Desire to Desire
In the world of the internet and social media, the word desire is often linked with self-absorbed activities: building a striking image, acquiring more wealth or having a rich sex life without regard to faithfulness.
And yet, desire is a rich spiritual word. It is used many ways in the Bible, mostly about God’s desires for us. For example, God expressed the desire that we truly know and understand God’s kindness, justice and goodness rather than trying to:
–appear to be the smartest person in the room
–have a magnetic personality or incredible strength or
–have the most glamourous, luxurious possessions (Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, Jeremiah 9:23).
We who are made in God’s image can understand desire as our spiritual benefit. One of the most important questions we can ponder is: What do I want? What do I really want? Not just the shallow cravings of today. In the long-run, what do I want? I believe that our truest desires reflect God’s desires in us and for us.
One problem is our tendency to cover up our true desires with shallow wants and fashionable whims. Do I want fewer wrinkles or delight in my eyes that tells people I care about them? Do I want to work ridiculously long hours to impress clients or provide a stable living for my household? Do I desire to win the argument or work for a solution that benefits everyone? Do I pray to get a convenient parking place or to encounter God as the companion of my life?
C. S. Lewis said, “It would seem that 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 puddle because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” So instead of setting aside our desires, we can pay attention to them.”
The way to discover our truest desires is to spend time with our questions, our frustrations, our fears, and our dreams in conversation with God. I did this with my current teaching load that frustrated me. In prayer, I faced my dilemma and made a courageous decision to change my position. The Holy Spirit helps us sift through our supposed wants until all that remains is what we really long for.
God invites us to pay attention to what we truly desire and remain in conversation with God. Try asking God questions like these and see what comes to you throughout the day or week.
What are my greatest desires for the kind of person I’m becoming?
What parts of my work life meet my deeper desires?
What do I desire most for my physical body and its health?
Who do I desire to be a blessing to in this world?
Grace and peace,