“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20
As a child, I loved stowing things away in an old-fashioned rolltop desk.
If you have never experienced one, it’s an antique style of desk with small drawers and perfectly-sized compartments for tucking away life’s treasures. When done working for the day, a slatted wooden topper rolled down to cover your work in progress. The desk’s tiny cubbies were sized to stow my childhood drawings, diaries and treasured scraps of paper, hidden beneath the smooth protective cover.
Exactly as I stored away treasures in that old desk, I imagine all of us carry this same stowaway spot for the longings in our hearts. These are the dreams that stay with us no matter how much time and life has passed. Despite how unrealistic or outlandish, these holy longings never go away. The tucked-away hopes stay in the secret cupboards of your soul, where only you and God have access.
Some of my holy longings are more superficial than holy. Things like finally learning to surf, living in a cottage in the South of France, driving down Highway One in California in a convertible, and becoming a modern-day Nancy Drew mysteries writer. While these holy longings are good, they are not great.
I think this is precisely why they remain as holy longings. They are placed by God for a reason. No amount of covering them up or pushing them deeper in the recesses of your soul can ever make them go away. The holy longings will remain until we are ready to do something with them or finally find enough reasons to believe they are significant.
I believe other holy longings are universal for everyone. Longings to be loved, to be significant, to belong, to make a difference, to believe we have a purpose that is meant for us alone. These longings are more about who we are versus what we accomplish or have. I think these holy thoughts are how God sees us putting our gifts into the fullness of our days. These are the very best sort of holy longings.
More than surfing or writing a good fiction novel, my holy longing is to be on purpose for God. My hope is to encourage others, to write interesting words that spur others on and to see more of Him. I still do have the self-indulgent longings like to take exotic trips and to have more adventures in life. I think God loves those too. We serve a big God who wants us to have a life in abundance, filled with joys and things that are life-giving. Those whimsical, outlandish, and crazy ideas are also God’s hopes too.
Perhaps it’s a perfect season to consider Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
What new thing is God up to in you? My hope this year is to nurture more of the holy longings into the light. To first acknowledge they are there and consider how I can put more of them into action. I believe those longings are meant to spur us on to how God can use us in greater ways than we can imagine.
What has God tucked away in you? What’s your holy longing? Are you ready to bring it into the light and see what God might do with it? Are you ready to open the cupboard and take a risk for God?
The holy longing there for a reason. God intended you to use your gifts for Him. Not because it’s self-indulgent. Not because it’s about achieving or accomplishing more. It’s there because it’s the way God made you and it's the holy longing He placed personally in you.
Those holy longings are His tucked away hopes, meant to bring forth to shine for His glory.