Desire is also what enticed me to indulge in porn, haunts me when I yell at my kids (when all they’re really doing is being kids), and drives me to perfectionism and people-pleasing.
Desire sets me on the path and entices me from it.
Christopher West has said that just as a man and woman’s bodies don’t make sense without the other, so it is with the incredible depth of our desire: It doesn’t make sense apart from God. And Pascal wrote long ago of an “infinite abyss” within every man that can only be filled by God.
And there’s the pinch. Facing an infinite abyss is frightening.
Why would He want us to face the depths of our cavernous desire?
Here’s what I’m learning:
First, allowing myself to experience the depth of my desire brings me face to face with my doubts that Christ really is enough for me. And that’s scary. What if my desires remain unmet in a visible way-can He satisfy me? Will He? I want to face my doubts with Him instead of running from them.
Second, plunging the depths of our desire connects us with every human being on the planet. The older brother could not relate with his younger brother, could not fathom how he could travel to a distant country and squander all he had on loose living. As we face the depths of our own desire, we find common ground with even those whose lives we disagree with most. This allows us to see human beings Christ died for, rather than monsters or aliens we can’t understand.
And most importantly, facing the depths of my desire leads me out to a place where I become acutely aware I cannot satisfy my longings myself, where I realize my utter dependence on God’s mercy and love rather than my ability to control. Again, this can be frightening, but this is ground where we learn to open our hearts even wider to Christ Himself, choosing in faith to let Him fill us.
In this light, it is not an overabundance of desire that leads us astray, but our lack of it.
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