Whenever I hear the word “wishes,” the first thing that comes to mind is a genie in a lamp. To be specific, Genie from the Disney film Aladdin. After countless re-watchings of Aladdin and ice-breaker games in group settings, I always found myself wondering, if I had three wishes, what would I wish for?
When presented with that question, I would ask if I could wish for more wishes. Of course, the answer was always “no.” 10-year old Marissa would then try to find a loophole, such as a wish machine that would grant me countless wishes.
You’ve gotta give me credit for trying…
As the years passed, different things found their way onto this imaginary wish list. I can’t help but ponder the things that I truly desire in life. I’m talking about the things I strive for, whether they’re items or accomplishments, that ultimately drive my actions.
Some of the desires we have can be for good things, but ultimately, what are our motives for the things we desire? Do we desire these things out of selfishness? Envy? Lack of contentment? Pride? Laziness?
When it comes to desires, perhaps you’ve heard or read the following verses before:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
If you’ve grown up in the church, you’ve probably heard the following phrase: “remember, God is not a genie or vending machine that gives us whatever we want.” That’s completely accurate. Just like how parents won’t cave in to every request that their toddlers make at the grocery store, not everything we desire on our own accord will be given to us. And if that’s the case, then what’s the point of the two verses I just shared?
Simply put, it’s not a matter of what our hearts desire — it’s a matter of Whose heart we desire to have.
I believe that one of the ways we can have a truly fruitful life is by living according to God’s will for us. God has uniquely created each of us with different spiritual gifts, talents, and passions, and we can use these to bring Him glory. Having said that, what would our lives look like if we prayed the following:
“God, give me the desires of Your heart. Let my desires be led by the plans that You have for me during my time on Earth.”
I’m going to be honest, this can be a scary prayer. It’s a prayer that relies upon absolute faith and trust. It requires the relinquishing of control, surrendering all plans we have for the future to God. We all have dreams and desires, and this prayer means that they can be compromised.
This doesn’t mean that God will replace all the desires of your heart. He may add to these desires! However, if He does replace these desires that burn within our hearts, will it not be better than anything we could ever imagine? They are no longer our desires, but are now the desires of God’s heart. Is it not safe to say that the Creator of the universe’s plans and desires for us are better than anything we could orchestrate?
If God has new desires to place on our hearts, are we willing to accept them? Are we willing to take that step of faith, boldly asking that He helps us pursue His plan for our lives?
Going back to the verses I mentioned earlier, of course we can share the desires of our heart with God. As our heavenly Father, we can approach Him with all the matters of our hearts — our joys, fears, thanks, desires, and requests. But above all, we should desire His will and the desires that He wants to place on our hearts. When we look at the two verses from this perspective, it makes quite the difference!
So, if we pray for God to give us the desires of His heart, what will this look like? To be honest, I can’t tell you. As a finite being, I can’t say what God’s plans are for you. I don’t even know what I’m going to have for dessert tonight (okay, maybe I do). But what I can tell you is that the greatest desires and dreams for our futures can by no means compare to the lives we can lead by pursuing God’s will.
Some of these new desires may affect the way you interact with others. Perhaps they will lead you to engage in new activities, ultimately strengthening your relationships and presenting opportunities to love others. A desire for singleness or marriage may allow you to serve others in a capacity you never could have imagined. Maybe you will forgo a lifestyle you thought you’d always pursue, leaving it behind as you share the Gospel with others around the world. Whatever these desires may be, they will be more satisfying than anything we may attempt to pursue without Him.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me.