Back in February, over kombucha and apple cider, I was trying to process with one of my mentors about a rapidly approaching decision I had to make. To say yes felt wrong, somehow, but I had no way to explain such an impulse, such a “feeling.” Rationally, I should say yes, I argued. By the world’s book, I have to say yes. But I don’t want to. I really, really don’t want to. And I don’t know why.
They said, “Be honest about your desires.”
As someone who has a hard time trusting my own emotions, this was a huge paradigm shift for me in context. I tend to run away from my desires or scrutinize them so anxiously that they cease to carry meaning. Especially when it comes to spiritual and faith-based desires, I’ve been shamed for my convictions in the past, or manipulated because of them, and this has built up a great deal of fear. In five words, suddenly the desires I expressed at that table and the accompanying peace from the Spirit, were affirmed. They were declared good. My mentor saw something about them that was of God rather than of my own imagination. Because of this, I could be honest about them and I could trust them. I could trust Him even when (especially when) I didn’t have all the answers or words.
But what does it mean to present our requests to God? To ask him for things? To be honest with him about our desires? I’m discovering that it means trusting him with our desires, to humble ourselves before him and know that if we were to satisfy those desires on our own, we would hurt ourselves and those around us. We would not (do not) fill those needs rightly or wisely or kindly. But God? God knows what to do with our desires. And so we are shaped.
To give them to him is scary because it requires vulnerability. It requires confession that we cannot fulfill our longings in our own strength. That we need help. Surrender requires dependence on his provision and in his timing, not our own limited understanding. It requires trust in his goodness, an essence which desires to give good gifts.
Over the past five months, I have seen so many waiting periods begin to bear fruit. There has been a bounty of blooms, an overflow of unexpected gifts. I stand in awe of the Lord’s handiwork, even as I walk into a markedly uncertain season. Locations are temporary. Jobs are short or not yet guaranteed. Relationships are in flux. And yet! What a strange supernatural centeredness that this anxious heart feels. The conviction that I am held, that I can trust my life in God’s hands, that he is calling and desires me to follow him— these are things I have never felt in such strength before. And I know it is of the Spirit. Certainly not of my own making. And there is brokenness still: longings and hurts and sins and doubts. Yet I see him healing, redeeming.
What an honor it is to behold and be held by our God.