Listening to Our Longings

by Sue Reeve

     Longings lie deep within the secret place of our hearts.

      A desire that won’t go away.

       A dream that doesn’t die.

       The inner voice that won’t be silenced.

        A flicker of hope that can’t be extinguished.

     In spite of sometimes improbable or seemingly insurmountable odds, longings keep bobbing to the surface of our imaginations. We may try to stop thinking about a longing, but then it arises once again, and we keep hanging on to a remnant of hope.

     At times we feel certain, but often it takes a while before we begin to wonder: Is it possible my longing originated in God’s mind?

     I’ve found the voice of longing can be tough to distinguish. Static of everyday busyness distorts the sound. Flags of doubt wave in my head. Unanswerable “how to?” and “what if?” questions keep emerging. I hear my resistance and uncertainty in statements beginning, “Yes…but…”

     Sometimes the voice fades for a season, but then it returns—persistent, gnawing. This tugging on my spirit reminds me of the days when a tenacious three-year-old, pulled on my shirt tail, insisting, “mommy, mommy, mommy,” until finally…

     I stopped and gave full attention to the voice.

     I wonder if the psalmist, David, was thinking about longings when he wrote Psalm 37. In verse 4, David declares, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

     When first introduced to this verse, I interpreted it to mean I was responsible for determining my heart’s desires after which I’d inform God so he understood what to give me. Later, in a spiritual aha moment, I realized, No, it’s not about you! The Divine Spirit establishes and aligns my heart’s desires with those of a trustworthy God.

     Honestly, it often takes me a long time before I act upon my longing. Sometimes I feel like a spiritually slow learner. (In reading biblical stories about David, I suppose that could also be said of the amazing author of so many of the psalms I cherish!)

     What I’m learning about those persistent, gnawing tugs is this. If my longing has been planted divinely, then all the details occurring in my every day, ordinary life will be used eventually to help establish the longing. I understand the truth behind the words of the insightful person who said, Whom God calls, God equips.

     When I keep listening to that interior whisper—the still small voice—in time the longing becomes clearer. Confidence grows until I’m convinced the longing is attainable.

     There are more layers to the matter of longings I’d like to explore. Next week, we’ll look at another–Longing for Relationship.

Listening on Your Journey:

  • What desire of your heart keeps returning, can’t be silenced or doesn’t die?
  • What comes to mind when you think about the psalmist’s words, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart?”
  • Considering your everyday, routine activities, in what ways do you think God may be preparing you to accomplish a heart’s longing?


5 thoughts on “Listening to Our Longings

  1. I have those longings. I have the “but’s” also. I get frustrated that the longings seem so distant. Delighting in the Lord is part of that too. The key I’m missing likely. Today He gives me freedom to delight or not. He loves me so much that way.

    1. Thanks, Frances. I loved your insight about God loving us SO much that He gives us the freedom to delight or not! The free will God gives us–coupled with the enormous and unconditional way in which He loves us–never ceases to amaze me. Keep “delighting in the Lord,” my friend!

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