I am desire.
The desire to become something different, to attain a new identity, is something that is unique to humans; it separates us from any other species. In the animal world, animals just exist. They do not strive for a better life. Animals do not aspire to do or be more. Animals are merely focused upon their own survival. While we as humans are focused on survival as well, we desire more. Finding a place where our needs are provided is typically the place from which we start our quest for meaning and significance.
Even if we live in a comfortable environment with access to many forms of pleasure and recreation, we still vigorously seek more. For some reason, we believe that if we could just attain something more, then our identity would be complete. Unfortunately, we do not know what attaining this elusive identity will bring about until we attain it. Typically, one elusive quest is quickly replaced by another elusive quest for identity. Unfortunately, our quest for identity can be misled by a host of outside forces. Marketing and advertisement firms inundate us with images that tell us what we should pursue.
Options of identity are being thrown at us from virtually every direction. Each option has its own unique appeal. In a day of multiplicity and complexity, the all too elusive genuine person is hard to find. Many are authentically confused about who they are and who they desire to become. Oftentimes, competing visions of our identity do not offer us too much; in fact, they often offer us too little. As we know, humans are complex, and thus no simple solution resolves the desires of our heart.
People experience anxiety over providing for themselves and their families. Universities are full of students accumulating debt hoping for financial security from their educational investment. Singles are wondering when they will have enough to settle down and potentially have a life akin to past generations. Anxious middle-aged couples attempt to balance raising children and caring for aging parents, while simultaneously working full-time and attending school in the hope that they can advance their careers. Men and women over fifty wonder if they will be able to retire anytime in the future. Thus, the identity that many are pursuing is just having enough, being a producer in a time when production seems harder and harder to accomplish.
To be human is to crave relationships. Relationships are wonderful, needed, and important. Relationships are difficult, messy, and untamable. The relational world is quickly changing. Many of our closest friends are known through the use of technology. Even our relationships can have a plastic quality to them due to the lack of face-to-face encounters with others. Many wonder if who they are on social media is a true reflection of who they are as a person. Many are connected to thousands of “friends,” yet feel alone behind their phone.
Whatever calling we are given, whether it be a fast-food worker, a stay-at-home parent, a fireman, a mechanic, or a lawyer, we must understand it as a platform to love our neighbor. This Thanksgiving I want to express my deepest thanks to the fact that I have the God given ability to desire. To become more for myself, my children, my family, and my God. The people around me are real; you reading this, I value you and I’m overwhelmed with the joy to reach out and spread the potential that we all have within us.