The Faces of Desire
“For the desires of the flesh
are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit
are against the flesh.”
Some desires come to us very undeveloped…like dreams or possibilities that we have not really thought through. I have a picture in my mind of a little child mesmerized by a newly discovered wild-flower as she walks in the woods. She presents it immediately to her Father who is beside her, assuming He knows all about this delicate discovery, and she allows Him to guide the experience. What He says about it will determine its value to her; its importance to her. That’s what I’d like to see happen as I go about discovering in my own journey, quick to process with The Lord; eager for Him to influence my heart’s response to whatever might capture my senses.
Some desires come into my consciousness very developed, already packaged, addressed, and ready to mail. In truth, they have been forming in my subconscious for any length of time, maybe a lifetime. Many things would have contributed to that formation: culture, environment, family values, trauma, life experiences, religious influence, etc.. From the moment I’m aware, those formed desires are greatly in need of sifting by the Lord as I begin to “try them on.” There will be many hidden components that only God knows about, bits that I will not be able to discern for myself. I will have expectations surrounding that desire that I’m unaware of. God must have a chance to speak to me about them before they solidify and become cemented and placed in my must-have category.
I believe God would have me be a woman of great desire. I believe He would have me dream, perhaps bigger than I ever have. I believe He would have me long for vibrancy and excitement and thrills in this life. AND… I believe He would have me offer those longings to Him… not to squish, but perhaps to enhance and/or calibrate, so that they might realize their fullest expression. And in some cases, I’d have to be willing for them to head to the trash heap if they’re found to have no redeeming value.
I also believe there is a balance; a tempering, so that those desires walk side-by-side with the reality of the Kingdom work before me every day. There is a harmonious experience to be had where fullness accompanies service; and where discovery walks alongside duty. When I am connected to Jesus and He is directing my steps, the wild-heart of discovery and creativity lives even as I walk out what I might otherwise categorize as pedantic.
If life is about love of God and love of people, then my desires (all of them), must ultimately be surrendered to the Lord to be kept, nurtured, and altered if necessary. Only in His safekeeping can they find expression as He intends. I must believe He is a good God, who does not withhold riches from His children. I am, in fact, wealthy beyond measure as God would measure wealth. Am I willing to allow Him to re-form/con-form/in-form my desires to align with His heart?
Here’s a practical measure you can take with me if you want to. Pull out a piece of paper and draw a line down its center. Title the left column, “Unformed Desires” and the right column “Formed Desires.” On the left side of the page allow yourself to honestly articulate any dreams you carry… creative, wild, impossible… still undeveloped and raw. In the other column write about desires that are defined for you, that are yet unrealized or only partially so. Don’t be in a hurry. Then bring them quietly before the Lord. Sit with Him and see if He might not want to speak to you about what is there.
Honesty is critical. There is no use pretended you do not desire something you do, or maybe, more importantly, covering the emotions linked to those desires. They are (all of them, including the ones you are unaware of), already known to God and He invites you into His council, without condemnation. I suppose the end result (which I assume will require a lifetime), is that both columns would eventually become Con-formed Desires, at which point you might call them Godly Desires. I also wouldn’t be surprised that some of them blossom & grow beyond your imagination. God is infinitely more creative and can dream immeasurably more than we can. I would love to know what happens if you’d care to share.
“O Lord, all my longing
is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.”
“For He satisfies
the longing soul,
and the hungry soul
He fills with good things.”
Hi friend. Have been gone for a week and just got your post. I will sit down with a sheet of paper and make my list. As I continue to get older, i find I have fewer and fewer desires but still!!!!!!!! I have seen so many times in the past , the Lord in His grace and mercy dash my dreams in order to replace them with His, so that now I seem to want mostly His dreams. That is not to say that with some time and honesty I will still see those things that need to be placed firmly in His hands. Love you, Jackie