'Day One' Blog

Desires – Really Big Ones & the Rest

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This is a “mid-life” conversation. Folks in their twilight years are past these conversations for the most part, either resigned or resolved to “real life.” Folks younger are still grappling with issues that are typically on a lower plane of importance, though they wouldn’t consider them so. But I am having conversations almost every day with people in their 40’s and 50’s who, if they have a truly BIG unrealized desire, are not sure what in the world to do with the depth of it. “Shouldn’t the intensity have waned by now? Is it cruel (in which case I think I might need to blame someone, probably God) that I still feel so strongly? If my head knows better about it, why won’t my heart feel better about it? Should I stop asking God about it? Should I be asking differently?”

“Now hope that is seen
is not hope.
For who hopes
for what he sees?
But if we hope
for what we do not see,
we wait for it with patience.”

A few things keep laying claim to the fore of my mind… 

  • I live in a day and age and in a nation where greed rules as opportunity wanes, perhaps on a deeper level than anytime in history. I am trained and encouraged to consume, to desire, to long for what will satisfy my egocentricity. I am even introduced to God as a possible means to gain what I desire.
  • I live in a very broken world with very broken people. I am broken. But my dreams and desires often don’t take that in to account.
  • The world is not as God intended for it to be, not yet redeemed. I have a tenacious adversary that knows my weaknesses, AND there is a constant internal war taking place between my flesh and spirit.
  • There are desires that stem from different places within me. Some are ALL about me. Some are about someone else. Some are about making a contribution so that a cause might advance in some way. Some are about God and His Kingdom “now and not yet.”
  • I love a God who makes lavish provision for me; who is always at work on my most pertinent point of need (according to His great wisdom); who NEVER withholds from me what I need; who loves to give good gifts to me (as He defines good); who stores up treasure for me as I serve Him; who has grafted me into His family so that I have an inheritance that cannot be quantified by any known system of measuring.
  • As a Christ follower, I’m called to love God with the whole of who I am, and love others as Jesus loves. Everything else hinges on that command. If that call to love does not  PROFOUNDLY and progressively influence my longings, something core is amiss.

If you did the exercise in my last post, The Faces of Desire, it might be interesting to sit with The Lord with that paper in one hand, and slowly move through the points listed above this paragraph. I’m sure you can think of many other things that could be added to the list above… but there is enough there to make this point: There are influences from within me and from without that shape my desires. The more I know about that, the more I will understand how I’ve come to hold tightly to what I do. That is vital information to have. More importantly, I have a God who invites me to place ALL desire into His hand, to let Him take charge of them ALL.

Whatever it feels like to offer them to Him… whatever inner turmoil I might grapple with as I struggle to leave them in His hands, I hold, that until I surrender, I will NEVER approach a state of peace or contentment, nor will I do much good demonstrating love of God or love of people. I cannot, at the same time, be preoccupied with unrealized desires and be present in the moment before me. That’s double-mindedness.

I believe the end of the Age of Grace is at hand. There is Kingdom work to be done. We must field all invitations that would keep us consumed with lesser loves. We must invite Jesus into every nook and cranny of our inner-person, so that NOTHING inhibits me from loving Him and loving others. We must trust Him to keep and if need be transform our deepest, oldest, strongest desires. We are being made into the likeness of Jesus; coming into the fullness of who we are as adopted sons and daughters.

“For to set the mind
on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit
is life and peace.”

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5 Comments

  • Shirley Johnson

    1

    Hi Anne, God has blessed you with a gift of putting your heart in words that He can reach others through. Thank you Father for being blessed by these words. The Holy Spirit has been teaching me a lot about brokenness. Not the kind that comes with the new birth, but the kind that comes from a desire to intimately know Him, a desire to understand all about the oneness we have with Jesus Christ and our Father. Whenever I am uncomfortable in any way, I know that there is something I need to surrender. As we leave all of our desires, needs, rights, and wants at His feet, we are offering to Him our "rags" and we can know without a doubt that in return He will give us beautiful gems, silver and gold to share with our brethren.

    • Anne Barbour

      2

      Thank you Shirley. So very happy to have you along on this exploration. Happier still to have your thoughts in the mix! Peace - Anne

  • Kim McKennett

    3

    Thank you, Anne. This post is timely and encouraging.

  • Nancy

    4

    Well said, Anne. I believe we must ultimately come to a place in our lives where we love and want (or choose to love and want) God's will/desires for us more than we love and want the desires we have for our lives. When we totally surrender to His will and purposes and our desires then take second place to His, it is amazing how He will lessen and/or replace our strong desires with His. It doesn't necessarily mean we will understand the "why," but we will find joy and contentment in knowing we have submitted to His will and that it is for our good and His glory.

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