09 January 2015

What do we do with our desires?

Longing :: Week  1 

Today I want to pick up with the Journey of a Soul series that we started in the fall, based on my book Pilgrimage of a Soul. You don’t have to have read or read the book to take part in the blog. But if you are reading the book, this series may offer some helpful guidance for your reading.

Awakening is the first movement in the spiritual journey, which we explored this fall. Six movements follow: longing, darkness, death, transformation, intimacy and union. Picture seven three-dimensional rings all interlocked. Each ring represents a movement or season in the soul’s development. During a process of formation, the soul moves throughout these rings at various times, in no particular order. The spiritual journey is more cyclical than linear. Each moment in a certain movement or ring provides a necessary experience for personal and spiritual growth and development. At times we may progress from one ring to another, only to find ourselves revisiting a former ring for a deeper work in our ever-growing soul.

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore “Longing” together.

Longing is a natural experience. We long for or desire what we don’t yet have. We may long for spring during winter. We may long for a lover. We may long for the perfect job.

The longings we experience point to our desire. And desire is the energy that makes life interesting and fruit-bearing.

But longing is also difficult and painful for it is a yearning so deep that one feels desperate to instantly gratify the desire. Longing signals in-between-time and liminal space. When we desire something we find ourselves suspended between what is and what longs to be. Our desires, our longings usually point to what has yet to be fulfilled in us.

Presently I’m longing for a more functional home. In almost nineteen years of marriage, Chris and I have lived in our current apartment for almost thirteen years. It’s been a really good home for us. But with the change from working with an international mission to starting Gravity, I’ve experienced some personal changes in priorities and values and needs. I long for a home that will support these internal changes, and be a better incubator or refuge for our service to the world.

But I have to wait. I cannot instantly gratify my desire for a new home. This decision requires thoughtfulness and discernment and faith. Timing is everything.

And so our longings are often met with the invitation to wait. And that’s where things get hard.

It’s in the waiting time and space that we can open to a deeper work of Grace in us. Something is yet to be fulfilled in me, in my life, but I yearn for it or I yearn for a piece of it that will make the fulfillment a little bit more within reach.

As I long for and wait for a new home, I develop patience as well as faith—faith in God’s love for me and provision for me. I’m learning to trust more deeply that my life is a part of a greater plan that serves the common good. I’m becoming more receptive to the gifts needed in my life that will allow me to offer the best of myself to my family, community and the part of the world in which I have influence.

Experience shows that often I find my dreams for my life aren’t big enough. God has often been known to give me much more than I could have ever asked for or imagined.

And so I long for, I wait and I trust that I’ll be ready for what is coming when it manifests.

Reflection

  • How do you recognize “longing” in your life? How does it show up? Is there a body-feel to it? A pit or ache in your stomach perhaps? Or is it emotional?
  • What is something you have longed for? How was that desire realized?
  • Are you longing for anything right now? How do you respond to that desire? Do you resist it, ignore or embrace it?

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