“Back in middle school I asked my mom, “Why shouldn’t I just go party with all of the other kids?” I remember her saying, “Because you want More.” I am almost twenty-two years old now and I still want more. I want more from/for myself. I want more from my relationships. I want More from this life.”

These words from my daughter’s journal give a glimpse of her journey of desire. Whether we are thirteen or sixty we all know what it is to long for more – to want passion, purpose, and people in our lives who engage in mutually fulfilling relationships. In fact, if you were to write out right now what you long for – what you ache for, dream about, persistently pray for – I doubt that anyone would read your words and chide you, “Oh, you shouldn’t want that.” When we can articulate our heart’s desire, we mostly long for good things.

The next question that inevitably arises is, “Why doesn’t God give us what we want?” Why doesn’t he grant our requests for husbands who are spiritual leaders, children who love and serve God, and friends who are there for us?

When our longings for legitimate, good things and our confusion about God’s delay or seeming refusal to give us what we want collide, we might determine to take care of our needs ourselves. As the songwriter crooned, this is when we “go looking for love in all the wrong places.” We search for something that will relieve the pain and disappointment in life and allow us to recreate a world – even for a few hours – that takes care of us.

That’s how addiction grows and gains a grip on our hearts and souls. At about my daughter’s age – in my early twenties – I discovered alcohol. I found something that erased the pain, eased my uptight tendencies, and let me off the hook from wanting so much. It made everything better until it made everything worse, but by then I was hooked.

Maybe you can relate. People-pleasing, food, work, sex, perfectionism, gambling — allure us into chasing a feeling, a release, a sustained comfort, a sense of ease – a coming home. That is what addiction is all about – feeling exiled from what we were made for – the elusive More, we become willing to go to desperate and destructive lengths to come home. Of course this home of addiction turns out to be a haunted house, full of ghosts and darkness, which only intensifies our longings.

Make a list of all the things you thought would satisfy you, only to discover they faded as your longings grew. Meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:18: “There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”