I don't know if you remember those wooden dolls that fit inside one another? All either identical or very similar but all different sizes.
They're known as "Russian Dolls" but they're actually Matryoshka Dolls. According to the web Encyclopaedia that is Wikipedia, a set of matryoshkas consist of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has in turn, another figure inside of it and so on.
Traditionally the outer layer is a woman dressed in traditional Russian peasant dress while the figures inside could be of either gender. The smallest is usually a baby, made from a single piece of wood.
So I was thinking about these recently, just after the final session of a course I've been doing at my church. The course follows a book called Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the idols we worship and the wounds we carry. The Redemption Course was an 8-week long course that I was not looking forward to because apparently, outside of relationships, I have an issue with commitment.
It's all done now though and it did bring a lot up for me. Stuff I thought I had dealt with: family, marriage, lost babies etc. Each session was like therapy with the Holy Spirit 🙌.
The course ended last week and the question they left us with was, this: if we had everything we had ever wanted - a good marriage/partnership, fantastic career, happy and healthy home, children and bank balance; great health, brilliant friends etc. If we had all of that, would we still want Jesus? And it hit me hard that one because of course as a Christian I want to say no it's not enough, I want to want Jesus. But would I?
One of my favourite scriptures is Psalm 37:4 where it says: 'Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.' I've always believed that. That God wants the best for His children - although that might not look the way we expect it to. But what I've come to learn through this course (spoiler alert), is that God just wants to draw us back to Himself.
As I've mentioned in a previous post, we humans were created to be in fellowship with Him which, in my opinion, explains the feeling we probably all experience of thinking that while we occasionally glimpse life in all its perfection, something is still missing. We read throughout the Bible that in Heaven there will be true perfection - no more tears or sadness but, we also read that there will be no marriage for example, so clearly that isn't one of the things that will be bringing us peace and joy (as I'm sure any married person can ascertain).
Some people have come up with theories to suggest that we need a balance of fulfilment in specific areas of our lives in order to achieve this happiness. Things like health, wealth and a loving family. Isn't it weird then that so many of those people who "have it all" are often rather unhappy while sometimes, those who seemingly have much less, appear more satisfied?
I'm not disputing any theories, or saying that I'm going to sell everything I have in order to seek this peace. I'm just saying that when I thought about this, about whether I just see Jesus as a ticket to getting the things I actually want, I thought about these Russian dolls. And I lined them up in my head and named each of my wants; Health, happiness, joy, passion...and then the mama doll, dressed in Russian peasant dress, I named that one Jesus.
Each of them looked quite pretty by themselves, intricately painted and so much detail. But it wasn't enough. I wanted them all. And then I started picking them up; placing one inside the other until I got to the biggest doll. And I looked at the large doll standing alone, more beautiful and colourful than any of the rest and knew I couldn't walk away with just the other dolls sitting comfortably inside one another. They knew - and I knew - that that wasn't it. There was more. And so I placed my wants into this bigger doll where they all fit perfectly and placed the head on top and this, this set of wooden matryoshka dolls is what helped me to realise that no matter what I'm craving right now, everything I want, everything I could possibly need, is quite literally, in Him.