I want to want Him.
I want to want Him the most.
I want to want Him always.
I want to know Him so well that I don’t have to guess what He thinks about my latest decision. I want to be so familiar with Him that I can recognize His voice, His whispers, His embrace.
I want to want Him.
But this life, this world makes wanting Him so difficult.
This world with its glitz and glamour, with its fame and fortune, with its love songs and whirlwind romances, with its dramatic twists and high-speed pursuits – THIS world tells me I’m not really living if I’m not chasing the highs it has to offer. But what the world never told me is that the space between the highs is riddled with unbearable lows.
The world didn’t tell me the highs would only last a moment, that they would actually leave me far more empty than I was at the start. I vividly remember the exact moment I thought I finally had everything I wanted. I remember the room I was in, where I was sitting, the quiet hum of the ceiling fan, the sunlight breaking through the window, the very place my gaze remained fixed. I remember breathing out a sigh as I relished the feeling of being whole… safe… happy.
And then, just as quickly as those thoughts had entered my mind, they were ripped from my heart. There is no more sobering a moment than the one in which you realize this:
You were wrong.
My heart ached in ways I never knew possible, for I had come to this sad conclusion:
I had nothing.
The world took me on an incredible ride… and as I floated there with my head in the clouds, it robbed me and stripped me bare.
The world never had anything for me. It was all an illusion, an act, a con.
I was six feet under, in a hole I had dug for myself with the shovel given me by the world itself. Thankfully, Christ rescued me. He reached down from heaven and pulled me out from this pit. Glory to Him in the highest for redeeming my soul!
Well, I sure learned my lesson about this world, albeit, the hard way. And I told myself I was never going to fall for it again. I told myself I was going to be wise, discerning, pure. I told myself I was going to be resilient against temptation. I was going to avoid a God-dishonoring lifestyle at all costs.
So my friend group changed. The places I hung out at changed. The way that I talked changed. The way that I thought changed. My entire lifestyle was completely transformed by the grace of God.
Only by the grace of God.
But somewhere along the way, I had missed something – something I hadn’t even realized until now, several years into this whole “Jesus-following” thing.
You know how people have different days for different work outs? Mondays are for upper body strengthening, Wednesdays are for cardio, Fridays are leg days, and so on and so forth. Usually, there’s a balanced focus on different “areas for improvement.”
But imagine if everyday was leg day. Imagine if I was so focused on strengthening and toning my legs that I forgot about the rest of my body. Initially, it’d be great! I’m sure I’d be pleased with the results and that people would notice a change. But after a while, it wouldn’t be so pleasant. It would be awkward and strange. I would be unproportionally bottom-heavy, which no girl wants to be!
Such was the condition of my spiritual life. I knew I needed to focus on resisting a certain lifestyle and I knew that avoidance was the most practical way of being successful in this.
But in exercising these spiritual muscles, I let others waste away. The muscles for fighting the flesh and working through hard things atrophied. Yes, we should be like Joseph and flee from temptation and unwise decisions (Genesis 39:1-20). But we should also be ready to discipline ourselves and push through trying situations.
Sometimes we allow our pasts to mold how we view and respond in the here and now. I wanted so much to be different from the old me. So I strived to attain that goal the only way I knew how as a spiritual babe: avoidance (which is a good first step!). But in the process, I developed a fear of regression. I didn’t ever want to be her again… I don’t ever want to be her again.
I want to live in the newness of life He’s given me.
I want to want Him.
I want to want Him alone, most, always, forever, genuinely, wholly. It was easier to do this when I was just avoiding the world, its glamorous offers, its exotic pleasures. It was easier to do this when I was just avoiding people, and boys, and drama, and careless conversations, and the party scene and all the other little things that composed my former lifestyle.
But as I’m being placed into different situations that require me to engage with aspects of my old life, I’m realizing that I should have been working out these muscles too. I’m realizing that yes, it’s a struggle to keep living for Him. It’s a struggle to keep my eyes on the eternal. It’s a struggle to take my eyes off the temporary – even the good things, even the blessings He gives. It’s a struggle to keep wanting Him and only Him.
The struggle makes me weary sometimes… a lot of times. But then He reminds me: The things that are worthwhile aren’t easy. And so I praise Him for giving me a desire for a desire – even if I’m not quite there yet.
Maybe you’re at the place I once was… maybe you don’t want Him or want to want Him. Maybe the world is captivating and mesmerizing to you… but maybe you feel a small tug on your heart as you read these words. Beloved, the world has nothing to offer. It’s only assurance is this: It will leave you more hollow than you ever were before.
Maybe you’re where I am now, realizing that simply closing yourself off completely to people and the world isn’t always spiritually edifying – that doing so is sometimes a good first step towards holiness but not the only step. Beloved, God is our very present help in our time of need. The Father sent His Son to this wretched world to die for us – is it really that ludicrous to think that He would care to refine us in Him as well?
I want to want Him.
I’m not there yet, but He’ll get me there soon, whether on this side of eternity or the other.
…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. | 1 Timothy 4:7b-10