What Do We Really Crave?

coffee5_1.jpgMy friend drove to Waco the other day from a city located several hours from here.  He has been living and working in this city for a number of years.  Now he is about to move.  He will be living in a new city, a new state, and will be working in a new role in ministry.  For several hours, we discussed some of the practical aspects of that role.

 
He asked me some wonderful questions.  I tried to be very honest.  At one point, he asked me a question to which I gave this answer:  "I haven’t done that very well.  I wish I had done better."  

 
There was a time when I probably would not have been that candid.  I probably would have minimized any weakness.  Yet, the other day, I didn’t feel threatened by my answer.  Maybe it is because I am at a point in life where I am less concerned with how I might appear or be perceived than whether or not I am being an authentic person in Christ.

 
I am also learning to embrace my humanness.  Staring face to face at my weakness, incompleteness, inadequacy, and mistakes is a reminder that only in Christ am I complete.  Hopefully, that signals a shift toward wrestling with internal issues instead of being focused on external appearances.

 
Jim Herrington, R. Robert Creech, and Trish Taylor write in their excellent book, The Leader’s Journey, the following:

None of us took on the sacrificial demands of leadership expecting to be buried in endless meetings and administrative details.  We wanted meaningful ministry, supported by a rich and purposeful life, full of significance.  Instead, we sometimes find ourselves busier than ever but going through the motions, with an emptiness clinging to our best efforts….  We may not be aware that what we crave is a supernatural transformation.

 
In his book Soulshaping, Douglas Rumford captures the essence of our dilemma: "Our search for something more out of life usually begins with externals….  We’ve confused activity with effectiveness, holding certain positions or titles with personal prestige, accumulating money with security, and sexual encounter with genuine intimacy.  We’ve been so caught up in these pursuits that we haven’t really considered what goals we were chasing — and what will happen when we actually catch them!"

 
(Jim Herrington, R. Robert Creech, and Trisha Taylor, The Leader’s Journey, p. 130)

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8 thoughts on “What Do We Really Crave?

  1. Authenticity follows satisfaction.  When we’re satisfied in Christ, filled with all the fulness God wants to pour into us, then the fears which act as thread for our many disguises come unraveled.   If our craving is for busyness in order to be seen, position in order to be honored,  or relationships in order to be popular, then we need some self-diagnosis.  Our misplaced cravings are indicators that we’re not completely satisfied with God.  Our adulterous hunger for something other than God will display itself in our own depression, frustration, anger, poor use of words, and constant worry.  The only cure is to seek more of God, and we’re in pretty good company if we pursue Him in periods of prayer and fasting.  Fasting "can" create craving for God, and in prayer we implore the Spirit to fill us up. 
    Lest I give the impression that I’ve mastered any of this, I haven’t.  I’m a work in progress, but more and more hungry for God and less and less satisfied with anything that pretends to be godly but isn’t.   I don’t like artificial sweetners. 

  2. I don’t like aritificial sweetners either Ben, but I do relate to Jim’s post.
    What I have discoverd is that what I really crave and what I generally fill myself up with in day-today church work is two different things.
     

  3. Jim I appreciate how you are leading by example even now.  Some times it is very hard to be authentic and transparent.  We feel "out of character" in doing so.  "We" are supposed to have it all together … men of the cloth you know!  The images that many have of ministers perhaps fosters that reticence too.  I have not arrived but I know I need to be … Thank you. Shalom,Bobby Valentine 

  4. Danny,I like the way you put this—what I really crave and what I fill myself up with are really two different things.

  5. Bobby,Thanks for the affirmation and encouragement.  For a lot of reasons, it can be very difficult to live in authenticity and transparency.I am a work in progress on this Bobby.  I see some progress but also see some need for movement as well.Hope your move has gone well. 

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