All women long to be loved. It is a natural and good desire, but it can become a perverted demand. The longing for my husband’s love and affection was the primary factor in developing my destructive fierceness. I was hurt every time I felt he somehow neglected me or failed to demonstrate love and affection. And in my pain, I lashed out in ugly retaliation hoping to get his attention, hoping he’d recognize my need for him to come to my rescue.
Rather than lashing out at the husband, some women retreat into their private world of romance novels or mental fantasy when they feel neglected. Every day, lonely wives make connection with a potential lover via the Internet’s many social media sites. Other women try to stifle their longing for love with food, prescription drugs, or some other addiction.
I’ve spoken with women who’ve turned to alcohol, cutting, masturbation, even crystal meth to satisfy longing. The drive to fill your life with pleasure isn’t wrong. But attempting to substitute the Living Bread with addictive substitutes is like filling your mouth with gravel (Proverbs 20:17).
You may be flirting with the lure of an attractive substitute, a seeming “innocent” Facebook connection or spending long hours in erotic fantasy through the pages of a magazine or novel thinking, “I can handle this . . .”—all the while chains of enslavement are silently encircling.
Let me encourage you to consider what or who you are looking to for happiness, comfort, fulfillment or joy. Where are your desires leading you and what is the source of those desires? I need to warn you, if you want to get serious about making a careful search in answer to these questions, you may uncover some messy idolatry.
I’ve never bowed down to an idol made of gold or wood, but I’ve practiced idolatry. An idol is anything other than God that we look to or seek after for our fulfillment, security, and happiness. Idolatry starts with a desire, it can be a good desire. Wanting affection from my husband is a good and healthy thing, but demanding his affection indicates my desire has grown into an idol.
Isaiah describes the irony of looking to anything other than the one true God to bring complete fulfillment. He says it’s like feeding on ashes. The woman seeking relief for her longing through narcotics, cutting, or alcohol will only become more enslaved to that addiction. If LeRoy would have attempted to fill my craving with his affection, it still wouldn’t have brought my heart complete satisfaction. It couldn’t.
The only answer to the heart’s deepest longing is found in clinging to Christ.
How are you fulfilling your heart’s longing?