There is a rhythm to life. A friend of once swore that everyone moved to the beat of “Baba O’Riley“. He took me for a drive around town while the song played over and over to prove it. The exercise was a strange one, but it does acknowledge that my friend sensed what most of us sense: that there is an order and elusive natural rhythm to things. In life there is back and forth; up and down. Nations rise and fall. Life runs us through mountains and valleys in unequal parts. Governments expand and contract. Seasons come and go and come again. The ocean ebbs and flows. I’ve read that our physicality actually has its own rhythm. That is, that your body, mind, and soul has something like a “natural order.” Or, as Bagger suggests in The Legend of Bagger Vance, that we all have that one true, authentic swing that we must find.
This is on my mind today because I’ve been wrestling with a revelation I had during a recent prayer time. I had my list and had gone through it. The time with God was very dynamic and conversational. I prayed for my two daughters and my wife. I felt like I had hit the exact mark. I prayed for several friends. It was worshipful. (How could it not be. I was in Colorado.) I felt like I had hit on all the needs and expressed my heart to God in a way that was sincere. Then I heard this: “So what do you want?” And you know, the answer to this simple question was very difficult for me in that moment.
Rhythm arouses desire, but also controls it.
This was about desire. That I am unable (or unwilling) to express my deepest most sincere longings of the heart reveals much about my own story. We are asked to listen to our desires—the deepest longings of our heart. In a culture that condemns malcontentedness, consumerism, and materialism, we draw the quick conclusion that our deepest desires are bad, dangerous, or destructive. So we suppress desire. We kill it. And honestly, if you want to play life safe, it makes sense to take your desire and put it somewhere far far away. Of course there are risks associated with listening to your heart and they are great. When we allow ourselves to hope we also make ourselves vulnerable to great loss. And totally giving into desire, absent of control or governing, is a path to ruin. And this is why we have been given the rhythm of life. Rhythm arouses desire, but also controls it. Finding our one true, authentic swing, allows us to move easy in the harness. Jesus tells us, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” What is this if not an invitation to desire?
So in the journey I’m on I often think back to Shunammite woman found in 2 Kings 4. She had helped Elisha by providing a room to use as he traveled between two communities. You’ll have to read it. But basically when Elisha asked her, “What can we do to re-pay you? Anything at all?” She told them there was nothing even though, if you read it, you’ll see that what she had actually done was killed desire to protect herself from disappointment. Perhaps she have vowed, “I’ll never put myself in a position to be let down again.” Sound familiar? And then there is the time when Jesus asks a blind man, “What do you want me to do?” For the blind man to say, “Make me see” is the equivalent of praying for a million dollars. Sure, it would be good to have a million dollars. (It would be great!) But do you dare ask for more? It’s almost like Jesus is daring me to ask the question that’s on my heart.
So what do you want?
We can be sick in a lot of ways. One of those ways is being out of the rhythm that God has called me into. The rhythm is a convergence of authenticity and healing. It’s knowing your heart and the story God is allowing to be told through it.