God, what does that look like?We are each meant to be pursued. God pursues us.Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a desire to know me and to be my people. They will want me to be their God, and they will turn back to me with all their heart.Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!God yearns to share a life of beauty, intimacy and adventure with us.Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”Beauty is the essence of God. Beauty is what we need in large and daily doses. Beauty speaks – it tells us about GodBeauty says that all shall be wellBeauty invites.Beauty draws you in and holds your attention.Beauty nourishes.Beauty offers us life.Beauty comforts.Beauty relaxes us and gives us peace.Beauty inspires.Beauty causes us to feel like moving forward, continuing on our way, makes us keep going.Beauty is transcendent.Beauty pierces us with longing.Beauty draws us to God.We are each meant to spread our beauty around us, inviting, nourishing, comforting, and inspiring others to God.So, we were meant for these things. Why don’t more of us look like these things?The woman in Genesis was convinced that God was holding out on her. She was convinced that she could not trust God’s heart toward her. She was convinced that in order to have the best possible life, she must take matters into her own hands.We do this. We get afraid. We believe we must take matters into our own hands. We ache with an emptiness that nothing seems able to fill.How do we hide our true selves?How do we control our worlds to have some sense of security?We control our relationships. We refuse to be vulnerable. If we cannot secure our relationships, then we kill our heart’s longing for intimacy. This is so that we will be safe and in control.Often we arrange other people’s lives.I love the CS Lewis quote, “controlling women are the sort of women who live for others. You can tell the others by their hunted expression.”We hide our true selves.Makeup, humor, angry silences, punishing withdrawals, business, dismiss compliments, relinquish major decisions to others.We hide because we are afraid. We take matters into our own hands. We don’t return to our God with our broken and desperate hearts.“Our little indulgences”They are what we give our hearts away to instead of giving them to the heart of God. Hebrews 4:14-16Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.Ask Jesus to continue to free us from our self-protective and fallen strategies.Our father’s eyes: God knows why we do the things we do. He understands us. Look to him now with your confessions. There is mercy in his eyes. He would like not only to forgive us our fallen ways, but also to heal our fear and reveal his love to us in the depths of our soul where we have yet to trust him.If you feel that you need to confess your indulgences, it is best to do so to one or two women privately.