I have often questioned what it is that we most desire as humans. So I often ask the young people I work with “What do you want most out of life?” Answers have included; fame, wealth, status, sex, making a difference and many more. But the most common thing that is said, which everything boils down to, is that people want to be happy.
As we discuss what truly brings people happiness, most will eventually get to idea of love and relationships. But over the years, I have noticed that even though people have family and friends who love them, they often still feel alone and even depressed. I know that there are many causes for this and that mental health is a serious concern, (which people should seek professional help for).
But it has made me question what it is that we are desperately wanting. Why is it that so many people seem to be so unhappy?
I’m still not 100% sure and I probably never will be, but I over the New Year I think I just got a little closer. I was reading Timothy Keller’s bestseller “The Meaning of Marriage” which aims to describe the Biblical vision of what marriage should be. Many of my friends thought this was quite the laugh considering that I was single.
However, I thought that it would a good idea to educate myself rather than just basing all my opinions solely on what I have heard and seen.
It was a great read and whether you’re single or married, young or old, Christian or not, I think it has a bit of gold for everyone.
But what stuck with me most was a quote that said; “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Desire to be loved
It doesn’t matter how old we are, how much we have or where we are from, we all have a desire to be loved. But people can only love what they know of us. If we hide our fears or insecurities or mistakes from our loved ones, they are only be able to love us to a point.
However, the more that we let people know of ourselves, the deeper and more genuine love becomes. As we do this, the sense of safety, trust and commitment builds and slowly the openness becomes easier.
But it’s a scary idea trusting our loved ones with the things we wouldn’t want anyone in the world to know. Because we fear that if they truly knew us, that they might not love us anymore. It’s the fear of rejection, betrayal and judgement. The more we let others know about ourselves, the more vulnerable we become.
But it is in this vulnerable place, where we slowly let our loved ones come to know all of who we are that we find the one thing I believe we desire more than anything else in the world: Intimacy. To be truly known and fully loved. To be loved in the way that God loves us.
It is this is intimacy with friends, family, partners and God, that I think is the missing piece to the puzzle of our lives.
Ethan grew up in Mt Roskill, Auckland. While finishing a degree in applied theology from Carey Baptist College, he moved slightly east and began working as pastor at Eastview Baptist Church, where he has been for three years. He loves getting out in nature, having a laugh and having deep conversations about life and faith.