I like to read a chapter or so just before going to sleep. Usually I read a book with spiritual content, and listen to hear if God has something to say to me.
Lately I have been wrestling with the snail’s pace that certain areas of my life seem to be moving. I have a tremendous desire to just get on with it, to press forward so I can see some results.
I go back to God quite often to check in, to see if I’m still on the right path. I often do this checking by reading the works of others to see if something resonates with me.
A paragraph that I read last night is one that I have probably read a dozen times, but this time it jumped out to me. It was so profound that the book itself might as well have spoken audibly.
And so the first command comes first. God tells us to love him with all our hearts and all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. It’s not a burden but a rescue, a trail out of the jungles of desire. When we don’t look for God as our true life, our desire for him spills over into our other desires, giving them an ultimacy and urgency they were never intended to bear. We become desperate, grasping and arranging and worrying over all kinds of things, and once we get them, they end up ruling us. It’s the difference between wants and needs. All we truly need is God. Prone to wander from him, we finally need all sorts of other things. Our desire becomes insatiable because we’ve taken our longing for the Infinite and placed upon finite things. God saves us from the whole mimetic mess by turning our hearts back to him.
– John Eldredge, Desire, (2007) pg 176.
Of course! How many times have I heard the verse “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, ESV)? Probably well over a hundred.
It sounds so good doesn’t it? Like one of those promises you see on a desktop calendar. The problem is that I just never found it true for me. Sure, I think God is great and all, but I don’t see Him giving me “the desires of my heart.”
I had to come to grips with one brutal fact: I had entered God into a popularity contest. Yes, God is great in my life, but when it comes to the matters of the heart, can I really say that God is first in my life?
Deep down I really just want to rely on myself and my drive to get through all the tough spots. I don’t really want to throw myself at anyone’s feet to ask for help.
But this is precisely the crux of the issue. It really is about our recognizing that we are dependent upon Him.
What never hit me until I read this paragraph last night was that once we decide that God really is all we need in life, once He has the place as the true head of our lives, only then is it safe for God to give us the desires of our heart.
If He gave us our desires without His having the proper place in our lives, then our career or our children or our hobbies could begin to own us.