I love the idea of living in freedom. The thought of a life where hope always wins and fear is constantly losing the battle is utterly alluring.
Yet, so often such a life is so evasive. Fear is close at hand. What about such things as peace and hope? They sometimes seem to be a million miles away.
What makes the difference? What chains life down, bring fear near, and makes peace feel like a distant memory? Overtime, I have come up with a few different answers to those questions. Yet, one answer in particular has been especially enlightening and relevant.
My life can end up shackled when I let certain desires become the sea anchors of my soul. Honestly, in the right place desires can be very good things. It’s good to care about and love other people, and want to be with them. It’s good to have pursuits that we invest in. It’s good to have dreams that we enjoy and work toward achieving.
Yet, my desire for a pursuit, a person, a dream, or some other thing can also turn into an obsession. Eventually, obsessions can control our lives. They can do this much more discreetly than we might imagine. It’s happened to me countless times. When an obsession takes hold of me, then I start living as though the loss of whatever thing I desire would ruin my whole life. I become filled with anxiety.
By nature, we become terrified and tied up in knots if we believe that one of our obsessions is in jeopardy. Difficult circumstances can start doing some of that “jeopardizing” pretty quickly! Suddenly, our lives can start feeling terribly shackled, and our peace can disappear.
This is not to say that fear doesn’t have other causes, or that hope is not lost other ways. My point is simply that the dangers of the type of obsession that I have noted create one of the strongest peace-robbing, fear-instilling forces that I have observed. Nor am I the only one who has noticed this dynamic; I’ve seen people much wiser than myself spill plenty of ink on this subject .
At the end of the day, I had to realize that letting my beloved desires be my master was poisonous. I still need to learn that lesson and absorb it until it changes and guides me from the core of my being. There is only one desire in the whole world that I can imagine being truly safe as an unhindered, unbridled desire. It is a desire after a person who will absolutely never leave us, who will be with us to help us every moment that we live, and who will always want us.
This ended up being such a tall order that I decided that no human being could fulfill it. That is part of why I have leaned on my faith so much in my own struggles and in my journey through depression. My faith centers around one Being who created this world in love and kindness, who has shown me great mercy, and who is everything I could ever need. He, my God, has told me that he will always love me, and that he will never abandon me. (You can read more about him in the “about” section of this blog.) He said, in his own words, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” My desire for him is the only desire that I trust to rule my life. After all, I know that desire is indeed a powerful thing. We must all evaluate this question of our desires very carefully.