success stories

Posted October 3, 2003

Book: Dare To Desire: An Invitation to Fulfill Your Deepest Dreams
Author: John Eldredge
J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee, pp. 116

Excerpt from Book:

Some years into our life’s journey, a voice speaks to us amidst all we are doing, "Something is missing."

The voice often comes in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning, when our hearts are most unedited and vulnerable.

At first, we mistake the source of this voice and assume it is just our imagination. We fluff up our pillow, roll over, and go back to sleep. Days, weeks, even months go by and the voice speaks to us again:

"Aren’t you thirsty? Listen to your heart. You long to be in a love affair, an adventure. You were made for something more. You know it."

It’s common for our journey to begin with a sense of discontent, or of being lost.

Starting very early, you see, life teaches all of us to ignore and distrust the deepest yearnings of our heart. Life instructs us to suppress our longings and live only in the external world where efficiency and performance are everything. We learn from parents and peer, at school, at work, and even from our spiritual mentors that our heart — the deepest truest us — isn’t wanted.

Instead, we are wanted for what we can offer functionally. If rich, we are honored for our wealth, if beautiful, for our looks, if intelligent, for our brains. So we learn to offer only those parts of us that are approved, living out a careful performance to gain acceptance.

We divorce ourselves from our heart and live a double life.

The external life is what everyone sees — the life of work an play and church, of family and friends, of paying bills and growing older. Bob is an accountant; Mary works for the government; Ted is an attorney. Here, in the external life, "busyness substitutes for meaning, efficiency substitutes for creativity, and functional relationships substitute for love."

In the outer life we live from ought — I ought to do this — rather than from desire – I want to do this.

Think about how a man’s life unfolds nowadays. Endless hours at a computer screen; selling shoes at the mall; meetings, memos, phone calls. Corporate policies and procedures are designed with one aim: to harness a man to the plow and make him produce efficiently.

But the soul refuses to be harnessed; it knows nothing of daytimers and deadlines and financial statements. The soul longs for passion, for freedom, for "life."

Can a man live all his days just being punctual an productive? Is that what little boys dream of? Is that what "you" dream of?

Most men in the church seem to believe that God put them on earth to be good boys. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don’t know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But if they will try hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming a really nice guy. Now, male leaders, in all your boyhood dreams, did you ever dream of becoming a nice guy?

Ladies, was the prince of your dreams dashing? Or merely nice?

The world kills a woman’s heart when it tells her to be tough, efficient, and independent. She learns early that she must fight for herself because no one else will. There is no great adventure to be swept up into, only chores and errands and "to do" lists. And the arrows that pierce her heart over the years leave her doubting that she is the beauty in any story.

Can a woman live like that? Is that what little girls dream about? Is that what "you" dream about?

Most women abandon those dreams of youth for some sort of competence to secure their places in an unkind world. The need to be bright and successful. They must be hard workers who can created a brilliant marketing campaign, throw an elegant dinner, and cart kids to soccer on time without losing the loveliness that every magazine tells them is possible to possess even during a downpour.

Sadly, Christianity has missed a woman’s heart as well. Walk into most churches in America, look around, and ask yourself: what is a Christian woman? There is no doubt about it. You’d have to admit a Christian woman is "tired." All we’ve offered the feminine soul is pressure to "be a good servant."

Ladies, which would you rather have said of you — that you are a "tireless worker," or that you are a "captivating woman?"

And men, which would you rather be said of you: "Harry? Sure I know him. He’s a real sweet guy." Or, "Yes, I know all about Harry. He’s a dangerous man . . . in a really good way."

I rest my case.

. . . If you are to ever find yourself, you must find what God has set in your heart. Instead of asking what you ought to do to become a better man or woman, ask "what makes you come alive?" What stirs your heart?

When God created the masculine and the feminine hearts and set them within us, he offered us an invitation: Come and live out what I meant you to be.

Table of Contents:

An invitation
Taking up the journey
True north
Desire’s homecoming
Embracing the journey