The fragrance of you

Desire arises… again. I thought I had mastered that longing in my heart. I thought I had submitted and surrendered it to the LORD. And I did, but there’s something about being human that periodically draws me back to revisit the desires of my heart that have not yet been realized.

This process of surrendering all to God, and at the same time continuing to pursue my God-given dreams, creates a tension within me. I have felt the increase of this tension mounting in the last several weeks. My heart has been stirred as I have read and heard many encouraging words about the promises of God being fulfilled lately.

But the problem with anticipating the promise for which my heart longs, is that on the other side of the promise is a history of disappointment. For years I have longed for the fulfillment of this dream. For years I have believed for it, and declared it, and learned to worship in the midst of it.

And yet, in the waiting, I have felt an intensified tug-of-war wrestling for my attention. I have been tempted to view my life from the vantage point of those who have what I want… which is not helpful. 

Looking at another’s life who has been blessed with the fruit of my dream, is not only unprofitable, but destructive. Here, I realize that comparing my life with another’s takes me out of worship, and catapults me into the enemy’s camp where comparison leads to a begrudging spirit that begins to resent and divide.   

This affects not only my own heart, but it also starts to separate me from others, and from God. What does this train of thought lead to? Accusation. Yes, this initially “innocent” comparison can lead to an offense that ends up accusing God—of not fulfilling my dream. This is the enemy’s plan. He wants me to blame God and either rise up in anger, or wallow in self-pity, depression, and hopelessness.

What is God’s heart for us? Can we trust His sovereignty and goodness in our lives—even when we don’t understand? Can we allow our desires to bring us to Him? Will we consider that perhaps this very thing for which we long is a gift that teaches us how to fully come to Him? Desire clarifies our heart. And, it gives us something of value to offer back to God in worship.

What made Mary’s gift of breaking the alabaster jar and lavishing costly oil upon Jesus so precious? The value was in her giving her whole heart. She gave her dignity, her love, her longing for Him. She gave the sustenance, and possibly the destiny, of her life to Him. The value was in the extravagance of her sacrifice. She gave everything.

How does this apply to us today? Does giving everything mean that we no longer have anything? No. God wants us to have full hearts and lives; He wants us to dream, and prosper, as we steward the desires of our heart. The question is: what do our desires prompt in us? Do they tempt us to look at what we do not have and compare, or do they bring us to our King in holy worship?

Is His gaze our focus, as we offer Him the sacrifice our heart as a fragrant offering? Are we willing to say, “Yes LORD, I want my desires fulfilled… but I want You more. Like Abraham waiting for Isaac, I give them back to You, and I love you more. More than my health, my marital status, my children, my provision, my fulfillment…”

I believe each of our lives have their own fragrance that we have the unique ability to offer up to God when we put our gifts, talents, dreams, and life circumstances on the altar of the LORD. Imagine the savor your life gives to God when you trust Him and worship Him with the desires of your life—especially when things are hard!

Giving this love offering is the greatest opportunity every human being has in this life. May we live with this perspective and learn how to extravagantly give the most treasured parts of ourselves to Him, like Mary did.