Dear ones, we have been sold a lie. We have been told that our desires—the things we want and crave—are the defining element of who we are. We’ve been told that our desires are inescapable and that therefore we must appease them if we are to have a happy, fulfilled life.
But this is not true. It is a trick of Satan designed to get us to live in slavery—slavery to our own longings. Please hear me—we are all infinitely complicated creatures, beautiful in our complexity and intricacy and mystery—and we are made to feel desire. Desire is good and amazing and it can lead us to many good things. But it is not our master. Following our desires has consequences—sometimes good and sometimes bad—and we have the ability to choose which of those desires to follow, which of those consequences to allow into our lives.
Our culture tells us that the goal of life is to figure out what we want and then to do whatever it takes to get the object of our desire. But can you see how this leads to a life of unfulfilled chasing after unattainable satisfaction? Our desire is never satisfied. It isn’t supposed to be. Our desire is supposed to remind us that we were made for more than this life. As C. S. Lewis says, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Our desire is intended to lead us to God, the only one who is capable of fulfilling us—because an insatiable desire, which we all have, can only be fulfilled by an infinite being. As David says to God, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). Only in God can these ever-present longings in us be satisfied.
So, in the meantime, let’s not let ourselves become slaves to our longings. Let’s not expect to have them all fulfilled in this lifetime. Because what that really leads to is addiction. Whether it’s workaholism or over-eating or drinking too much or exercising incessantly or yielding to our sexual desires or sleeping too much or being an adrenaline junkie or any of the other intense longings that you may feel, you are NOT required to submit to it. You have been given the choice to rule your desires or to let them rule over you. You are more than just the longings that you feel. Your desire is not your identity.
Please leave comments if you’d like to have a conversation about any of this. I’m hoping for greater freedom for all of us in this area.