Resolution Podcast

Episode 5 - The Foundation of a Thriving Life: The Seven Longings Part 2

June 08, 2020 Resolution Season 1 Episode 5
Resolution Podcast
Episode 5 - The Foundation of a Thriving Life: The Seven Longings Part 2
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Resolution Podcast
Episode 5 - The Foundation of a Thriving Life: The Seven Longings Part 2
Jun 08, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Resolution

Continuing in part 2, Ben Bennett shares what he and Josh McDowell have found leads to a thriving life. Based on Biblical, psychological, and sociological research Ben explains the Seven Longings that will lead you to a life of wholeness, purpose, and thriving.

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Show Notes Transcript

Continuing in part 2, Ben Bennett shares what he and Josh McDowell have found leads to a thriving life. Based on Biblical, psychological, and sociological research Ben explains the Seven Longings that will lead you to a life of wholeness, purpose, and thriving.

Join the Movement:

Our Website
Facebook
Instagram

Watch this Episode on Youtube

Welcome to Resolution, an initiative of Josh McDowell Ministry. Here we equip you to help youth overcome hurts and struggles and start thriving in life with Christ and others. I’m your host, Ben Bennett. Welcome to Season One. 


Hey, everyone. Welcome back again to the Resolution podcast. If you were with us last time, you’ll remember that we started talking about part one of the Wholeness Apologetic. This is all about true wholeness or the completeness that comes from God’s design for human flourishing – the completeness that comes from God’s design for human flourishing – and we talked about a thriving life, the life that we are created to experience and how much of thriving – no matter what we try – much of it comes from healthy relationships and the way God has designed us to function. 


It comes from having a healthy relationship with God – knowing him as our personal creator, our friend, our savior, the one who’s with us day in and day out – who’s not obsessed with our sin, but who’s obsessed with a relationship with us, and who loves us deeply and is always with us. It also comes from a healthy relationship with ourselves – with knowing who we are and our value and having healthy thoughts that are biblical about how much we’re loved. It also comes from healthy relationships with other people – where we’re known, we’re loved, we’re accepted – where we experience affirmation and knowing that we matter. We started to talk about the seven longings that drive everything we do in life. 


We talked about acceptance, we talked about appreciation, and we talked about affection and how powerful those things are when they’re satisfied and how much we feel known, how much we feel confident and capable, and how much we feel like we matter. We talked about how so much of that being fulfilled leads to a better life – a life of satisfaction and of thriving and of health. Today, we’re gonna get into the rest of the seven longings. There’s about four more – there is four more – that we’ll be talking about today and then we’ll get into some application and next steps. So, picking up where we were last week, we will start with access – the longing of access. 


This is to have the consistent emotional and physical presence of key figures – to have the consistent emotional and physical presence of key figures – and this longing when it’s satisfied, it communicates, “I’m important.” “I’m important.” Jesus is described in the New Testament as Emmanuel, God with us, and God has always been with his people. In the Old Testament, in the New Testament, he has gone out of his way to dwell with his people and to make it possible because he cares so much about being with us and being accessible to us. Psalm 73:23 says, “Yet I’m always with you. Behold me by my right hand.” Our God is omnipresent – meaning he is all places at all times. He’s always with us. He is always accessible. 


I remember when Josh McDowell shared with me that years ago he was at home in his office working on a chapter for a new book and his son, Sean – who was two at the time – stumbled into the office and wanting to play with his dad and to show him his new ball that was in his hand. Sean asked him to play, but Josh asked if they could do it later because he was in the middle of a chapter. Of course, Sean was too young to know what a chapter was at that time, but he got the message. His dad was busy and unavailable. He walked off without complaining and Josh returned to work. But within minutes, Josh’s wife, Dotty, came in and sat down. 


Dotty said to Josh, “Honey, Sean just told me you were too busy to play with him. I know that this book is important, but I’d like to point something out. I think you have to realize that you are always gonna have contracts and you’re always going to have deadlines. Your whole life, you’ll be writing and doing other projects, but you’re not always gonna have a two year old son who wants to sit on your lap and ask you questions and show you his new ball.” Josh responded, “Honey, I think I hear what you’re saying and you make a lot of sense, as usual. But right now, I’ve got to get through with this chapter.” “All right, Josh” Dotty responded, “but please think about it. You know if we spend time with our kids now, they’ll want to spend time with us later.” 


Josh was convicted and it wasn’t soon before he found Sean and started playing with him because he didn’t want to give Sean this impression that he was less important than a chapter or even a whole book. He wanted to meet his son’s need, his longing, for significance by letting him know he had access to him – by being present, by making himself as available as possible to him. So many people in our world do not experience this. So many teens don’t experience this. I’ve met so many young people who have a father wound or a mother wound because their dad, their mom, may have been physically present but they weren’t there emotionally. They were emotionally distant. They didn’t enter their world and that communicated that they weren’t important. Other things often seemed to be more important to their parents – to the authority figures – in their life than being there for them when they needed them the most. 


The next longing is attention – to be known and understood with someone entering your world – to be known and understood with someone entering your world. This communicates, I’m understood. King David wrote, “Oh, Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. Every moment you know where I am.” The Hebrew word there for “know” is [Speaking Hebrew 00:07:24] and it means caring involvement. See God had so much more than just an intellectual knowledge of David. He was caringly, he was lovingly, involved in David’s life. God cared deeply about him. God wants to be lovingly and caringly involved in our lives as well and he is. He knows everything about us – out thoughts, our interests, our opinions, our likes, our dislikes – and he cares. 


As busy as God is ruling and reigning over the entire cosmos and creation, he cares about us. He takes time to engage with us, to talk to us, to listen to us, to take interest in our lives. God designed us to do the same with others – to ask people questions, to know their likes, their dislikes, their thoughts, their opinions. This means entering other people’s worlds and knowing what they’re interested in and being interested in what they’re interested in. A friend of mine, Daniel, has lived this out so well with his three little boys. He knows all about their interests, their likes, their dislikes. He loves learning about those interests and lavishing gifts upon them. He’s the coolest dad ever. And two of his sons recently were really into dinosaurs. 


They had saw one of the Jurassic Park movies and were so stoked about T-Rexes. So, what did Daniel do? Well, he secretly ordered an inflatable T-Rex costume and waited for them to get off the school bus. The school bus pulls up and there is Daniel waiting – dressed as a T-Rex – and his two boys come running down off of the school bus and start chasing him around and he’s chasing them and playing with them and they’re so excited. You should have seen the look on their faces. It was one of pure delight and I think what was more important to them than seeing their dad all of a sudden transform into a T-Rex was knowing who their dad is – knowing how much their dad cares – and knowing that their dad knows them. He’s involved in their lives, that he’s for them, that he listens to them. He takes interest and cares about their opinions and their thoughts and their beliefs. 


That’s how God is with us. What a beautiful picture of a God who delights in us, who seeks to understand us and know us. He is a God of attention and of meeting that longing of attention in our lives. The next longing is affirmation of feelings. This is to have our feelings affirmed, validated, or confirmed by others – to have our feelings affirmed, validated, or confirmed by others – and this communicates, “I’m embraced. I’m embraced.” Romans 12:15 says “To rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” It can be my tendency in life to want to fix things. My friends will come to me with a problem or share something that happened and I can instantly want to intervene and offer unsolicited advice and opinions – never helpful. 


What they need in the moment is to be affirmed – for me to listen – to empathize with them because to try and offer them advice is bad timing. They’re hurting or they’re confused. They need comfort. They need to know their feelings matter. This came up recently in my life when a friend of mine came to me and shared about some of the frustrations she had on a particular day. And in that moment – rather than like I have in the past or my tendency can be to ask all these questions and seek to understand – what I did instead was I sat and I listened. I gave some verbal cues – some mm-hmms – and tried to empathize with her and feel what she was feeling before trying to offer any kind of solution or ask more questions. 


I just validated her experience and the frustration she was feeling. And she said, “Thank you” and that it meant so much to her. And that brought us closer in our friendship. But I know there’s been times in my life – particularly when I was a teenager – that people came alongside me and affirmed my experiences. They sat and they listened and that offered so much validation. It caused me to be more and more open and to want to go to them next time something happened – one, because I knew I would be listened to but two, I started to open up and then be willing to ask for help and receive it. 


Rather than trying to deal with issues and struggles on my own, I was much more willing to seek out the help of others. The final longing is assurance of safety. This is to feel safe, protected, and provided for emotionally, physically, and financially. And this longing communicates “I’m secure. I’m secure.” See we crave more than just being told, “Everything is gonna be all right.” We long for the assurance of our safety and security. We want to feel confident that we will be protected and provided for emotionally, physically, financially, all of those ways. Therapists and author, Dr. Mark Laaser, describes it this way. “We want to know that we are materially secure, that we have food and a place to live, and enough money to support ourselves. 


We want to know that we are spiritually safe, that our God is a God who will not pull the rug out from underneath us, that he is a God who keeps his promises. And we want to know that we are emotionally secure, that those around us are reliable, that those people who say they love us can be counted on to act loving.” When this longing is satisfied, it produces the sense of stability, the sense of safety, and the freedom to enjoy, to explore, to play, to experiment in life without fear. We know that God is ultimately our protector and our provider. Jesus said in Matthew 6, “If he provides for the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, how much more will he provide for us as his sons, as his daughters? This is who our God is.” But kids, teens, even us as adults, we need a physical representation of that in others – in a parent, in a spiritual mentor, a spiritual leader, in a friend – somebody to be like Jesus with flesh on to us. 


So often our view of authority figures gets copied and pasted onto God for good or for bad. We can’t help but view God the way we view authority figures in our lives. If we’ve had negative experiences, a lot of times we’ll view God negatively. If we’ve had positive experiences with authority figures, some of those attributes will view God in a similar way. So, we’re wired to have these longings met perfectly in the Garden of Eden. But obviously, we don’t live there. We experience hurt and loss and unmet longings, which we’ll be talking about in future episodes. So, if we’re not finding the fulfillment of our longings in healthy ways, we’ll start to see out unhealthy ways, unwanted behaviors, struggles, things we get stuck in as ways to attempt to fulfill our longings. 


But when we experience these longings being met by God and this personal friendship with him we experience him being accessible – his acceptance of us, him encountering us and experiencing his love, being known by him, when we experience the love and acceptance, the safety that comes from healthy relationships with our friends and our family, when we believe how much we matter, how much we belong and are valued as human beings made in the image of God as the pinnacle of creation – we start to truly thrive. It’s so important to have experiences again and again of these longings being fulfilled because then we can start to believe that we are loved, that we are safe, that we are valued, that we do matter, that we are capable. 


Those experiences are what God so often uses to bring healing and freedom and renewed thoughts and beliefs about God and ourself and other people in our lives. And I know in my life that the majority of thriving has come from being known, being accepted, feeling safe from God, from other people, experiencing the fulfillment of my longings by my closest friends, my family who truly loves me and that is so satisfying. When I think about the things that bring the most satisfaction, they’re not in my personal success, the amount of money I make or don’t make, my achievements, the number of people I’ve spoken to, the number of articles or books I’ve written. 


It wasn’t getting a college degree – although that was important – but when I really think about it what brings the most satisfaction it’s about experiencing the fulfillment of the way I was designed, experiencing the fulfillment of my longings and helping other people experience the fulfillment of their longings. It’s encountering God, his love, knowing him deeply, not worrying or getting anxious or being fearful about my safety or what’s gonna happen in life or whether I’ll be materially secure or not. It’s knowing that God’s got me, that he provides, that he loves me. It’s encountering those healthy relationships with God, with self, and with others. So, what we need to help meet the longings in the lives of the youth in our homes and in our churches, we also need to encourage them to dwell on how God has and is meeting the longings in their lives. 


For example, we can encourage them to think about the ways that God has provided for them relationally, physically, the able bodies they might have, financially, that they might have a place to live in where they have food and shelter. So many ways God is providing for them. We can remind them of how God is showing up on a daily basis, blessing them, causing good things to come into their life and that’s him showing his acceptance and love towards them. So often being aware and consciously thinking about all the ways God might be meeting our seven longings and dwelling on that is so helpful because he is meeting our longings. Some of the times, we’re just not aware of how it’s actually happening and remembering and meditating on those things, but that causes a fulfillment of the longing when we dwell on those things. 


Another thing we can do is to encourage youth to think about how God sees them and to dwell on that relationship with themselves and to think those healthy, biblical thoughts, that they are the pinnacle of God’s creation, that they’re made in the image of God, that they’re not worthless, but that they have infinite worth, that God determines their worth and he did when he created them in his image. Plants, animals, the rest of creation were not created in the image of God with infinite value and dignity and intellect and reason and the ability to create like humans can. But humans were created that way. Encourage young people to think about that, to dwell on that, to remember what Jesus did for them on the cross and how he paid the penalty for their wrongs and has forgiven them and loves them and wants a closer and closer relationship with them. 


Remind them that he’s a personal God. He’s speaking to them. He’s affirming them in daily life. And encourage them to dwell on those things and then to start thinking about the people in their lives who maybe don’t know God, who don’t know Jesus, how they can come alongside them and talk to them, meeting their longings and share with them this God who created them with desires with longings to be fulfilled, who wants to know them personally and invite them to a life of satisfaction, of thriving, of purpose, and that they’re here for a reason. Also, as you’re listening or watching this episode today, I don't know how everything is landing with you. 


Maybe you’ve been thinking about the longings and you’ve been thinking about how some of those have gone unmet in your life and you’re feeling maybe a loss or hurt or maybe shame like, “What’s wrong with me? Why have those gone unmet?” I want to encourage you today that it’s never too late to move forward and experience healing and restoration and resolution, that God invites you to find full satisfaction of your longings in him and in safe people and he wants to invite you into new healing experiences that change you, that heal you, that restore you. Or maybe you’re thinking about the unmet longings you might have contributed to in someone else’s life. Maybe it’s a spouse, a significant other, a family member, maybe a son or a daughter, or maybe a teen in your life. 


Maybe you’re thinking about these longings and how, “Oh, man, I’ve caused a lot of longing – an unfulfilled and unmet longing – in their life because I haven’t fulfilled it or I’ve done something wrong.” I want to encourage you and remind you today that there is grace – that it’s never too late to move towards people. It’s never too late to apologize and own up to those mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and move towards a better future together – one of helping meet those longings in the lives of that person that you care about deeply. So, I want to encourage you today to think about which of these longings have been met in your life. Where have you experienced God meet them and others meet them and how has that impacted you? How has that made life better and helped you thrive? 


We’ve got to tangibly identify how God has met us and shown up and helped us thrive because this next generation and young people are asking, “How is Christianity any different? How does Jesus change life here and now?” And these will give us tangible ways to share with them how Jesus has impacted our lives in the here and now. Second, think about the young people in your life. What longings might they be struggling with and how can you be there for them? How might God use you to bring resolution to unresolved or unmet longings in their life. How might God use you to impact their life, to share a message of hope, of healing, of freedom, and of salvation to them as God gives you these opportunities to talk about him, to move towards them, to be a safe person, and to help fulfill their longings? 


What a huge opportunity we have in our day and age to thrive ourselves and to help young people thrive by understanding these seven longings and moving towards them and telling them about this Jesus who cares for them, who loves them, and wants to invite them into a thriving life of satisfaction, to fulfill their purpose and their potential, and to make an impact in this world. I hope you enjoyed the episode today.