What Your Longings Can Teach You About God and Yourself
- Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Barry Morrow's book, Yearning For More: What Our Longings Tell Us About God and Ourselves (IVP Books, 2012).
No matter how hard you seek fulfillment in all this world has to offer, you can often become disenchanted with life and struggle with longings for something more.
If your yearning for more than this world can give you has left you frustrated and disappointed, you can find hope if you look at your longings from God’s perspective. God designed the longings you experience in this world not to completely satisfy you, but to point you toward another world – heaven – in which your yearning will finally give way to complete fulfillment. Each of your longings is a sign of transcendence embedded in your earthly life.
Here’s how you can learn what your longings teach you about God and yourself:
Recognize the limits of what this fallen world offers you. Since sin first corrupted the perfect world God created, worldly things – from a new job or romantic partnership to a bigger house or better car – promise to meet your desires, yet fall short of delivering the ultimate satisfaction that you seek. Admit the reality that nothing you want can truly satisfy you except one thing: a relationship with God. Stop trying to find meaning and significance in the world’s wisdom, pleasure, power, riches, altruism, or naturalistic religion. Shift your focus to what matters most: seeking God alone.
Look beyond what’s urgent to what’s important. Don’t get stuck in your everyday, mundane concerns – if you do, you won’t notice the signs of transcendence that God has placed all around you. Make a daily habit of withdrawing from the busyness of dealing with life’s urgent activities to spend time in reflection and prayer, asking questions about the important issues you encounter in the situations you experience.
Develop a sacramental perspective on life. From God’s perspective, there’s no distinction between what’s sacred and what’s secular. Everything in life is sacred to God. When you look at life this way, you can notice how everything you do is imbued with a spiritual meaning. Doing your activities with an attitude of faithfulness to God turns them into sacraments – signs of God at work in your life.
Discover how your fear of death points to transcendence. The idea of death naturally scares people because God’s original design for us didn’t include death – death entered the world only after sin did. The fact that you feel afraid of dying is a sign that points to the reality that you’re actually an immortal being who’s trapped inside a mortal body right now. One day, when you die, your soul will break free of your body and live forever in the afterlife, either in heaven with God, or separated from Him in hell – depending on whether or not you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Discover how your uneasiness with time points to transcendence. Time passes so quickly that it’s natural to want to slow it down, but you can’t. Your frustration with not having enough time to do all you’d like to do highlights the fact that your time is limited on Earth, and points to the reality that every moment you have is a gift from God that you should do your best to use well.
Discover how your sense of humor points to transcendence. The incongruence and absurdity of life that seems so funny points to the reality that you live as a fallen creature in a fallen world. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can see your need for a Savior to redeem your life.
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