I believe strongly in the practice of being introspective.
I think there is incredible value in understanding yourself and discovering your desires, your ambition, your feelings, and your thoughts.
It’s important to pay attention the things that rise up within us and to ask, “What is this telling me about myself? Why am I feeling this way? And what do I need to do in response to it?”
Self-reflection is an important part of emotional health. The better we are at it, the stronger we will be as humans.
But it’s also an important part of our spiritual growth, as many times the things that we discover within are things that God is stirring up for His purposes.
In Psalm 145, King David writes these words:
“You open your hand. You satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)
He is talking about God, and the fact that the Lord has the ability to fulfill desires among not only His people, but also every living creature on the earth.
God WANTS to satisfy our desires. But, to take it a step further, we need to understand that God not only has the ability to grant us the things that we desire, He also is the one who gives us the actual desires.
Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “In spiritual things, when God has raised a desire, He always gratifies it; hence the longing is prophetic of the blessing. In no case is the desire of the living thing excited to produce distress, but in order that it may seek and find satisfaction.”
He is saying something incredibly profound, that I think we need to pay attention to.
He’s saying that God wants to satisfy our desires, but it all begins with God giving us the desire in the first place that only He can satisfy.
When a longing stirs up within us, it is meant to push us toward God for the satisfaction of that longing. When we sense a desire or an ambition in our spirits, it’s meant to be prophetic of the provision that God will soon bring.
Here’s an example: At this point in my life, I have this intense desire to help Christians become more authentic and genuine followers of Jesus, shaped and influenced by His teachings rather than cultural Christianity.
I have to believe that God put this desire in my heart, and that this desire is prophetic of some blessing or direction that He is going to bring in response to it. Meaning that somehow He is going to satisfy that desire in some way, in using me to carry out that burden and see people come to know and surrender more wholly to the real ways of Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon says that the desires that we have are not meant to produce distress in us. It’s easy for that to happen, isn’t it? We discover some burden, some longing, some ambition, and we don’t know how it’s ever going to be fulfilled, so we end up feeling quite distressed and troubled.
We have longings for friendships, for company, for love, for financial stability, for a ministry opportunity, for a calling, for influence, for a sense that we are contributing value to the world.
We may feel stirred up about adoption, or immigration, or the injustices of our society. These burdens create longings within our hearts. We just want to DO something. We want to be a part of something. But we just aren’t sure what to do with it.
God can be trusted to fulfill those desires, if He’s the one who put them in our hearts to begin with.
And that’s where we need to not only be introspective, but also learn to go to Him and ask for clarity and discernment, asking God, “Is this desire from you? If so, I trust you to satisfy it. You know my longing. Now take it and do what you want with it.”
Can we commit ourselves to turning our desires, longings, and ambitions over to God and allowing Him to satisfy them in His own way and timing? I believe that when we do that, He will begin to open up doors and give us opportunities to step into a place where those longings, passions, burdens, and desires can be acted upon.
In that, there is a greater experience of the work of God in us and through us. And surely that’s what we desire more than anything else.