What do you want?
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be older and looked up to.
When I was in middle school, I wanted to be liked, to be popular. And if God chose to give me straight hair, that would have been awesome.
When I was in high school, I wanted a boyfriend. And still would’ve loved straight hair.
When I was in college, I wanted to know what to major in…and I wanted a boyfriend.
When I got a boyfriend, I wanted to get engaged.
When I got engaged, I wanted to hurry up and get married.
When I got married, I wanted a house.
When I got a house, I wanted a baby.
When I got three babies, I wanted peace and quiet and maybe some sleep.
When I got settled into our new normal as a family of five, I wanted a new house. You know, to better accommodate us all (insert eye roll here).
When the big new house came and the real estate job Josh had was slowing down, I wanted out from the big house payment and back to our old house.
When we got the old house back, I was content for a little while. Thankful for the gracious hand of the Lord that guided us and protected us from financial ruin.
I can remember not wanting to work outside the home, but now that I have been home for over 13 years, I sometimes think I want to go back to school for a new degree and eventually work outside of the home.
Sometimes I want to exercise and be healthy.
And sometimes I want to eat all the ice cream straight out of the container. In my pajamas. While I watch all The Blacklist episodes.
Desires. They rise up within me often. Some divine and some quite selfish.
Over time I have come to distrust my desires. So much so that my prayers of asking over the last year and a half or so have been pretty quiet on my end. There’s been a building of more and more trust in God’s plan and ways over anything I can conjure up on my own. A building up of faith as I take mini-steps in what I believe the Lord is showing me. Just recently a specific prayer has risen to the top of my heart and made its way to my lips.
“Lord, teach me to want what You want for my life personally. Teach me to want what You want for my marriage. Teach me to want what You want for each of my kids. Teach me to want what You want for my neighbors.”
Writing out this prayer made me want (there I go again) to pick back up a book I read earlier this year. In TEACH US TO WANT by Jen Pollock Michel, she writes:
“As we see and are seen, we will begin to wrestle with the nature of our desires, even find the courage to admit when they fall painfully short of God’s glory…we may want to reject this new sense, not least because spiritual ‘sight’ commits us to a posture of sustained humility; humility before the Scriptures as they ‘read’ us; humility in our relationships, which we injure; humility in prayer to the God before whom we are ‘naked and exposed.’ (Hebrews 4:13). Humility is one of the hardest habits to wear— which may be why talking about desire is sometimes the last thing we want to do. But we must see the truth, own the truth, tell the truth, receive the truth, live the truth—about who we are and want we want.” (Page 45-46)
This struggle of sorts with my desires, or lack thereof, has been an interesting journey that I am far from wrapping up. I am finding it easier to praise, and I am ok with it being harder to ask for what I desire. I will close with another quote from Michel’s book:
“By the grace of Jesus Christ, struggle has the potential to become praise; this is the gospel chain of cause and effect. Struggle challenges me to trust, but when I do eventually surrender, it means I’ve entrusted my life to God. And every time I do this, I’m heartened by the knowledge that God is eternally capable. The Lord’s Prayer does not offer explicit thanksgiving or praise to God, but I realize now how impossible it would be to trust God and address him as ‘Our Father’ without inspiring the knowledge that he has loved us eternally and freely—which is, of course, a truth that can make a heart sing.
Prayer that becomes praise: and this is proof that God is becoming our desire.”
Maybe you find yourself struggling with unmet desires or confused about what to want from a holy, loving God who has already saved your soul through Jesus. Stay consistent in The Word. It is life and breath, a mirror and a well of refreshment. And then, maybe you should grab a copy of TEACH US TO WANT by Jen Pollock Michel. It has been a help to me.