“You have made us for yourself O God, and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you.”
- St. Augustine
We were all created with a void - a deeper longing that is perfectly designed to only be filled by God (Ecclesiastes 3:11), not by things of this world (John 4:12-14, 7:37-38). But what happens when we don’t fill the void with our perfect Heavenly Father and look elsewhere to patch up that gaping hole? Something else will always, unrightfully and insufficiently take up that space.
For me, as an adolescent, teen, and adult I often looked around for fulfillment by how much others accepted and desired me. I longed to be desired by others. At times that manifested in seeking approval of a well-known and liked girl at school. Did she desire me to be her friend? Other times, being noticed by a boy or praised by an adult is where I looked to fill that void. And guess what, when I was accepted or sought after, it did bring moments of satisfaction or a sense of being “filled.” But oh, how quickly those moments of fulfillment dwindled away and left me repeatedly seeking and never fully satisfied.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this
world can satisfy, the most probable explanation
is that I was made for another world.”
- C.S. Lewis
As I grew in my walk and in my time spent communing with God in His Word, He so graciously brought forth the realization through reading the Bible that the God of the Universe desires me and created me to glorify Him - to take delight in Him, and be satisfied in Him! No other person, action, or thing could bring about the satisfaction my heart was longing because it was only to be filled by Him.
In coming to His Word, my struggle was painted in a sobering light. My struggle was sin and the God I love, and needed to love so much more, is Holy. My needing to be “desired” by others was pointing to a young woman trying to take God off His throne and place me there instead. Woah. That is the piercing power of the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of God’s Word in a rebellious heart. And it was, and continues to be, a call to worship my Heavenly Father (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
Our battle with sin is not about “why can’t I stop this?” or “why do I keep returning to struggle with this?” Instead, the question I needed to be asking is, “what do I love?” Ultimately, it is our need for our affections to be turned to God first and foremost and to ask Him to help us to love Him more, to desire Him more, and for Him to be at the forefront of our minds (Psalm 34:8-10, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Psalm 37:4, Jeremiah 29:13).
When I put my biggest need to be desired on my children, I become increasingly angry when they aren’t obeying or behaving the way I would prefer. When I put my biggest need to be desired from my husband rather than God, I put the whole world on his shoulders. They were not intended to carry that burden and I was not purposed to be seeking this satisfaction horizontally, but vertically by keeping my eyes on Jesus. This revelation of where the root of my sin manifested is a truth that I have had to continually come back to Him for the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2) in every single season and in every single relationship - once dating, and now as a married mom with kids. And when that temptation presents itself again, I pray I will more quickly turn to God and ask Him to help me take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to renew my mind (Romans 12:2).
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “To abide in Jesus is never to quit Him for another love or another object, but to remain in living, loving, conscious, willing union with Him.” That friends, is to be freed from the bondage of “being desired” or measuring up and turning instead to the perfect love that was provided at the price of a cross. It is there we find our fulfillment.
Photograph: Grace Pumpelly - Created With Grace Photography
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