I love taking walks around my neighborhood any time of year, but springtime might be my favorite. This time of year, everyday there are changes to the trees, flowers, and grass. New blooms show up, barren trees become new and green again, and fresh bright hues remind me that the world is colorful. There is something about it that causes me to slow down, pay attention, and recognize the beauty in front of me. Desire and hope are brought to life in my own soul, each time I get to experience the spring season.
However, I can sometimes feel resistant to being present in spaces that are beautiful or captivating to me, even when I’m on a lovely walk or in a conversation with my husband and dreaming about our family’s future. Do you ever feel that? Do you ever have thoughts like, Well, winter will come again soon enough, I can’t get too used to these flowers or, I would really love for this certain thing to happen in my life, but it probably won’t, so I shouldn’t even admit my desire out loud. For me, cynicism can easily become the default; it’s usually safer to shut off my heart and give into self-protection. It can feel vulnerable and risky to enjoy beauty and admit what I want.
I recently read the book Desire by John Eldredge who writes, “Our desire, if we listen to it, will save us from committing soul-suicide, the sacrifice of our hearts on the altar of ‘getting by’.” When I read this, it felt like an invitation to return to myself and to God by admitting desire. While this admission can feel scary to me, I have to believe that this risk is worth it. I believe God wants more for me, and for all of us, than to just resign ourselves to self-protection. To choose cynicism and self-protection is to harden my heart.
As I read this book, I felt compelled to really consider what my soul longs for and how I am squashing my desires, how I distract myself from them. Do you ever feel like you are just “getting by” resigned to thoughts like, Well, I guess this is just how life is now, there’s no point in wanting anything more, and If I can just get through the day and to the weekend, that will be good enough?
I trust that there has to be more, that God wants so much more for us than just getting by, being distracted, and numbing out. To begin discovering this, we must ask ourselves these questions:
We cannot afford to ignore these questions, otherwise we will go numb and be shut off from God, from ourselves, and from the world around us.
Of course, just because we acknowledge them doesn’t mean every desire will be met; at the end of the day, we don’t live in Eden and Jesus has not returned yet. No, we won’t always get what we want, and certainly winter will come again. It’s right to admit this. But I believe there’s a way to acknowledge this reality with a soft heart, resisting the temptation of cynicism. There’s a freedom in knowing that not everything will be perfect here on earth, but that we can have hope for our desires to be fully met one day when the earth and God’s people (us) are restored. One day, we will be fully satisfied in God. Tears will be no more, relationships will flourish, depression and anxiety will leave and never return. I believe God wants all of us to be awake to these good desires, knowing that they might not fully be realized now, but that certainly their fulfillment is coming.
Being fully alive and present starts by allowing ourselves to acknowledge what our souls really want and enjoying the beauty of a moment without fear of it ending. It is risky to engage life in this way, but I think it must be worth it. I’m thankful to God for the springtime, as the fresh blooms draw my eyes up to see beauty in a tangible way. Maybe the newness of this season is one way God reminds us that good things are still to come.
Megan began counseling at The Barnabas Center in the summer of 2022. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she studied Psychology, Religious Studies, and Mandarin Chinese. She received her Master of Arts in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando. Megan lives in Charlotte with her husband, Jon. She loves to spend quality time with friends, go on walks/hikes, and travel to new cities. She enjoys drinking quality coffee, watching shows, and doing yoga.
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