“Dig deep. Find your way to your soul.” –Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures
I want. I want more. Everyone wants. Money, food, sex, possessions, fun, achievement, admiration… Want is definitely a part of the human experience. It’s inescapable.
We mostly try to do the impossible. To escape the wanting. To quell the craving. Even to shame that wanting part of ourselves. To say to the part of ourselves that craves, “This is not acceptable. This is not good. I must extinguish this wanting. I must learn not to crave anything at all.”
This dissonance between who I am and who I have believed I am supposed to be is in my story. Is it in yours?
Sometimes it’s about food, sort of. On Sunday morning I had a frozen caramel latte (extra shot, no whip of course!) on the way to church. Around noon I was on my way to school to work in my classroom for awhile, and I wanted another espresso drink. I really, really craved one. I was hungry for more of that milky coffee flavor, and I knew another dose of caffeine would motivate me through a few hours of work when I’d rather be at home. So I drove through Starbucks and got an iced caramel macchiato.
You would think the voices in my head would say, “You don’t need that.” Or, “You shouldn’t spend your money on that.” Or, “You shouldn’t eat that much sugar.” But they don’t. It’s my money and my body, and those choices are mine to make. It’s not that I believed that I was making a healthy or financially responsible choice. It’s just that guilt and shame weren’t present in the decision making.
No, the voices were actually saying: “You shouldn’t want this. You shouldn’t crave this. You shouldn’t be hungry for more. Why are you always hungry for more? Your desires should fit in the boundaries of moderation.” The guilt and shame is not about the food. The story of the expensive coffee is one, small, mostly uninteresting part of a larger pattern. In your story, you might replace the expensive coffee with binge-watching a TV series, or playing a video game, or shopping. The hunger is human experience. The object of the hunger is just details.
“I am a hungry woman. I am hungry for love, for acceptance, for belonging, for meaning. I am desperate for God. I am aware of the aching abyss inside me of which many have written.” –Stasi Eldredge, Becoming Myself
What if this hunger is not a brokenness, but my true, beautiful nature? What if God made me this way so that I would not be satisfied with myself, satisfied with this world or with the empty things we find here, but always wanting more? What if my always wanting more is meant to show me what God is like, always bigger, always more than I can experience? What if this always wanting more shows me what I am, as an eternal being, as a soul who one day will not be confined in an earthly body?
“What we need is a relentless appetite for the divine. We need a holy ravenousness.” —Jason Todd
This ravenousness is beautiful. It gives me a great capacity for life, for love and fun and achievement. It keeps me moving forward, always growing and changing and learning. It shows me what my relationship with the divine can be, what I can be.
So I encourage you, as I encourage myself: Go deep. Let the hunger be big, let it be beautiful. Dive into the insatiable abyss and seek what your soul is truly wanting.