freedom, intimacy, temptation

What Are Your Desires Telling You? (Could It Be Something Different Than You Think?)

What comes to mind when you read the word “desire”?

Desires can show up in many different ways in our lives. Certainly, some of them are good to have, but others we may recognize as being sinful or unhealthy. We can try to squelch them, but then they can pop back up again somewhere else.

Do you believe your desires are something good to have, or are they something you need to restrain, ignore, or squelch?

For years I saw many of my desires as “bad” and something I needed to numb, ignore, or somehow squelch.

That didn’t work (at all).

I don’t think that works for most of us.

Could your desires be telling you something different than you think? 

From the very beginning of our lives, we were designed to connect with God and others. We were all created for connection, intimacy, and to be loved. We were also created as sexual beings, and this is something God created as good within the boundaries He has provided for us.

I minister to many women who wrestle with their sexuality, pornography, emotional affairs, and entangled relationships. It can be easy to look at their desires as something they need to either figure out how to cut off, give up, or extinguish in some way.

One woman may attempt to meet a desire to be loved by having a physical affair with someone, while another woman may attempt to meet her desire for connection by watching pornography or becoming emotionally attached to someone in an unhealthy way. Another woman may try to meet a desire to be loved by being a people pleaser.

Here’s what I know now:

Many of us have desires that are actually God-given desires, but we can sometimes try to fill them in unhealthy or sinful ways.

(This is one of the reasons that when we try to squelch our desires, they just pop up somewhere else.)

When we attempt to meet our needs outside of God’s design for us, this is where idols show up in our lives. An idol is anything or anyone we put above or before God.

Throughout the span of our lives, we have many opportunities to meet our desires (of all kinds – not just sexual ones) in ways that honor God, or we can attempt to meet our needs and fulfill our desires in selfish or sinful ways that separate us from Him. 

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”.

Jesus wants to meet our desires! When we delight in Him, our hearts should begin to line up with Him and what He has for us.

  • What desires have you had that have gone unmet?
  • In what way(s) have you tried to meet those desires on your own?
  • What do you crave?

I know for myself, I spent many years attempting to meet my desire for intimacy and connection with pornography and fantasizing about being with other women. I tried to stop and realized I wasn’t able to stop so easily, so I decided that I should try to numb that desire.

I thought my desires for intimacy and connection were sinful.

I went back and forth between indulging in these desires and trying to shut them down. What I didn’t realize, though, was that these were God-given desires that I had been attempting to meet in selfish and sinful ways.

The roots of those desires were God-given.

When I began to realize that the roots of those desires were God-given, this started a process of untangling my emotions and actions and releasing much of the shame that I was carrying. These desires were first met by building intimacy with Jesus, and then it flowed down to my husband and then my close friends.

I used to persistently attempt to squelch something that is now being met in a way that honors God.

I didn’t settle for anything. I gained so much more than I once thought I lost.

As I learned how to meet my desires in ways that honor God, I found that my desires were (and are) fulfilled much more often, instead of feeling the continual pull and compulsion and drive for more that I felt with pornography, fantasy, and unhealthy relationships. 

  • Do you see any areas of repetitive sin in your life or strongholds that you may have been trying to numb or turn off?
  • Are there any desires that you have been trying to squelch, but they keep popping back up?
  • Could these desires in any way be connected to the love, intimacy, and connection you were created to have, or maybe another God-given need that you have?
  • What are some ways that you may be able to meet those desires in a way that honors God?

You don’t need to dig for answers. (Please don’t do this to yourself.) The Holy Spirit can give you wisdom when you ask for it without you having to dig for it. He may not give you that wisdom today, but if you are open to hearing from Him, He will show you what you need to see in time. 

I pray this encourages you and ultimately brings you freedom!

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