It is said that we are always longing to give ourselves to something. And I believe that at the core of every human being are two essential needs: to delight (fully and unreservedly) and to be delighted in (fully and unreservedly). This is the essence of what it means to live – to function from the place of desire and being desired – full and free. True freedom is finding a place where we can live from out hearts.
For the human being, this activity must primarily found in a real relationship with the eternal, unchanging, all perfect and wonderful, intimate and lovesick God. It is he who fulfils our deepest desires for acceptance, for affection and love. Vice-versa, our fullest affections and desires find their perfect object in the eternal, perfect and beautiful God. Emotionally and psychologically, this pure ‘two way street’ is the perfect recipe for human flourishing and health.
We must be sure that we are not delighted in for what we can do, or how we look, or our earning potential but who we are – with unreserved acceptance and affection. Without judgement or condemnation.
And no other reality outside of God exists by which we can consistently give to and be given in fullness and in health. The affections we require cannot come from objects and also cannot ultimately come from another human being – the “river” is not nearly pure enough.
So life is simple: to love God and to be loved by him. Here we can see the value of worship. For in worship (in any form) we can love and we are loved in return. Extravagantly.
My final point about this idea is that practically and functionally, this is not in any way a lofty or an ascetic posture for someone to be in. But the beautiful thing is that in this “framework” – we find that all the lesser though important pleasures that would otherwise consume us, suddenly find their rightful places in our hearts. We can enjoy and desire people and things without obsessing over or becoming consumed by them. The caveats are: in reality it is rarely so black and white, and this is in some ways, an untested thesis for me…but it seems to make sense to my heart and mind, so there it is.
What a beautiful God, and what a beautiful life.
I’ve written a little piece – a rehash of the ‘old old story’ that works as continuation of the ideas in this post: The Story of the Ages