- Religion and Philosophy
Living With Unfulfilled Desires
I know of no one who can believably assert, "All my desires have been met." Mine sure haven't. I suspect that neither have yours. In our youth the sting was met with, "Well, I've got time yet to go on that trip or finish that project." And we really believed it. At middle age we learned that despite the growing consciousness of unmet desires we'd better not admit it. That's negativity. The world admires (read "hires") the positive can-do people. No one likes to be around a winer. So the challenge becomes, "How to live joyfully and productively and harmoniously knowing that long held desires will not materialize?" And it gets a little harder when it appears that everyone else's desires are being met.
What do you desire?
Bet you had to think hard on that one? I've found I'm not very good at articulating my desires, even to myself. Nevertheless I'm quite ready to cop an attitude that signals unmet longings? Wonder why that is? I suspect that somewhere along the line I picked up a message, and believed it, that while it's ok to have needs and seek to meet them; fulfilled desires are a luxury that prudent people learn to live without. That message sounds godly but comes straight from hell. If the enemy can't dominate you altogether, he seeks to rob you of the blessing God has in store for his own.
Intimacy and Impact
Did I hit the mark? You desire intimacy and impact to some significant degree. Intimacy is that sense of knowing someone else and being known by that someone else... and feeling safe and at peace. Impact is a sense that you make a difference to someone; that your presence and service actually enrich and thrill others and make the world a better place. This isn't original from me. I learned it form the good folks at the Barnabas Center in Charlotte, NC. They, in turn, learned it from the Scriptures.
Think back to the account of God's creating humankind. Remember, He's embedded his own image in us. That means that there's a sense in which we are more like God than like other animals around us. It's the image of God in us that gives us the capacity for intimacy and impact. God created Adam and made him his CEO of the rest of creation. I'd call that impact. Wouldn't you? As for intimacy, God expected Adam to be his friend. There would be a shared vision for the the world, a mutual delight in its fruit and a partnership in countless projects yet to be revealed. But God understood that the man needed someone he could see and hug to feel real intimacy. "It is not good that the man should be alone", He declared. This, after everything else was deemed perfect. You know the rest of story. The woman God created was a perfect complement to the man. Together they would enjoy intimacy with God and with each other.
Something got screwed up
A better way was suggested to our forefathers. "Strike out on your own, ignore the limits God has put on you, feast on what He's forbidden! That way you'll have full knowledge of good and evil." Worked! Didn't it? Now millions of generations later the one thing we all have in common is shattered dreams.
God wants it more than you!
Wants what? He wants to see your desires fully satisfied. He delights to see you enjoy intimacy in marriage, close friendships, communion with others of like mind and heart and with himself. He still has plans for you to make an impact. He designed a way for sinful human beings to be restored to him. It cost Him a lot.But rather than ramming it down sinners' throats; He entrusted it to a few. How's that for impact! God has given those who know him responsibiltiy to represent him to those who don't.
No wonder God assures us in Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desire of your heart.
Which comes first?
Your delight in the Lord or his granting your desires? They go hand in hand and it's up God, which comes first. Sometimess, He'll surprise you with some benefit only He could have pulled off. That kindles in you a thankful heart that seeks to know Him more. You find yourself delighting in Him and his ways. Your desires are refined and shaped by the values you and God share. It's not long before what delights you is what God wants to give you, nothing more and nothing less.