“Desire is also at the heart of creativity. When we engage creatively, we depart from the fixed world of daily routine and grounded facts. We enter into a kind of ‘genesis foyer,’ where something that not yet is might begin to edge its way from silence into word, from the invisible into form” (John O’Donohue, To Bless The Space Between Us, pg. 23). Along with that O’Donohue also states, “In terms of its creative side, desire is the quickening of heart that calls forth change. Somehow the eye of desire can glimpse possibility where the overfamiliarized mind cannot see” (TBTSPBU, pg25).
Desire is truly at the heart of all that is creative. It can be seen in the colors, contrasts and details of paintings; heard in the lyrics of our songs, wooing us, drawing us deeper into love’s embrace; and gracefully held within the rhyme and rhythm, the tantalizing and expressive words in a poet’s lines of verse. Desire calls us to be engaged creatively, to depart from the daily stuff - our routines, our deceptions, and sometimes even our truths. It causes us to leave behind what seems to stifle, hold us stagnated, or to push forward to a new threshold of being and belonging. We step through that threshold of creativity and desire opens us up to receive the new, the extra-ordinary, and it can make the impossible blossom fully and beautifully from our hope, life and love.
Desire if not welcomed and faithfully assessed, can be dangerous and debilitating. Welcoming desire is a good thing, because God is willing to give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 20:4; 37:3,4). But it takes welcoming desire with a heart of faith and acceptance, acknowledging that desire is indeed good and comes from God. We have been lied to and caused to believe that all desire is bad, fleshly, yet, here in these two verses, God himself points to it as being good. It is friendly, invigorating – stimulating spirit, mind, and body. Why do we need to accept desire as good?
Because it gives foundation to our belonging, our faith and hope in God, it sets us on the journey of being able to satisfy a small part of our deepest belonging – our love of and our relationship with, God. “Deep within every life, no matter how dull or ineffectual it may seem from the outside, there is something eternal happening. This is the secret way that change and possibility conspire with growth…Change, therefore, need not be threatening; it can in fact bring our lives to perfection. Perfection is not cold completion. Neither is it avoidance of risk and danger in order to keep the soul pure or the conscience unclouded…The soul loves risk; it is only through the door of risk that growth can enter. ” (O’Donohue, Anam Cara, pg. 128).
God is ALWAYS at work in us, through us, and for us. Change and growth happen as we yield to that work, even in the dark of the night when we sleep God is at work, transforming us more and more into his image. The desire to change, to be transformed, to be something other than what we once were comes from God. As we grow in our love for God, we find that he desires things for us and oftentimes they are the same things we desire for ourselves. Always his desire for us is better than what we can desire for ourselves. He loves to bestow good things on us and welcoming desire opens doors of receptivity to those good things. What are the desires that are stirring in your heart, craving for expression, to be released into the light of day? Which ones are God inspired and calling to you to release them so that God’s expression through you can be released out into the world around you? “The human deeply desires expression. One of the most beautiful ways the soul is present is through thought. Thoughts are the forms of the soul’s inner swiftness…Every life needs the possibility of expression” (Anam Cara, pg. 133).
We all crave to be known, to be seen – this is a desire of deepest longing, of our innermost desire to belong. If we don’t have avenues to express our deepest loves, deepest hopes, to touch another life, introvert or extrovert - we shrivel up and die. We can put on a “happy face” but on the inside we are dying – to love, to life, to joy, to hope. When we allow others to affect our reactions and response, we stagnate, and life that once so freely flowed can become death and destruction. “There is no one – regardless of how beautiful, sure, competent, or powerful – who is not damaged internally in some way. Each of us carries in our hearts the wound of mortality. We are particularly adept at covering our inner wounds, but no wound is ever silent” (John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes, pg. 178). We don’t have to remain unhealed, and broken. The one caveat in all of that is this – GOD LOVES US and can heal ANY broken, wounded heart. O’Donohue says again, “It is only by letting in the divine light to bathe these wounds that healing will come. The tender kindness of the Divine knows where the roots of our pain are concealed. The divine light knows how to heal their sore weeping. Every inner wound has its own particular voice...Only the voice of deep prayer can carry the gentle poultice inwards to these severe crevices and draw out the toxins of hurt” (Eternal Echoes, pg. 178).
The wounds that we often experience come when desire is stifled, or used to manipulate and control our lives. Sometimes we wound ourselves, sometimes it comes at the hands of others, and sometimes, it is a result of the effects of both. Only as we allow God to intermingle with our desires are we less prone to wounding - from others and ourselves. God’s Spirit comes as a sweet, fragrant healing balm to our being and most often comes in ways we do not expect or would have deemed possible or imagined. It is time to stop thinking that the desires of our hearts are always bad, evil, or destructive. We have been lied to. God gives us the desires of our hearts when we truly make it our aim to follow him with all of our heart, holding nothing back, nothing from his (even though we think we can hide some things from him) holy, loving gaze. Because as we do, His desires become our desires and even those desires that we allow him to hold, will come back as long as they will help us, guide us deeper into his love for us. They then provide avenues of hope, life, joy, and peace.