The Blessing of Knowing What You Want and the Courage to Ask for It

Vierling – Sacred Heart

Find your delight in the Lord
    who will give you your heart’s desire.

Psalm 37:4

One of the blessings of living in this area is the low cost of living, and as a result I am able to afford a lovely and spacious historic apartment on a modest salary. However, after moving so much I have downsized tremendously, I don’t even own a couch anymore, and realized I would need to honor this blessing by actually furnishing such a large space with quality and beautiful things to match. Well that was going to be a challenge, given how beautiful and quality is rarely if ever obtained without a large wallet, and I ended up randomly piping up about this quandary to my prayerful colleague. She has quite a gift for being resourceful and perks up over matters of interior design, so my quandary was welcome to her. After being asked what I ideally wanted in a couch, a question that took me by surprise as I have a tendency to downplay what I really want, I took her earnest query as a command to explore my true desires, and a kind of stream-of-consciousness wish list began which included the following:

“Pink! I want something pink! Pink velvet even!”

“Unique! Old! Antique! Wood? Nothing that looks like it came from Ethan Allen.”

“Not very comfortable!”

This last one was particularly amusing as rarely if ever is that on the wish list of desires for a piece of furniture you’re designed to sit on, but I quite like having to be forced into good posture by furniture. It seems… feminine. Keep me upright and awake Lord, let me not succumb to the sloth of too much cushion.

As I blurt out these desires to my colleague, I see a lightbulb go off for her, and she responds: “You know, I think I have just the perfect thing. I have these friends with these Louis XVI-style sofas that are… I kid you not… pink velvet… and not exactly comfortable. They’ve been looking for a home for them for the past few years, an antiques dealer won’t take them because of the pink, and they just want to give them to someone who appreciates them.”

Can I get a WITNESS.

A few weeks later these beautiful sister sofas – and to really gild the lily – a marble-top wood carved side table came to live in my new home, and in receiving the blessing, God has tickled me pink.

Perhaps we’ve been told before to “be bold!” in prayer. Or you’re heard that quote from St. Teresa of Avila that says: “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of him.” Perhaps instead of lacking boldness, you lack clarity in what it is you want. Surely, this is a kind of cart/horse situation where in order to ask great things of God, you must know what it is you are asking for in the first place. Often during the Rosary I pray for “whatever desires exist in Her Immaculate Heart” but also, by being on the same page with what we want and what God wants for us, it creates a deep union and intimate friendship that brings an unparalleled joy to life.

François Gérard – St. Teresa

What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit  to those who ask him?

Luke 11:11-13

So sometimes, in order to know exactly what it is we truly want, we have to crack ourselves open to the surprising possibility that sometimes God wants to give us more than we think we deserve. That in fact, it can be after a long stalemate, of things seeming to go wrong and being unfulfilled, of receiving snakes and scorpions aplenty, of being willing to receive a free couch on a curb, where things can accelerate by risking to surpass mediocrity. The moment we revisit what it is we are after, and really hone in on what may be buried in our hearts, and refuse to accept anything less, the life of the Spirit can let loose. To know our heart’s desires is to know the One who put them there, and the stalemate is broken. What Godspeed is given to the one who aligns the desires of their heart with that of the heart of the ultimate Giver!

If you find the reality of the generosity of God a bit spooky, start with little bursts of boldness, where you pray for simple quotidian things like finding the right mechanic or the right parish or indeed, how on earth you can honor the blessing of a home on a budget. None of our desires are unimportant to God, and fulfilling the hearts of His children is made possible by taking the time to know ourselves well, be unapologetic about what we truly want, and leaving room for God to surprise us. By giving up the idea that we don’t deserve anything good, knowing what our own eggs and fishes are, and actually approaching God with the confidence that he will not deny us His goodness, we can be assured to have a reservation for a feast on the life of the Holy Spirit. Go get dressed for dinner in boldness and bon appétit, fellow Christians.

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