The Desires of My Heart
- Sunday, August 12, 2001
Ive been thinking a lot lately about the desires of my heart. From the time I was fourteen I have had exactly two burning desires: I was going to teach computer science at the college level, maybe high school, and after Id done that for a while, I was going to have children and be a stay-at-home mom.
I spent four years in the classroom. One year I taught in a Christian high school, the other three years I taught in a community college. I tell people that I stopped teaching because we moved, or that I decided it was time for a little break, but the whole truth is I am not a good classroom teacher. I am great at planning classes, delivering lectures, and even getting grades done in a fair and timely fashion. I have the underpinnings necessary to teach as well as the desire. But all the desire in the world wont lead to the inherent understanding of students that a teacher needs. In that department I find myself sorely lacking. And the desire that was once a burning flame is now simply a painful echo.
Those same four years entailed working toward the fulfillment of my other desire to have children. Now, looking back and taking stock of everything, I have come to the realization that it probably will not happen. Certainly there are other options like adoption that we have not yet seriously considered, and so people wonder why I say that I will never have children. The answer is simple. Faced with the decision to either continue to want and be hurt by every failure or to let go of the desire, I have realized that I need to let go.
For the past four years I have claimed the promise of Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV) I acted with the knowledge that if I dedicated my efforts to Him, and asked for His will, He would bless my efforts and grant those desires. But that isnt what the scripture says. I was not delighting myself in the Lord, I was telling the Lord to delight in my efforts. The difference is humbling. As I have cried, struggled, and screamed for God to grant me the desires of my heart, I have set myself up to fail. Verses five through seven explain His promise. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. I have been waiting since I was fourteen years old for God to grant the desires of my heart, and all those years I should have been asking for God to make the desires of His heart my own.
Its a difficult realization for me, and I struggle with it almost daily, but I am slowly changing my hearts desires. I have put away the specific list I used to present daily to God and instead ask only that He will help me to desire Him above all else. Its difficult, but I can slowly see the changes and the joy this is bringing to my life. When my friend called to tell me she is pregnant with her third oops, I was able to be happy for her without the slimy fingers of jealousy and pain intruding on that joy. I will delight myself in Him and He will give Himself to me. And in doing this, He will give me the desire of my heart.
Elizabeth Maddrey is a digital products analyst at META Group in Virginia. She met her husband, Tim, while they were both completing computer science degrees at Wheaton College in Illinois. After graduation, they had many interesting experiences while Tim served four years in the Army. Their family, at this point, consists of two spastic Shetland sheepdogs.
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