“There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake… Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.”
From Bury: in a marvelous twist, He whispered words to my heart that resonated deep within my soul, words that shattered every notion I had and launched me into just about the greatest adventure I have ever been on:
“Ask of me what you desire.”
When the God who created the entire universe with mere releasing of words asks you what you want, who are you to deny Him of the answer? But at the time, I was too dumbfounded – I was ready to let go, which I felt God was asking from me, and here He was telling me to tell ASK HIM. Talk about a plot twist. And I wasn’t quite ready to discuss it with Him just yet, so I put it off.
But no matter how hard you try, you just couldn’t run away from God. In the days that I avoided talking with Him about my heart, He started reviving back my love and adoration for kids. It’s not that I lost it, it’s just that it got overshadowed by so many other things. However, God always has a way of bringing out what He has placed in.
One night on a drive with my brother, we started discussing our plans for the future. The first thing out of my mouth? A foundation for kids. It has been my dream for the longest time but it wasn’t something I expressed. I’ve been repeatedly told I can enter any field I wanted and I would flourish there. I graduated university at the age of 18, there are limitless possibilities I could enter into. To be honest though, I didn’t care a bit about material success. I see it as a means to my goal, to get the platform and resources I would need to be in a place of influence to actually establish a foundation.
And so after processing what just burst forth from my heart along with what I already knew I wanted, I did tell Him. I confessed to Him the deepest depths of my heart (as if He didn’t already know). But I guess there’s just something in confessing, in the actual telling. It’s like when you already know your friend’s secret but you want him to tell you himself anyway. And so I opened my heart to Him.
Then the most amazing thing happened.
God started renewing my desires, adding to it a fresh vision, cutting back my selfish intentions. He started replacing my wants with His, and I have come to find that my desires have always had a tinge of hint of His. The very core idea of my desires haven’t changed, they have just been enlarged and enhanced. Before, the motivation to find fulfillment of them was my ultimate happiness. Now, the root motivation is fulfillment of my calling and God’s glory.
All desires that have been placed in my heart were all intertwined with each other in some way. For example, a desire for someone, a desire for a foundation, a desire to witness God’s glory mightily on my behalf = A desire to advance God’s kingdom on earth and see amazing miracles happen alongside someone special. As I mentioned in Bury, ultimately a desire to be part of something bigger and to share it with someone who loves me almost as much as he loves God.
However, the manifestations of desires that have been placed by God could actually dishonor Him. For example, one can desire love but being unaware of the actual root the longings come from, instead of turning to God, one would turn to earthly relationships and feed off on lust and temporary satisfaction. There’s a reason why adultery is so rampant these days. Picture it: a married man desires for affirmation he doesn’t get from his wife, a young lady longs for love and acceptance, they don’t look to God about it – it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. We are so unfamiliar with our desires that we are unable to distinguish the real thing from cheap imitations. And so we give in for a temporary taste of what we were truly made to have. And since it just won’t be enough, it becomes a vicious cycle.
“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Every decision we make is born out of a desire in some way, and we should walk in awareness of that to be able to bring out the full and true potential of the desires placed in us. God-centered desires are our compass to our calling. A certain quote goes “our destiny is where our deepest desire and the world’s greatest need meet.”
God has placed eternity and perfection in our hearts, and our lives we have been scrambling for such paradise – as G.K Cherston calls “the Divine Discontent.” He wrote “the true happiness is that we don’t fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way.” Pause and think with me for a moment here. Think of the time you experienced your worst broken heart. Think of the circumstances that brought about it. Think of the emotions that rose within you – was it not anger, an outburst that this isn’t the way things were supposed to go, this isn’t right. That’s because, as Eldredge had discussed in his book, the moments we wish would last forever reveal to us that they were meant to. The tragedies that shake us to the innermost of our beings that make us cry out reveal the truth that it really isn’t the way things were supposed to be. We were created to experience every day a world of beauty and adventure.
“I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you – the secret which hurts so much that you take revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence.”
As you examine your pains, you will find that they too point to your desires, as your desires point the way to our calling. Because of this awareness now, there will be opposition – internally and externally. You will hear yourself and others convince you to take a step back and just live with the norm. You will receive attacks from the enemy trying so hard to make you stay within the parameters of a mediocre Christian. We have confined Christianity today to as what Willard calls “the gospels of sin management.” It is more or less a mixed system or knowledge and performance. And if that’s all there is to it, what makes the way we live our lives different from the Pharisees? “Know the right thing, do the right thing” – is this what Jesus called life to the full?
The thing is, the fiercest attack the enemy has placed towards Christians is not sin or temptation, it’s apathy. He has made us believe that there is no higher aspiration for the human soul than to be nice. I cannot even begin to tell of how I personally boxed myself into the label “Good Christian girl.” My ultimate aim before, no matter how it wasn’t truly the grandest desire of my heart, is to live a quiet life with family, friends, and ministry. I’m not saying this lifestyle isn’t from God, some people are actually called to this. But personally, I know I’m not. I just wanted to fit the requirements.
And of course, why wouldn’t he deceive us like this? Can you imagine the onslaught Christianity could bring if we were to be filled with passion and started storming the gates of hell as we should? If we came alive and chased after God-ordained desires? Go back to Jesus’ temptation in the desert, it wasn’t actually Satan tempting Him to sin. No, he was tempting Jesus to give His heart away. The same way he’s trying to steal ours from right under our noses.
The hope is to stay in the background away from the fire, and wait for someone or something to come along and grant us immunity from these difficulties and sacrifices, someone to offer reassurance, saying perhaps, “take the safe way, not the way of passion and creativity, as the path to your destiny, the life you desire.” … But we cannot neglect our inner fire without damaging ourselves in the process.
So, we now know and acknowledge what makes us come alive. Yes, we bring them to God. Yes we have recovered our desires – but are we equipped enough to handle these precious, sensitive, fragile artifacts we’re not quite familiar with anymore? There is obviously bound to be pain, there is bound to be doubt. That’s why it’s a journey – it doesn’t happen all at once. That’s why everybody doesn’t embark on this exploration, because it will dig up past hurts and bring in new ones; it will be uncomfortable and there will be sacrifices.
Through the heat of the sun, we push through. But storms can come in and wash away all our progress. And so what happens then?