We think we know the desires of our heart, but it takes a lot of spiritual growth to truly understand our desires beyond the ‘surface’ level.
This is something it’s taken me years to understand, so bear with me as I try to explain what I mean.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:3-4 NKJV
God created you - knit you together with His own hands. He knows exactly what makes you tick. He knows what motivates you. He knows what will make you feel fulfilled.
Personally, I’ve realized that it’s not until you fully delight in Him that He reveals your deepest desires to you. Not the objects or goals or life experiences you desire, but the actual yearnings, feelings and voids you want to fill.
One of my “surface” desires is motherhood.
But as I’ve experienced spiritual growth and matured, God has revealed that the true deep desires of my heart are to “love and be loved”, to “comfort and nurture,” and to “emotionally protect others”. These are all the things that fuel my desire to want to be a mom - but they can also be experienced in other ways….as a wife and as a sister-in-Christ and encourager.
God has given me the desires of my heart that I didn’t really understand before. He knows me and what I need better than I know myself. He knows you just as intimately too.
But He also knows what He needs. He knows what part He created me to fulfill in this world. In HIStory.
He knew it when He formed me that I would experience infertility 30 years after I was born. The 1st time I realized this fact, I was angry. Yep….I was really angry at God. I asked Him why He would let me have such a strong desire for motherhood if He knew that wasn’t part of His plan?
But as I’ve grown and matured in my relationship with Him (I’m still growing BTW), I realized that not everything that happens in my life is about me. And I’ve learned to trust God in all things because scripture is true. He does work all things together for our collective good.
Humbling myself, dying to self, has and continues to be the hardest part of my spiritual growth.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, we are called to be transformed from the inside out.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. — Galatians 2:20
Just believing in Jesus is not enough.
It’s actually just the beginning.
It’s the start line of the race. We accept Christ as our Savior and then take our first step into the race, crossing the starting line and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at the finish line, waiting to welcome us with the Father.
As we run the race set out before us, we have no control over the track or the terrain that lies ahead. God has planned it out for us, but no matter the obstacles, the distractions, the people around us, the physical exhaustion, the emotional or mental battles going on in our heads, we must persevere.
We learn from and grow from each situation as we keep putting one foot in front of the other to get closer and closer to Him.
We must “…run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Sometimes I can get into a mindset where perseverance just means “keep going” or “keep pushing”.
But, James tells us that “…perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
Perseverance is steadfast determination and effort to keep going in spite of difficult situations. BUT, we do not persevere just for the sake of persevering. James tells us we persevere for a purpose - so that we can mature and grow.
True Growth Takes A Lot Of Work
Throughout his letter to the twelve tribes, that we call the Book of James, James links perseverance, maturity and humility.
Can you tell James is one of my favorite books of the Bible? The pages are so worn that they have fallen out of the spine. 😆
After he talks about perseverance being necessary for our maturity and growth, he tells us we must listen and keep a tight rein on our tongue. (James 1:26, 3:1-12) He tells us not to discriminate and judge each other with evil thoughts (James 2:1-5). He tells us that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-22). He talks about submitting ourselves to God and being patient even in suffering.
I heard a sermon on James where the pastor talked about being careful that your certainty isn’t in opposition to your faith.
That brings me back to the desires of your heart.
What are they? What is it that you truly desire?
For a long time I was certain that the desire of my heart was motherhood and motherhood alone. During this time, I was so focused, obsessed really, with doing whatever I could to become a mom, that I was acting in ways that were contrary to the faith and trust I said I had in Him.
I wasn’t open to how God wanted to satisfy this desire in a different way than I wanted.
As I said at the start of this post, my “surface” desire is still motherhood.
But as I’ve grown spiritually, He’s revealed that when I put my delight in Him, He does satisfy the desire that motherhood actually represents in me. He’s given me the opportunity to love and be loved, to comfort and nurture, and to emotionally protect others, even though I am not the biological mother of a child.
As He’s done this in my life, my hearts desire has been and continues to be fulfilled in ways I never would have imagined. While my desire for motherhood isn’t completely gone, I can say that there isn’t a hole in my heart because of it.
Like James talks about, God has used this trial and the temptations that come along with it to help me:
learn how to persevere even when I don’t get what I want
listen to other people to understand their pain
hold my tongue and not make assumptions or judge others, because I haven’t walked in their shoes
go beyond saying I trust Him even if He doesn’t give me what I want and instead actively asking Him what He wants
learn how to truly be patient in affliction and grow from every experience
Growth Is A Choice
To be honest, it would have been easier to just keep pushing and trying to make my desire for motherhood happen, instead of choosing the path that I did.
If you are trying to conceive, I’m not telling you to stop trying! I’m just sharing my story, but your story is your own. He has something unique planned for you.
Your desire might be related to your career, your family or a million other things. I’m sure you’ve experienced a life choice where it would have been much easier to do what you wanted to do instead of what you felt God calling you to do.
But that’s just one of the things that I love about our Father!
“He loves us so much that He doesn’t force us to love Him.”
He wants us to.
He calls us to.
He convicts us to.
But He still leaves the choice up to us.
What a God we serve!
He gives us every opportunity to turn to Him, to run toward Him, to let Him into our hearts, to rest in His Will and let it become the greatest desire of our heart.
And He leaves the choice up to us.
Will you hold strongly to your desires that you miss the full, fulfilled and amazing plans He has for you?
Are you open to letting go, dying to self and continuously growing into the person He created you to be?
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.