As I was pasting my image to this post I realized four out of my five biggest loves in the world are present in this picture…Charlotte, yoga (pants), a book, and my reading hammock. Only my baby girl is missing from this photo. Oh, my reading hammock! Best money I have spent on myself in a very long time! The Lord knows how much a love that hammock! Most of this book was read in it. Yes, in it; not on it. One is enveloped in a hammock. It’s a simple pleasure that I recommend to all readers. It makes reading outside all the more enjoyable.
The Journey of Desire: Searching for a Life We’ve Only Dreamed Of by John Eldredge is a book about understanding desire and embracing it. John writes that “we must journey to find the life we prize.” His best friend’s sudden and unexpected death as a result of a freak accident during a hiking trip was the catalyst for ruminating about life and people in general and whether we are all living the lives we desire. Most people would give anything to be able to answer honestly that they are in fact living the lives they have envisioned for themselves. However, most people will probably answer that they got caught up just trying to pay the bills, put food on the table and raise their kids. Dreams and desires, over the years, seem somehow to quietly fall by the wayside. First, we convince ourselves that our desire has turned into a more realistic contentment and when we’re no longer noticing, that contentment quietly and sneakily turns into indifference. When we finally notice what we have allowed to happen, our comfortable and familiar indifference, suddenly rudely awakened, becomes discontentment.
“We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you. Whatever we might gain – money, position, the approval of others, or just absence of the discontent itself – it’s not worth it. ‘What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’ (Matthew 16:26 NIV).” Because he had just mourned his best friend’s untimely death, life and desire were now the two most fundamental notions seeded in his brain; notions which had taken root in his subconscious. He couldn’t let these thoughts go and so, came about this book. “Desire, both the whispers and the shouts, is the map we have been given to find the only life worth living.” This is probably my favorite sentence in the book.
This book is impeccable. It is so well written! I couldn’t put it down. The author is Christian. Thus, so is the book’s genre. But before you dismiss it, please know that this book is meant for everyone. If you must read it from a secular point of view then simply substitute the word “Jesus” with “the Universe” or “the Light.” The book’s message is universal. For those Christians out there that will perhaps one day read this review, this passage is the main reason why I got so hooked on the book because there was so much truth to it:
“Christianity has come to the point where we believe that there is no higher aspiration for the human soul than to be nice. We are producing a generation of men and women whose greatest virtue is that they don’t offend anyone….The greatest enemy of holiness is not passion, it is apathy. Look at Jesus. He was no milksop. His life was charged with passion…If the way to avoid the murderous rage and deceptive allures of desire is to kill it, if deadness is next to godliness, then Jesus had to be the deadest person ever. But he is called the living God. ‘It is a dreadful thing,’ the writer of Hebrews says ‘to fall into the hands of the living God…For our God is a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 10:31; 12:29 NIV) God is a deeply, profoundly passionate person. Zeal consumes Him. It is the secret of His life, the writer of Hebrews says. The ‘joy set before him’ enabled Jesus to endure the agony of the Cross (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). In other words, His profound desire for something greater sustained Him at the moment of his deepest trial. We cannot hope to live like Him without a similar depth of passion. Many people find that the dilemma of desire is too much to live with, and so they abandon, they disown their desire. This is certainly true of a majority of Christians at present. Somehow we believe that we can get on without it. We are mistaken.”
Good, huh? Like I said, the book is spectacular!
“The loss of sensitivity that Paul is referring to here is the dullness that most people accept as normal. It actually leads us into sin, sensuality, and lust. The deadened soul requires a greater and greater level of stimulation to arouse it. This is, of course, the downward spiral of any addiction…Our problem is that we’ve grown quite used to seeking life in all kinds of things other than God…And so May comments, ‘The more we become accustomed to seeking spiritual satisfaction through things other than God, the more abnormal and stressful it becomes to look for God directly.'” WOW! So much truth in these words.
I honestly, cannot think of anything that I disliked about it. Ultimately, the book is an homage to his best friend, Brent. It ends so beautifully. You will inevitably shed a tear. It is a must read! I gave it five (5) stars on Goodreads. Enjoy!