I have been talking about desire a lot over the past week with people. Whether it's been working with someone about their anger issues, helping a young person develop his/her music in Nashville, coaching a college graduate about financial budgeting, or walking through a job transition with a friend, identifying desires helps us get to the heart of the matter at hand.
I love the U2 song, Desire (if you don't have the album RATTLE AND HUM, there's an Amazon link below). There's a phrase that gets at desire's essence:
She's the dollars
She's my protection
Yeah, she's the promise
In the year of election
Oh sister, I can't let you go
Those of us who are honest with ourselves and those who work with others, know how desire can overrun any good intention. It can smash the best of our disciplined efforts (before they're well-established). The military tries to “break” recruits of their desire to give in, to be comfortable, to isolate from a fellow soldier, and to resist direction. We civilians don't spend much time “breaking” from our desires. In fact, if we're honest, we spend a ginormous amount of time PURSUING and CELEBRATING them. And we watch media that reinforces the pursuit.
And all the while our hearts are being shaped…. to pursue what we desire. In fact, we'd be happy if we were as rich in pleasure as King Solomon was. But we forget that he wasn't happy and that the arrival at “more” actually leaves us with less joy (as research on materialism has consistently shown since the early 1970s). Solomon reported to us his perspective:
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecc: 2:10-11, NIV)
For Solomon, he had to align his desires with a GOOD-ness that wasn't of the world of “more.” He had to draw closer to a version of GOOD that looked like wisdom, love, justice, compassion, mercy, and truth. He concluded:
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil. (Ecc. 12:13-14)
We find our true self when we meet ourselves at the point of desire. It's there that we also find our desire to rebel against the work that God wants to do in our lives.
So, it's time to do a bit of a self-check. Spend 5 minutes writing down some answers to these questions:
- Where am I feeling blocked?
- Is there a consistent irritation that is really anger on smoulder?
- Am I angry because I'm not getting my way in something?
- In 5 years, what do I want to be doing with each day I'm given?
- If I could spend $500 on something right now, what would it be?
- How much time have I spent reading spiritually formative works in the last 30 days?
Now, look over those answers and see what they suggest about what you desire. Look them over and see what has been shaping your heart (and its desires) over the past 30 days.
Then, make a “shaping my desires” plan for the the next 30 days.
And, yes, I sometimes think about owning a 1967 Mustang (see picture above) too often.
U2 lyrics were found on Google Search