Lust is an ugly word. And the ugly reality is that I am a lustful person. Not for sex, mind you, but for many other things—a thinner body; a better past; a less challenging present; a fantasy future. Fattening foods. (Now that one really gets me in trouble when combined with the lust for a thinner body. I can’t have both, but I want both, so no matter which I get, I’m never satisfied.)
Lusting for a different past is one definition of insanity—or potential insanity, at least. Walking around wishing, intensely longing for the past to be different—that’s really not rational. It’s not helpful either. It’s the name of depression and despair. It’s not just crying over spilled milk; it’s pouring the whole gallon out onto the floor.
Lust (v): to have an intense longing or need; craving.
I have an intense longing or need to be needed. To be valued. To be wanted. To be included. To not be abandoned. To not be alone.
One way I can recognize lust in myself, is that I get upset, even hateful, when I don’t get what I want. I feel hateful toward pretty much everyone and everything. I feel hateful toward myself, toward others, toward life—and yes, I have to admit it—toward God. Think about it. If a person is hateful toward self, others, and life—isn’t that basically everything—isn’t that basically God?
How can I know when I am into lust, when I am lusting?
The answer to that is simple. I’m always into lust. As long as we’re mortal, we’re subject to the natural man—the “lusts of the flesh.” We might as well be honest about it with ourselves, with God and with another person (Step Five).
We’re always being tempted to lust after something.
Even now, as I sit here writing, I’m lusting (feeling intense longing) to get everything else done that I would like to accomplish this morning, even though that’s irrational. I’ve got to let go of something, I can’t have “it all.”
Wow, just admitting that truth has brought a wave of peace, of acceptance into my soul. It’s a paradox, but it happens consistently: I admit the truth about my lustful feelings and suddenly I don’t feel the need to act on them. Neither do I need to stuff them and or hide them.
Once I face the truth, I feel freed. My lust evaporates. How can this be? Jesus testified that I had to lose my life to find it (Matthew 16:25). I have to admit my character defects to have them finally begin to fade, like frost does in sunlight. I don’t understand it and it’s very painful (embarrassing, humiliating) to own my weaknesses.
But the miracle cure it provides me? That, I can’t deny.
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