What is Your Deepest Longing?
by Mark Votava
Over the years, I have developed a longing for God at great expense. My family has not understood my passion. They have wanted me to pursue an upward mobility of money, career, prestige and possessions. I have not wanted these things for myself.
- Distracting me from all I want in life
I have not wanted these things because I know what they would do to my soul, to my growth, to my formation. They would kill my imagination. They would kill my longing for God. They would distract me from all I want in life.
- Wanting an authentic spirituality
What I want is an authentic spirituality in which I can seek God holistically being a part of the body of Christ in everyday life in the place I live. Nothing else matters to me that much. I don’t seem to care too much for money, prestige or possessions.
- Wanting to live with the poor
I want to live with the poor. I want to practice a contemplative spirituality. I want to share life with others in my neighborhood. These are the things I most want.
- Taken some bumps and bruises along the way
My longings lead me to such things. But our culture does not want to see its counterculture it seems. So I have taken some bumps and bruises along the way.
- My longings will not allow me to quit
It has not been easy all of the time. It has taken a life of discipline to create. It has taken a mystical imagination to sustain. Sometimes I think I want to quit, but my longings will not allow me to.
- I cannot ignore my longing for God
They are too developed within me over the years to ever forget about their leadings. I cannot ignore my longing for God. I cannot ignore my neighbors who need love. I cannot ignore the place I inhabit.
- A boundary I will have to live with
I cannot ignore my imagination. My parents are probably still upset with such an “irresponsible” son who has renounced many things in life, but that is a boundary I will have to live with. I need to live the life God has called me to in my own authentic way.
- Growing up as a Catholic
I remember growing up as a Catholic. My parents took us to church almost every Sunday. I did not like church that much and never thought about God really. But I remember having a distinct thought one Sunday morning which I had never thought before.
- I could not imagine anyone ever giving their life to God
A thought crossed my mind, “What if some ordinary person had given their entire life to God? What would that look like?” Then I had a second thought quickly after that, “That would never happen.” I could not imagine anyone ever giving their life to God. Why would anyone want to do that?
- God has been cultivating my longing and imagination
But as time has went on, I am coming to see that I am becoming that person in my thoughts who has given his entire life to God. God has been cultivating my longing and imagination for a long time. I still don’t really like institutional structures that much, but God has been cultivating a longing for a holistic counterculture within me. I want to influence the body of Christ today in our postmodern culture to do something different in the world.
How has God been cultivating your longing throughout life?