You Are What You Love
James K.A. Smith in his wonderful book You Are What You Love gives us some wise guidance for living our lives. You are what you love. You are what you actually love in your daily habits, not what you think you love. Your desires determine your identity and your destiny. Your desires pave the path of your life trajectory.
Russian film director Andrei Tarkovski tackles this theme in his movie Stalker, considered by many to be a cinematic masterpiece. Set in what seems to be a post-apocalyptic future, the story focuses on the title character, Stalker who is a guide to two characters known only as The Writer (who seeks inspiration) and The Scientist (who seeks a discovery). They make a dangerous journey into a mysterious region called The Zone. This journey into the center of The Zone is filmed as a long odyssey, almost a spiritual pilgrimage.
It’s rumored that there’s a room found in The Zone that will grant your deepest, innermost desires. In this Room, you’ll get exactly what you want—your heart’s desire. The three finally make it to the threshold of the Room. But before venturing in, The Writer asks his guide, “What if I don’t know what I want?” The Room will decide for you. The Room reveals what you truly want in life—even if you yourself are unconscious of it. The Room reveals all. Not what you think you want, but what you actually want.
Like The Scientist and The Writer, each of us have to ask ourselves some pretty tough questions before we cross the threshold of The Room:
- What if I’m not what I think I am?
- Will I like what I actually am?
- What if I don’t really love what I ought to love?
Carl Jung once said, “’Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’” The Scriptures teach us that our actions bubble up from what we desire and love in our heart of hearts. Sometimes we’re aware of these desires and other times we’re totally oblivious to them or in denial of them. The best indicator of our deepest desires are the daily habits and actions of our lives. In other words, our character. So we need to take a look under the hood of our lives and genuinely explore what our true motivations and true loves are that drive our decisions and actions. God helps do what we cannot do alone—he enables us to identify our desires and to repair and redirect our desires in ways that are holy and healthy—that help us pursue God more faithfully.
God is like the The Room—he’s here to help us mind the gap and close the gap between what we think we love and what we actually love and what we should love. When we tap into God’s grace, we find the meaning and purpose of our lives and who and what we are created to love—the Almighty God of love, revealed to us in Christ Jesus. In this holy sweet spot, we can be who we are—God’s beloved children who love others with God’s love.
Come, let us dare to cross the threshold of The Room together!
Jots and Tittles Blog
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
July 24, 2019