Design of Desire: The Delight of Desire

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan concludes our Design of Desire series by looking at the relationship between the desires of our hearts and our ability to delight in God. That can be an uncomfortable connection to make, since many of us are all too aware that the things we desire sometimes seem to be very far from the heart of God.

“How do we address the complexity and the disruptive convolution of desire, particularly as we own the reality that there are desires within us that we simply know are excessive, or grandiose, or dark and perverted?”

At a core, foundational level, desire shapes who we are and what we do. So how do we wrestle with this disparity, the idea that the desire for lunch and the desire for the living God might actually intersect? Many people try to conform themselves to “good” desires and shut down the rest. Others indulge the “bad” desires and, if immediate pleasure gives way to destructive consequences, conclude that they were wrong to have desire in the first place.

“We have to live with the reality that desire is not as crystal clear as we have made it. […] It is not a simple binary.”

Dan continues by sharing the following excerpt from an article by Sam Eldredge, son of John Eldredge, over at

“One of the most helpful ideas I have clung to in recent days is this simple thought: God is the Creator of everything I love.

Mangoes, rivers, sagebrush, chipmunks, wheat, hops, coral, manta rays, laughter, humor, gas giants floating in space, pterodactyls, rest, sunshine, the tide. Add to these the fact that whoever this extravagant creator is also gave us the gift of imagination and creativity that we might join and add our own: water boxer engines, poetry, impressionism, bluegrass, wine presses, telescopes…

The world is more vast and more wonderful than any fairytale.

It is filled with playfulness and power, from the breaching whale to the shooting star.

Only when I stop for a moment and remember that everything, everything I find beautiful and full of wonder and worth living for was set there by the Creator does my isolation shatter.”

—Sam Eldredge, “The Creator of Everything I Love”

Every desire, says Dan, even those that seem misguided or distorted, reveals something about who God is and how God has created us. He points to a famous G.K. Chesterton quote along those lines: “A man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”

“What do you want? How is it that you have been written by the living God? You—heart, mind, soul, body—unique, unlike any other in the universe. Indeed, you bear a life, and a face, and a story, that is meant to reveal something about the very goodness of God. Your great calling, your great task, is to come to taste what your heart desires, what you really delight in.”

We can’t forget that, as Dan said at the beginning of this series, there is a war for desire. The enemy of God seeks to distort and darken our desire and to convince us, then, that the desire was wrong in the first place.

“The deepest desire is for union and fellowship, for all that God created. As simple as it may sound, all desire is moving us to a kind of exposed hunger, to a naming of our own woundedness with regard to the losses and traumas of desire, to a kind of restoration and healing with Him, a newness of freedom to be able to say, I love desire, I bless what you’ve created, but in that creation, it is for the creator that my heart most deeply holds the sweetness of delight.”

Remember, this series is barely scratching the surface—desire cuts to the heart of God’s intention for creation and our capacity for living meaningful, compelling lives.

If you want to explore these ideas more fully, we invite you to join us for the Design of Desire Conference, October 3 in Houston, Texas.