Sunday, September 1, 2013

What To Do With Desire

When I'm having a conversation, I tend to jump back to former topics without warning. People who spend lots of time with me get used to it, but sometimes I have to explain how it's all connected up here in my brain. Since this little blog feels like one long conversation with you, I'm going to attempt an appropriate segue. Ahem...
Already got My Peace Earrings from Noonday!

You know how I was talking about desire a while ago? Well I've not stopped thinking about it and in my mind, where I view/analyze/envision my life, it's morphed into a key player. I'd never understood its potential for good or realized it's what drives us toward doing or being anything. That makes it kinda vital. And since I dream of doing and being a lot of wonderful things, I figure it's time to stop stuffing it and start letting it. 

So it's got huge potential for good, but suppressing it's a recipe for disaster. In The Journey of Desire, Eldridge explains that if we pretend our desires don't exist, they go under cover, creeping back up when we don't expect  and trapping us in a bad decision. We wrongly conclude that desires are dangerous, when it was actually our denial that set us up for the fall. 

So lots of reasons to open up to desire and start figuring out how God meant for it to work. Jesus asked a sick man, "What do you want?" before he healed him and when people didn't want anything, he couldn't do anything. Apathy must be frustrating to him. While I'm not all the way in apathetic land, I've been waylaid somewhere between there and full-blown desire. This in between is the where I feel guilty about what I want, imagining I should be satisfied with how things are. Then Eldridge startled me with the idea that Jesus thought we didn't desire enough.  

So how do we get back in touch with our desires? We let ourselves feel them. Eldridge suggests we use pleasure like a drug that anesthetizes us, continually numbing ourselves against the pain of our longing. My drug of choice is going out to eat. Not because I even believe it'll satisfy a deep need. I'll just feel okay for a while. That little bit of fun will be enough to distract me for now. 

It'll distract me from knowing I'll never feel at home in a sin-battered place, never realize my full potential. Heck - I can't even create the fantasy worlds that come to me in pretty catalogs. Perfect mis-matchy-styled kids, effortless fitness, perfect romantic moments, even perfect laundry room moments. Everything glowing and soft and inviting. All of it orderly, kept-up and peaceful. It all seems to whisper, "It can be done!" and the chasing and grasping and striving begins anew. When my energy wanes, I give myself a pep-talk about how this one, next task will be the turning point. After it's done, I'll feel okay, more in control and not so behind. 

But while I'm reaching, I do know it's futile. Wise people tell us over and over we'll never arrive. I was unwilling to accept this. "For me, it will be different!"  I imagined it would be depressing to live with knowing I wouldn't realize my desires in my short life. But you know what? I'm relieved. I mean, I don't have to find the job that utilizes every one of my skills? I don't have to like everything my family and friends do? I don't have to live in the house where the kids' play kitchen matches the room it sits in, and ideally never clashes with any of their clothing? I don't have to force it. 

But I do have to coexist with these unfulfilled desires. How do we keep them from gnawing us to death? I'm trying to be more aware, listening to my body when it speaks up saying, "This isn't right...This isn't right either," and I'm trying to say gently, "No, it's not, but it will be." If we'll admit we won't find what we're looking for here and now, we can rest in the hope of how it will be when everything's made new and right. 

On our drive home one day, I had my purse sitting on the passenger's seat and had to slam on the breaks. My purse goes flying to the floor, spilling lip-glosses, phone, and coupons everywhere. Chandler laughs from the backseat, "Mom! Your purse just fell and made a BIG MESS!" No kidding. I started out irritated. And then I remembered. 

No. That's just how it goes around here. Things go wrong; messes get made. It's typical, but not forever. I can live with it because of hope. 

P.S. I get a small commission if you follow this link to buy a book.


1 comment:

  1. Let our desire be for the Desire of All Nations (Haggai 2:7). Thanks for pointing that out to us, Kendra. Nothing else satisfies.