Your loudest and deepest desires are natural, primal and purposeful. You deeply desire safety and security, peace and healing. You loudly desire freedom and joy, love and life! Those are good desires, and you’re right to want them.
Your deepest desires are only a problem when they aren’t healthy or good for you, your community, or your relationship with Jesus. Your loudest desires are only an obstacle when they prevent you from blossoming into your true calling. Here’s how I recognized my loudest and deepest desires while teaching at an American school in Kenya, and how you, too, can move forward into what God truly created you to do.
When I moved to Africa I expected to eat goat stew and chapati, hear Swahili, slosh through torrential rains, and see giraffe and zebras grazing on the roadside. I even planned to track lions and tigers and bears on safari! But I wasn’t prepared to live with baboons breaking into my kitchen and stealing my cookies. I didn’t enjoy dodging giant flying termites, dangerous carjackers and kidnappers, or women offering to sell me their babies.
Teaching grade 8 at an American school for missionaries’ kids in Kenya for three years was one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” decisions! I thought it’d be an exciting adventure; it was actually the most painful, difficult season of my life.
I hated driving past the slums of Nairobi, seeing Africans walk around in filthy rags, knowing that children were surviving on a handful of rice a day while I had so much food that baboons were breaking into my kitchen. I’d just graduated from the U of A and had never taught before; halfway through the school year I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a middle school teacher.
All I wanted to do was go home. That was my loudest desire. But, as the pastor of The Bridge Church said in last Sunday’s sermon, there is a difference between our loudest desires and our deepest desires.
My loudest desire was to run away from Africa. My deepest desire was to get spiritually and emotionally healthy so I could honor my three-year teaching contract without causing the school, my students, or myself to go kablooey.
Jesus’ Loudest and Deepest Desires
In the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and pray. His deepest desire was for them — not just that they would stay awake and avoid temptation, but that they would enjoy eternal life, freedom, joy and peace.
Jesus’ loudest desire wasn’t the same as his deepest desire. His loudest desire was to avoid the cross. He had glimpsed the fires of hell and separation from God. He sweat blood and asked Abba to take the cup of wrath away. Jesus’ loudest desire was to find another way for us to be saved.
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The disciples’ loudest desire was sleep. They were tired and full of Passover food; the night was dark and silent. They succumbed, and slept.
How did Jesus move past his loudest desires? Not by getting counseling, which is how I survived Africa. Jesus prayed through his loudest desires until he found his deepest desire…which was to do the Father’s will.
“Jesus is subordinating his loudest desires to his deepest desires by putting them in the Father’s hands,” writes Tim Keller in Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God. “As if to say, ‘If the circumstances of life do not satisfy the present desires of my heart, I’m not going to suppress those desires, but I’m not going to surrender to them, either. I know that they will only be satisfied, eventually, in the Father. I will trust and obey him, put myself in his hands, and go forward.”
Your Loudest and Deepest Desires
What are your loudest desires? Talk about them with fellow believers, in your community group, with your family. Who or what is demanding your attention, diverting your focus, distracting you from growing into a deeper relationship with Jesus? Don’t ignore or suppress your loudest desires. Attend to them. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, wisdom, insight. Listen.
Consider what lies beneath. Your deepest desires are primal and purposeful! You desire safety and security, peace and healing. You want freedom and joy, love and life. Those are natural desires. They’re what Jesus wanted, both for himself and for his disciples. They’re what Jesus wants for us, too. They’re why he died.
Put your loudest, deepest desires in Jesus’ hands. Ask the Holy Spirit to wake you up. Praise the Father for bringing you here, and pointing the way home.
If you already did this and were disappointed, read When God Says No to the Desires of Your Heart.
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