When we hear the word lust we immediately go to our media-filled images about sexual desire. As a spiritual compulsion, lust has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power. While this quest for power may be lived out in seemingly sexual ways, the driving motivation is not about sexual attraction or desire but about the aquisition of power.
We do not have to look far to see glaring examples of this lived out. The Catholic priest sex abuse scandal and last week’s murder of Stephany Flores and the resulting arrest of Joran van der Sloot (also suspected in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in 2005) are two prime examples. Now, I cannot begin to explain or comprehend the workings of a criminal mind, but if the television show of the same name (Criminal Minds) is any example, crimes of sexual abuse, rape, murder, torture, in the end seem to be related to the quest for power in one way or another. To bring this closer to home……emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse and spiritual abuse are all somehow rooted in the quest of one person to have power and control over another.
Lust, as we have previously discussed, is the compulsion that comes out of the fear that we will not be able to bring forth life that will persist. To put this in simpler terms……we have all been uniquely gifted to bring forth our deepest truths into the world and we are compelled from within to discover, cultivate, nurture and share these truths. Maybe our truth is to be a parent. Perhaps we are called to teach. Maybe we are artistically inclined and desire to create and share beauty in the world. Whatever our unique gifts are (and we each have many), we are interiorly driven to express these in the world. When our gifts (or our truths) are denied or suppressed, tension builds up within us and we seek a remedy to that tension. The truest remedy would be to heed the voice of creativity within, if this is not accomplished, the truth will find a way out in destructive and unhealthy ways by either attempting to exercise power and control over others or in our vulnerability to others who are happy to take our power through fear, intimidation, manipulation and abuse.
Lust, as a spiritual compulsion, is the action of seeking to have power over another. This lust can be lived out in seemingly sexual and very personal ways and is also present in any situation where one person, group of persons, institution or government has power and control over another. This power is primarily motivated by fear and exercised through intimidation. We have all been wielders and victims of this kind of lust in one way or another. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
The key to healing the spiritual compulsion of lust is to give heed to our deepest truths. Who am I? What are my gifts and how am I being called to share them in the world? When we give ourselves permission to heed the creative drive within, we find the source of our own inner power. When we harness this power, we no longer need to manipulate and control those around us and we are less vulnerable to the power-trips of another. Naming, claiming and cultivating the creative drive within gives us all the power we need and empowers us to guard it closely.
Lauri Lumby Schmidt
Authentic Freedom Ministries