What do you want?
This time last year, I was struggling with the after-Christmas blues, but not the usual kind. I was trying to discern God’s direction related to a decision I had been contemplating – one I knew would radically change the next season of my life. As I wrestled with God through a process of silence, prayer and journaling, and meditating on God’s Word, I was seeking assurance of His good and perfect will for me. I longed for more – more of God, more personal ministry, but was unsure of the best way to pursue it. My spiritual director asked me, “Deneen, what is it you want?”. I knew what I wanted, but I thought I should be discerning what God wanted. As I was seeking God’s heart in the matter, the idea of discussing what I wanted didn’t seem all that spiritual – too much focus on me. And could I really trust what I was feeling? As we unpacked this together using passages like Psalm 37, I was reminded that walking with God and delighting in Him leads us to oneness with Him.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and
He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:3-4)
Abiding with God is transformational – it yields the fruit of aligning our hearts with His. Surely, we must resist viewing God as a genie who grants our every wish. But our Creator gives us passions and desires for his glory and for His Kingdom. When we choose to dwell and delight in the safe places He has chosen for us, our longings for union with Him deepen and we are transformed in our innermost being. Our thoughts and passions, when properly focused on the person of God, offer boundless freedom and pleasure as we serve and delight in Him. Here, we are no longer enslaved to our fears and sins, but empowered by the Spirit. We have permission to boldly step into the work of His Kingdom here on earth.
Thinking through these truths transformed my discernment process through the rest of 2022.
With God’s help and assurance, I confidently navigated in faith towards fulfilling my heart’s desires, while holding them loosely and giving God complete control over my destiny. And in that process, as I waited for what would come, I experienced a new freedom in Christ.
Although I began 2022 focused on my longings and the unknowns; I ended up spending the year trusting and delighting in the One who gives us the desires of our hearts. With freedom and boldness, I made decisions and stepped into spaces where my desire for more of God would be satisfied.
As you begin 2023, I invite you to sit silently, trusting, delighting and enjoying the Lord, journaling your thoughts and desires for God and His Kingdom work. Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away (Song of Solomon 2:10-13) and behold the transformation He will do in you for His Kingdom and glory.
-Deneen McDonald (a contributing member of Crown of Beauty)