A friend of mine referred me to a book by Mike Bickle titled the Seven Longings of the Human Heart. I did some searching around for a synopsis just in case I wanted to pluck it up—or at least keep an eye open for it on the Free Book Shelves here at work. Books like this tend to cycle through fairly regularly.
Bickle’s premise is aimed at the seasoned Christian reader (probably evangelical, though I can’t explain why I get that impression exactly). The most basic message seems to be that in God, all of these pure desires can be fulfilled. And further: that if we become close and intimate with the God who loves us, we won’t be in despair when we can’t find our deepest desires fulfilled by imperfect people or temporary pleasures in this world. I’m sure there’s more to it, but I suppose we should all read it for ourselves to find out.
From what I’ve read so far (which I admit is not enough), a non-Christian or even a new believer might get lost in the christianese vocabulary and tone. I want to open this topic up to people of all belief systems, since I think these most basic desires do apply to all of us.
See the seven desires after the cut.
1. The longing for assurance that we are loved.
2. The longing for enjoyment
3. The longing to be beautiful
4. The longing to be great
5. The longing for intimacy without shame
6. The longing to be wholehearted and passionate
7. The longing to make a deep and lasting impact
One thing I like about Bickle’s ideas are that he doesn’t frown on these desires and call them selfish, vain, or foolish. They appear to be the most basic wants of an emotional being (and whether we like it or not, we all are emotional beings). Just like we cannot separate our minds from our bodies, I also think we cannot separate our emotional needs from our essential survival. Yes, we need physical sustenance: food, water, air, and so forth. But don’t we also need to know love and find a sense of purpose? If we do not have a fulfilled self-identity, can we survive? If we continue to eat drink, and sleep, can’t we still be empty and self-destruct?
Of the seven, I am not overly concerned by #6. I do struggle with being that way sometimes if I feel stifled or limited. When I have to hold back, I don’t feel free to be as passionate and wholehearted as I naturally am about things that inspire me or fascinate me.
On the other side of the coin, I am constantly searching for #1 (aren’t we all?), #5 and #7. It seems these are like sand slipping through my fingers most of the time.
Many of my most painful times in life have come because I ached to know I was loved; I did anything I could to steal that sense of love for myself—even stooping to cheap or foolish places.
In my relationships I yearn for complete and total intimacy; I want to lay myself out naked, inside out, and be safe knowing who I am and that it’s okay to let down my barriers and stop pretending.
And in the long run, #7 truly comes into play. I wonder what difference am I truly making on the world around me. To be honest, I’m no tidal wave of change or inspiration. I haven’t done anything “great” or overtly meaningful in what seems like too long. At least in my observation, my life has been fairly droll and selfish.
So how do we find fulfillment of our deepest longings? Do you struggle with one more than another like I do? Are you content in some areas, yet still aching to fill an empty void in your heart?
Feel free to grab this book at your library or bookstore. And if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the deeper exploration of these desires.