For so long I have treated my desires as hindrances to God’s will.
Little did I know, they are the very catalysts to completing it.
We just have to answer to this one question:
“What do you want?“
Pink hardcover journal tucked in the closet bookshelf, now open on my desk. Monday, March 26th, 2012. Morning devotion.
“What do you want?” God asked me for the first time that day.
“Choose, choose. Choose because you want to, not because you know it’s the right thing to do.”
I blurted out “a husband” as girls are wont to do. He replied by asking me for my standards, I did a lovely list (which was good for me, because before that I just blobbed “your will, God” and was too afraid to admit what I admired). Then Jesus asked me to surrender him. Okay, okay, I knew how to do that. “…all that I want is found in you!…” I proclaimed enthusiastically . And then…
He asked me again.
“What do you want?”
You want to know my answer, written in neat little mechanical pencil strokes?
“I don’t know!” I exasperatedly scribbled. “I feel like there’s nothing I truly want and if there’s something I want I’m too scared to admit because I’ll have to lay it down at the Cross.”
Don’t we find ourselves at this point? Holy Spirit’s little poker stick prods the dormant embers of our desire– and often we puke out what we think is “right”, or pretend we don’t know. Both responses are far easier to offer, compared to being honest with our hearts and awakening.
“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead,” the Spirit wrote to the church of Sardis (Revelation 3:1, ESV), and the haunting principle still sneaks in today. If you asked me whether I felt alive two years ago, I would have said “of course!”, yet the very fact of my inability to answer the question “What do you want?” urges me to admit I was dead.
“What do you want?” is a question that appeals to your desire. And your desires and emotions are directly connected to your heart. What use is the body without the heart? If you don’t know what your whole soul longs for– not your ridiculously overused “Biblical” answer– but you… if you don’t know that, how can you claim you are alive?
Jesus was outrageous. It’s like He carried around this giant poker stick built for stoking fires, pointed it straight at an individual’s heart– and prodded them to ask Him to give them anything they wanted. The trick was that they needed to figure out what it was. Do you want healing? Restoration? How about identity? Satisfaction? Belonging? Each person had a unique longing that He alone could fill, all coming down to love.
Yet where did all of these desires come from? Is it just because we are human that we feel so needy?
And we come back to the foundation of our faith, the words of Jesus on the night before He died for us, the crescendo of longing. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” –John 17:24 (ESV)
Father, I desire. He desires! Can you join with me in awe of that statement for one moment, in the chaos of dark blue titles of Facebook posts and texts and paperwork and flashing lights? “Father, I desire”.
Wait, so what does He want? I could tell you to just go back to the verse but I’m not going to do that. Come with me, back to my pink journal, to words He said to me to that day in 2012…
“Kayla, I desire you. More than anything. I don’t want to force you into doing anything just because you know it’s the right thing to do. That’s called positive manipulation. That is not freedom.”
“I love you. It makes so much more sense now. You want me.“
“Yes, I do. And I love you.”
It’s simple and as grand as that.
So don’t be afraid of your desire. Nor be afraid of the freedom to choose.
The Lord who put those longings inside of you is the very one who will fulfill them.
You just have to start answering the question,
“What do you want?”
He wants you. That’s His will– so what are you going to do about it?
Photos: Sunrise in Tiarei, Tahiti. July 2013.