If we live out of desire, we become animals. If we cut off our desire we become eunuchs.
It’s no wonder desire’s metaphor is often fire. Desire is dangerous. Desire can consume. But imagine a world without fire. Fire illuminates, warms, comforts, inspires, restores. Fire completely changes the landscape.
I think it’s interesting that one of the ways God describes himself is Consuming Fire. Not comforting fire, or warming fire, or happy fire: Consuming Fire.
I also happen to think one of the infinite facets of God is Desire.
Desire and Holiness are two sides of the same coin. They are the blue flame.
I believe God hides desire in us in some of the most troubling places. Of course we form attachments in the deep and allow creatures safe passage without even realizing it. Of course the deeper we push down the darkness, the stronger it becomes. Of course we’re terrified of our desires. What if they’re bad? What if I’m bad? What if I’ll do bad things?
The child within asks these questions.
The child is unable to live with a complex God and must fit his or her understanding of desire into over-simplified concepts like “bad” and “good.”
As we grow, if we taste freedom, we learn to follow Him into some pretty sketchy places, places our past teachers once labeled “bad.” Of course, He has something else in mind entirely than us reinforcing our mistaken view of “clean hands by hard effort.” He leads us into the forbidden 1) because he can, and 2) to help us rediscover him, ourselves, and the possibilities.
If we deny him the journey, if we will not give ourselves safe passage through the unknown, we deny himself and ourselves access. In fear, we mislabel his path, and put the crime scene tape across it.
And the death of life begins.
Why does a happily married woman give a stranger in a bar her number? Because she wants to be seen. She wants to be known in new, perhaps exciting, ways.
We hear their stories, and see their destruction and shake our head out of our own inability to understand. Those who have killed their desire can’t know.
I’m young in my ability to navigate desire. I lived a long existence of self-protection & control, which are experts in suffocation. Control keeps me safe by literally Killing Desire, which mistakenly is viewed as The Enemy.
Until one day when I wake-up and can’t feel my heart.
What if we’re too quick to shut down a desire when all we’re supposed to do is explore, not commit to or avoid an action? Often something significant is just past the place where we notice the desire. But we get freaked out by the desire and run in the opposite direction. Instead, we need to keep going past the desire and see what’s behind it.
I think the landscape of our heart is wilderness. It’s beautiful. It’s wild. It resonates with our favorite places and our favorite stories. It’s the eternal set where we’re the hero & the beauty.
And we get to explore there. And sometimes Desire is the Guide.
One certainty, we won’t have to go it alone. Another: we’ll find places long-forgotten, some beautiful and passionate, some scary and dark, plus plenty of buried rubble from the past. In fact, the toxins from those train wrecks are still oozing into the soil.
We need friends who are experts in debris removal. We need friends who have looked honestly at their own train wrecks and so have the stomach for disaster, pain, betrayal. They are no longer horrified by the brutality of darkness & humanity. They love us. They believe in the possibility of Rescue and True Goodness.
We also need friends who hold our hands as we navigate risky desire. It helps to know who we are and what we’re doing here. It brings a small sense of comfort, like a tether cord as we explore.
If we believe we’re sick and lost and the reason this isn’t working, we tend to find, under each rock, more evidence of our hopelessness & inability.
Oh! How we Mislabel Life!
How we mislabel ourselves!
How we mislabel one another!
But if we travel with a wilderness guide and good friends, we can often scrape together just enough gumption to silence self-protection and control, for today at least.
Focus on todays for now, not the tomorrows.
In the wilderness we unlearn and relearn how to explore and discover and uncover and Breathe. The space may feel uncomfortable, but it’s Open.
And we learn the most valuable of lessons: how to follow our Guide all the way THROUGH desire.
Desire was buried in us to lead us to places we’d never go without a little nudge.
If our brain is allowed to call the shots, we might never find the buried treasure, our true hearts.
Desire speaks directly to the heart.
Desire can lead us into some tragic places, but it’s meant to lead us through. Don’t be afraid of it.
Allow Him to protect you. Ask Him to protect you. Hold his hand, face the desire, and keep going:
“What do I truly want here?”
“What is she communicating to my heart?”
“What is he awakening in me?”
“What the hell is this?!” and
“What the hell am I supposed to do with it?”
Self-Protection and Control create air-tight plans that keep All Mistakes Out, and consequently all air for breathing, so the suffocating boxes grow smaller and smaller and smaller with time and each failure. The smaller the space grows, the stronger the pressure, the more we have to disconnect from our wily hearts.
God’s Goodness manifesting as your desire is pushing on those boxes with increasing force.
Let him crush your boxes. Hold his hand past the desire, all the way to His heart.
featured image Blue and White by Ben Jenkins