I have been curating stories for a blog project called, “Found Wanting.” This series will end in several weeks, and I am thankful for each person who has submitted a guest post. If you’ve only just arrived, I hope you’ll catch up on the stories below.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was not uncommon for him to approach the sick and sin-sick with this question: “What do you want?” In John 5, he speaks with a man lying next to the healing waters of Bethesda, a man who has been an invalid for 38 years.
“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’”
The man seizes an excuse. “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.”
Was it too much for this man to hope for healing?
What is too great a risk to invite the responsibility for walking again?
There can be fear in desire: fear that we will want what God will always refuse to give; fear that we will not want whatever God, in his sovereignty, chooses to give.
Ultimately, we are profoundly afraid of ceding into the hands of God our trust.
I’m grateful for those willing to share their stories of desire here. I’m neither applauding nor condemning their stories: rather, I am amplifying their desires – and reminding each of us that to be human is to want. In my book, Teach Us to Want, I write, “Desire takes shape in the particularities of our lives. We cannot excerpt desire from the anthology of our stories. Our desires say something about us – who we have been, who we are and who we are becoming. They tell a part of the story that God is telling through us, even the beautiful and complicated story of being human and becoming holy.”
To catch up on the series, read these featured stories:
Amy Chaney, “I didn’t want to be a coach’s wife.”
Beth Bruno, “I’ve wanted beauty.”
Wendy Stringer, “I didn’t want to move to suburbia.”
Steve Burks, “I’ve wanted to produce entertainment.”
Faydra Stratton, “I didn’t want a child with Fragile X.”
Brook Seekins, “I never wanted to be a missionary in Africa.”
Sarah Van Beveren, “I have always wanted to be strong.”
Holly Pennington, “I didn’t want to find out what I wanted.”
Larry Shallenberger, “I wanted to know what I wanted.”
Hannah Anderson, “I didn’t want – because I couldn’t afford to.”
Megan Hill, “I want your blessing.”
Bronwyn Lea, “I wanted a boyfriend, college scholarships, permission to sleep over at the popular kid’s house.”
Jennifer Tatum, “I’ve wanted to be a woman of faith, but . . .”
Sarah Torna Roberts, “I didn’t want to be broken.”
Suanne Camfield, “I want a bigger house.”
Courtney Reissig, “I wanted a baby.”
Cara Meredith, “I’ve wanted it all.”
Anonymous, “I want to not want marriage anymore.”
Deborah Kurtz, “I wanted a husband.”
Ben Jolliffe, “I wanted nothing.”
Charity Singleton Craig, “I wanted to get married.”
Hannah Vanderpool, “I didn’t want to stay in America.”
Dorothy Greco, “I don’t want to doubt.”
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, “I wanted security.”
Today, Kris Camealy shares her story of desire.
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I’ve wanted to be known.
I flush with embarrassment to admit my intense desire to be known, and not merely to have friends, or to be well liked (though those are part of it). Rather, the desire to be known that shames me was an ugly lust for notoriety. I wanted to be known for what I accomplished, craving both recognition for me as the accomplisher, and admiration for the mighty works of my own hands.
It is most honest to say that I fashioned an idol out of fame and worshipped heartily at its base. This admission of where I’ve been makes me sick with grief, but I share it now, because in this way, I can give testimony to the good mercy of God.
I believe we all have an indwelling desire to be known. We are created in the image of God, who himself desires that all of His creation would know Him. Adam and Eve walked in communion with God, fully exposed, fully known, lacking nothing. I found myself hungering for this same intimacy, this kind of pure fellowship, and believed, for a time, that the world’s recognition of me, would serve to satisfy a heavenly hunger.
The redemption of this in my life came only by way of a hard humbling. When God brought me low, his gentle, persistent mercy and blatant outpouring of grace coupled with His instruction, by way of His inspired Word, redefined what this desire ought to look like in the Christian life. God passionately pursued me into a wilderness of my own making, where He himself fed and nourished my heart, broken by shame and regret. I had gotten it wrong, but God’s jealousy brought my desires into their rightful place.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another,” (Isaiah 48:11).
It was in this desert, where God showed me that He bears intimate knowledge of who I am. This realization transformed my desires to be known. Knowing that I am deeply known by God changes everything. When a soul is matched with its Maker, and the passionate love of God fills the human heart from within, being known by man proves itself to be a shallow, vapid desire that cannot possibly fulfill with any lasting meaning or hope of satisfaction. My desire to be known has been replaced with a passion for making HIM known.
Because I know my natural bent, when I fear my desires I only need to surrender them to God. He gives wisdom and transforms my human hunger into a spiritual one. I crave the things of God, because in them I find soul-satisfaction. My delight in being known by God binds my heart to His, and in this communion with my Maker, He aligns my desires with those that are pleasing to Him.
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As a sequin wearing, homeschooling mother of four, Kris Camealy is passionate about Jesus, people and words. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about life in Christ. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. Kris is the author of, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and the follow up, Companion Workbook. You can read more from Kris at kriscamealy.com.