Thoughts of a Restless, Desiring Heart.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"In all my desirings, I was desiring you."

I've been sitting with this quote from St. Augustine this morning. Originally, I had planned on sharing the photo above on Instagram with some carefully articulated caption about having a pilgrim's heart and yearning for God in the midst of the day-to-day, even at the times when I'm not sure or even completely unaware that that's what I'm doing.  It would be perceived as thoughtful and wise, get a couple dozen likes, and I'd spend the rest of the day restlessly checking Instagram every ten minutes to see, not necessarily an honest measure of how many lives I'd really touched, but at least a solid indicator of how many people had taken a half second to double-tap my post while mindlessly scrolling through the other updates in their feeds.

Oof. Sometimes I'm struck by just how much I desire to be seen, known, and loved, even in the smallest of ways. And nothing brings that to the forefront of my consciousness quite like planning an Instagram post. In thinking of how I wanted to share St. Augustine's insight with my hundreds of followers, I had become the person who most needed to hear my own words.

So, to the blog I went, thinking of all of the things I am desiring at this moment in time: a successful career doing what I love, a romantic relationship, more money, awards, accolades... basically, all of those things which, if I had them, would (I'm convinced) finally persuade me I'm enough. That I'm seen, known, and loved. That I matter in this world. 

The thing is, I'm already seen, known, and loved, by the God who knew me from all eternity. The earthly things which I desire, which propel so many of the decisions I make and drive the deepest longings of my heart, are decidedly human ways of seeking Him whom I was made for, in what feels most accessible to me on this worldly plane.

That's not always a bad thing! There is so much goodness in this world, and I believe God delights in us noticing it; he put all that goodness here for our benefit, after all! And the things we perceive as good and worthy of love are only so because they reflect something of His goodness and beauty and love.

And that deepest longing of my heart -- to be seen, known, and loved -- is there because God Himself wants to fill it. But not, ultimately, in any of the ways I restlessly search for it.

And so I am always, always -- at the root of all else -- simply searching for God. As Pope St. John Paul II famously said in one of his World Youth Day audiences:

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; 
He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; 
He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; 
it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; 
it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; 
it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

The truth is, I do very much have a pilgrim's heart. And while I wait to be reunited with God someday, I am committed to picking up the breadcrumbs of His presence that He drops everywhere I look. I am committed to contemplating my desires and what they have to teach me about how I'm desiring God in each new moment, most of all. 

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