Somewhere along my Christian life, I got into my head that God is all anyone ever needs. But my problem is I still want other things than God. Sometimes it feels like he isn’t enough. And that’s a hard thing to admit. It feels like to do so means I’m denying God. Is it okay with God to want anything besides him? Or does it mean being wrongfully discontent and distracted from true fulfillment?
In his book Desire, John Eldredge suggests a different idea. God designed us to desire. God wants us to desire. And God never meant to be our only desire.
Think about when life was exactly as God meant it to be. In the beginning of Genesis, God creates and then calls good all that he creates (Gen. 1:31). And you know what? God created man with the need for food. God’s creation was perfectly good just as he made it, but Adam still needed to eat, and God’s spirit alone wasn’t going to fill Adam’s stomach. God instead gave his image-bearer external sources for sustenance (Gen. 1:29). Did you get that? God was the provider, but the provision was outside of God. That wasn’t a result of the Fall; God meant it to be so.
You might be surprised that the first time God calls anything not good has nothing to do with sin. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Remember, man is still sinless at this point, but something was “not good.” God’s work was not finished. Adam needed a companion. Yes, he walked with God, and God could have “tweaked” his design. So what did God choose? He gave Adam someone else to talk to. Again, that all happened before sin entered the equation.
What does this tell me? My heart isn’t wrong for its desires. I’m not messed up for having needs God does not fill. I don’t need to repent for all I want and purge my heart. The solution isn’t to run away into the wilderness so that I can live off of God alone. God may tell me to fast for a time, but he will never say, “If you eat, you do not have enough faith, because you should be fully satisfied in me.”
God gives food, but he is not food itself. God provides, but he doesn’t become everything you need. Rather, he wants you to tell him your desires. Imagine that. You can actually go to God and talk with him about your heart. Then together, you can decide which desires are healthy and which are “not good.” God created you with a unique heart for a reason, and he offers you full life by first awakening your heart.