Our desires can become corrupted so that we pursue what’s important at the expense of what’s necessary. We exchange a higher-level story for a lower-level story. Growing up, I never felt good enough in my church. I was hyperactive and loud so adults would often make comments about my behavior. It made me feel not good enough in churches. And in some ways, while what I do today I consider a calling, a part of me knows that it was influenced by a need to be accepted by a church community – to let me know that I’m good enough. At the very least it was an early goal – to be good enough so that meant working in a church. If I can accomplish that then I’ll be happy. And it just didn’t happen for 20 years because I believe God needed me to be broken and realize that a relationship with Him is everything I need to be ‘enough’. In the second half of life, the desire and doing of ministry flow much more out of my relationship with God than from a past wound.
In my biological family, I was a middle child and my parents fought a lot. So I learned early to stay back, be quiet and try to be the good kid. This dynamic caused me to be an overachiever, a perfectionist. This goal of having to be the best made me feel trapped when I was raising my own family. I was bound by my own unspoken goals and simply couldn’t keep up to the degree I thought necessary. As a result, I spiraled into a depression and had to finally come to terms with my unrealistic expectations I put on myself.
For me, craving a sense of safety and security through work/career/salary turned work into my master. The work situation would cause me great anxiety but I would not attempt to look at it from a distance as I assumed keeping the job – rather than approaching God as the only source of safety – was the goal. This led to my feeling stuck and vulnerable and the loss of freedom.
Well, when I decided to have a family, to be a good husband and a good father, I certainly lost the freedom to do whatever I want with my time and money. Sometimes I wish I could just pack up and fly off and take a break. But no, I can’t do that. My single friends could and I envied them for it. But this was not a hidden goal. I can’t think of any specific hidden goal right now.
Requires certain behavior
If I pursue the goal of needing a certain relationship, I lose the freedom to be who I really am! It ties me to behave in a certain way, rather than respond and relate as God wants me to.
One of my “loss’ of freedom” came from the goal to have a wife. It resulted in a shallow relationship with Christ. When I decided to not make a wife my Goal. I decided to make my relationship with christ my goal. I was able to move out of the anger and self hatred and anxiety. I was able to move out of the things that held me back. And in pursuing God I then found a wife.
My greatest desire was to have a happy marriage and family. My parents’ relationship and the family they had were my ideals.
My hidden goal was to be loved and understood completely by another. I’m an introvert, I don’t need a lot of friends and people to affirm me. But, I wanted that one person who could meet my emotional needs and connect with me emotionally as we do life together. When this lesser desire did not meet my expectations, I felt trapped, I cannot leave and I cannot achieve my desire.
So the exterior goal was to use my profession as a veterinarian. Nothing wrong with that goal but the hidden goal was the approval and praise of those I served. I wanted to please them so badly that I lost my freedom to say no. I would place my performance and their approval above the approval of my wife and kids. I sacrificed a lot of time that could have been used for growth in my relationship with God, family and friends. I learned as a kid that I got the most praise when I performed well. This translated into feeling the best when I performed my job well and got praised for it. In the process I gave up a lot of freedom to say no when I should have and became a slave to this feeling of satisfaction that came from good performance and praise.
In my pursuit of the lesser desire to be safe and protected, I became very competent in my ability to manage my life on my own, and not, at first, realize my self-protection kept me in a cage. As my lesser need to stay safe in relationships grew, I became a slave to it, and subsequently, my deepest need for God was never satisfied.
Pursuing education and career in PT and when I could not pass the physics classes, then God called me into Nursing. That was His will and met the needs I had for relationship for 10 years, but as both He and I wanted more specific spiritual ministry, He brought me to that through struggles with medical personnel. Also, in church ministry, children’s ministry was my area for years but then he taught me that I was relating to children and the elderly in part because they were not threatening and I could control those caretaking relationships in an easier way than facing the demands of more equal and more personal relationships which involved vulnerability and more give and take interactions.
Wings clipped. I can’t soar with full-fledged wings. I took the leap of faith to move out to pursue my goals – not just once, but a few times. (not marriage, but jobs).
Always wanted to be married and nave a successful marriage, wanted to make my wife happy and kids and never have a divorce, have what my parents failed to do at a critical time in my life, well after a divorce of my own, and a lot of soul searching I discovered I was replacing my number one relationship that with the trinity with that of my wife and kids, the focus was more on what security i got from them and that relationship than the true relationship that could bring me true peace and joy.
If I believe I have to stay in a marriage that is heart crushingly difficult at times “because I am a Christian” (but outside of the power of
God) I can easily turn to victimhood or martyrdom. But when I respond to this is the mission field that God has called me to, to love the one He has given me, I am free to depend on Him to love through me and not from my own power, which is impossible.