Power of Desire
“Desiiiire”- Remember that song from U2? I’d sing it but this is a blog so singing won’t work. It is amazing how many desires 3 kids ages 6 and under can have. Do I have that many desires? “Can I have bubble gum?” “Can I have another new dinosaur?” “Can I have juice?” “Can my friend come over to play?” “No I don’t want to go to bed.” “No I don’t want to put those shoes on.” Sometimes their desires completely overwhelm me and I find I have the desire to squash theirs. Especially the ones that sound like spoiled, first world problem desires. But are desires bad?
We were at church the other day and our 6 year old refused to go to Sunday school. I was desperate for an hour and a half just sitting without any kids or responsibilities. I really wanted to worship and I started getting afraid that my screaming child was going to sabotage my desires. So my mature adult response was to try to manipulate his desires to match mine. Maybe if I get really upset he will feel bad and do what I want. When that didn’t work I got angry–maybe I can use fear to get him to do what I want….yes this was me the adult not the 6 year old. Finally I gave up and called in Greg to do the negotiations. I came back a few minutes later to hear a very calm discussion between Greg and Sam. Greg is explaining to Sam that sometimes we do something we don’t want to do because we love the other person. It isn’t that Sam’s desire is bad, or that our desire is bad. But sometimes we give up our desire for someone else out of love. So, Sam decided because he loved us he would go to Sunday school. Wow!
Somehow in my 35 years of life I’ve come to believe that it is more noble or even more spiritual to lessen my desire. I think it is in the notion that I must become less so that Jesus can become more in me. That involves diminishing or ignoring my own desires. It’s as if my desires don’t matter and even will get in the way of what God wants. But…
What if I have desire all wrong? Rather than teaching my kids not to desire, or to keep their desires to themselves because there are starving children in the world who don’t even have 1 toy and don’t ever drink juice, I can teach them what to do with their desires. How to be content when they can’t get what they want. How to let go of their desires and let someone else have their desire. Or to be patient because the answer to our desires sometimes takes time.
I’ve been meditating on the Psalms that talk about a person who trusts in God is like a tree that flourishes in the House of the Lord. (Ps 52, 92). FLOURISH…that sounds fun, full of life. I want to flourish and I want my kids to flourish. Then there are the verses where Jesus compares the Father in Heaven to an earthly father who wants to give good gifts to his children…if a child asks for a fish will you give him a stone? No! Jesus also says he has come to bring us life to the fullest, a life of joy. I desire a life of joy and abundance. I want to flourish. Those don’t sound like desire negating, words.
What if God wants to know our desires? What if he asks us what we want and actually cares about our thoughts, dreams and wishes? Not in order to squash them to fit into his mold but because he created us and cares about us and wants to partner with us in bringing his Kingdom. I’m not saying all desires are good. But what if the solution isn’t trying to ignore our desires but rather to acknowledge, understand, bring them before the Lord and just like with our kids, teach them how to articulate, and be okay with deferred desires and even giving up desires out of love, not out of duty. I love giving my kids gifts that they want. I love making a meal that they enjoy. If I love giving good things to my kids how much more must God love it. What if God’s kingdom coming to earth means that God’s children get to flourish and God’s desire is that more of His children around the world get to see desires realized as opposed to desires crushed. What if?
-posted by Alison