Ten Things I Think About Desire
Designed by  Fabricio Mora

Designed by Fabricio Mora

1. I Think Desire Comes With Being Human

a. It's almost as important as the act and concept of love. 

b. Desire drives us in our work, in our play, in our relationships, in our ambition. 

c. As Christians, our heart's desire should find it's home in a far away place--a place unlike this life, this earth. 

2. I Think When You Stop Desiring, You Stop Living

a. Numbness operates as the great nemesis of desire, and numbness comes in buckets in this life, in this culture. 

b. I think the Shadows of life do their best to extinguish cravings, or they bend them toward the dark things. 

c. Gilbert Meileander, Professor of theology at Valparaiso University, says that when we stop thirsting for the "Other" then we stop being human. 

3. I Think Desire Incites Us To Quest

a. Perhaps it was something from our childhood, from our college days--something we want but cannot seem to seize.

b. And so we spend the rest of our days on the quest to seize that which our souls crave. The journey looks different for each person and, quite possibly, the ultimate destination, but the common human endeavor known as the "Quest" is very real, very potent, and very not of this world. 

4. I Think The Melancholy Associated With The Quest Is Okay

a. Does that statement mean that "Emo" and music from the early "Grunge" period are okay? Don't records like Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness perpetuate a kind of social dissonance and encourage wallowing? 

b. My good friend Lacy Sturm has great wisdom in this area, suffice it to say the melancholy and infinite sadness and wallowing feel very real and taste bitterly sweet to where we can even crave it. But the beauty in the melancholy is the simple fact that even sadness points to the Quest's end, to the culmination of the journey, to that place where we "find where all the beauty came from."

c. That's what we seek, isn't it? 

5. I Think Just Because You Seek To Do "Good" {i.e. "common good"} In This Life Means Nothing 

a. Unless of course your common good is defined as not so common. The human condition works like a virus in the greater culture, and working to "redeem" the culture by "doing good" is only part of the story. 

b. For the Christian, there, of course, is common good just as their is for all of humankind. But the Christian person has travelled, has Quested, and found the root of their Desire. And, within that Desire exists the Ultimate Good, as C.S. Lewis called it, the "One Thing." 

c. So, what good is common good without wrapping it in the Ultimate Good? Is it enough for young people to stop cutting? Is it enough to clean the world's water? Is it enough to cause people to think twice about their consumptive decisions? 

d. Of course not. 

e. A Desire for "common good" falls short, and in fact, it can be argued that a desire that begins and ends in common good is no good at all. I am not arguing for an end to the common good Quest. I am simply suggesting that the common good is one stepping stone along the Quest for a heart that Desires to know Christ and the power of his Glory. 

6. I Think Our Desires Expose Our Hearts

a. Is there common good with out spiritual affection? 

b. Is there spiritual affection with no works to show for that affection? 

c. Both scenarios fall off the path toward our true Desire. 

d. When we discover Christ as our primal Desire, then our desires should mirror his. Faith without works is dead, but what is works without affectual cause? (and yes, I did make up that word, "affectual.") 

7. Here Are The Essentials To Cultivating An Infinite Desire

a. The wonder of a child

b. Laughter

c. Delight in the simple, in the beautiful

d. A morning when you wake up and say, "Ok, God. I'm through with this kind of living." 

e. Actually listening to the whispering voices in your head you're convinced are not God 

f. A love for the Scriptures

g. More time in the analog world than in the digital

8. I Think Once You Taste And See You Will Never Look Back

9. I Think I Love How C.S. Lewis Does Not Quell Physical Desire

a. In The Pilgrim's Regress John, the pilgrim, discusses his desires with the hermit, Father History. Lewis, here, distinguishes shallow finite desire from True Desire. John admits to Father History how his desire for the island (that thing of beauty that set John on his Quest to satisfy his desire) felt like a “bodily desire.”

Father History warns of such thrilling desire, but does not quell it completely. “It is only a foretaste of that which the real Desirable will be when you have found it,” he says. “Out of the soul’s bliss … there shall be a flowing over into the flesh." 

10. I Think Restlessness Is A Good Sign You're On The Right Path

a. St. Augustine opens his masterpiece by stating the major theme of the work:

“Nevertheless, to praise you is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”[1]

b. St. Augustine intimates that God placed certain created objects in this world in order to create a desire within the soul of man—a longing that propels us towards fulfillment of that desire.

c. Here's to the restless Quest, the Desire of the Infinite, and not settling for common. 

[1] Aurelius, Chadwick, Henry Augustinus, Confessions (Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), Book I, i (I), 3. 




Timothy Willard is the author of three books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life. He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. He lived in Oxford, England for two years studying beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis. He earned his PhD in Theology under the supervision of world-renowned theologian Alister McGrath. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.