Tuesday, March 20, 2007

do i really want to?

I think the answer is no.

You maybe wondering what I am speaking of; what is it that I do not really want to do? Actually, the list is quite long:

Blog more.
Exercise more.
Eat better.
Get out of bed earlier.
Watch less TV.
Read more.
Pray more.
Study more.
Care less about my wants.
Care more about others’ needs.
Listen better.
Talk less.

Unfortunately, that is all just off the top of my head. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Understand, I really wish that this wasn’t the case. But the fact of the matter is, I do not want to do any of these things. I want to want to…

I want to want to blog more.
I want to want to exercise more.
I want to want to eat better.
I want to want to get out of bed earlier.
I want to want to watch less TV.
I want to want to read more.
I want to want to pray more.
I want to want to study more.
I want to want to care less about my wants.
I want to want to care more about others’ needs.
I want to want to listen better.
I want to want to talk less.

…but the truth is, I do not actually want to.

These are all tangible things; attainable things; things totally within my ability to control. Yet, I do not do them. The only logical explanation is that I do not really want to. I pray about wanting to. I talk about wanting to. I lie about wanting to…because in reality, I don’t want to.

If I really did want to, I would.

I read books by men like Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer; men who knew incredible discipline. Men who were able structure their lives around what they knew was most important. I read their words and their stories, and I want to live like that. And for a moment, I think I really do want to.

But then this phrase…“That’s just not practical for me.”

Have you ever said that?

That is a lie. It is practical…I just don’t want to because I don’t want to have to sacrifice this or lose that. I don’t want to give up this or do less of that. It’s not a question of practicality. It is a question of dying to myself and most of the time…I don’t want to.

I know what Jesus said about only truly finding your life by losing it. I know it. And I want to want to believe it. I hope that someday I might…but I have to be honest and say that based upon the pattern of my life thus far, I don’t understand one iota of those words.

And apparently, I don’t want to.

God, help me. Give me a desire, a “want”, for You like I have never known. Place within me a deep understanding of what is important and what is not, and give me the strength and maturity to choose the better way. God, help us all to see and comprehend that every moment is a decisive moment where gaining and losing, death and life, are touching one another; that each time we choose one thing we choose not another; each time we gain one thing we lose another. God help us to choose, and even celebrate, our own ‘dying’ because we have learned from life that he who loses it can find it.


Brokenness-Quebrantado said...

Sharing with you what I answered to my wife in a class we have on line, I think the Holy Spirit is working in different people, in different areas, in different cities...but it is the same Spirit.
"Compassion. This word in Spanish sounds like we are saying (with passion) because "com" it is very similar to "con" that means "with". So this word is telling me to have passion, passion to see the depths of myself, the depths of others, the depths of my own needs and realized that only through Compassion I can reach to God, myself and others. COMPASSION, With Passion.
Then I realized that Jesus gave himself in the "passion of the Cross". I also ask myself, am I passionately pursing God's life for me?"
For the last two years I have read books from Henry Nouwen, Brennan Manning and Thomas Merton and like my wife told me this afternoon, 'your spirit feels restless' but where to start? more time reading? more time praying? more time into discipline? oh man!! YES!! I want that!! but how? where? in solitude? or with others?

Kevin said...

I hear what you're saying. I have my own list, and a number of those items are on it. I wonder sometimes, though, what's at the heart of it. Why do we want to want to do things that we, in our more honest moments, acknowledge we don't truly desire to do? Is it God behind this push for more? Or is it me wanting, maybe, in some way to be able to draw a dotted line between my effort and something I perceive as being closer to Godliness? Why can't I ever just BE? I wonder, too, what was going on in the hearts of these heroes of ours (again, a number of yours are mine, too) six months, a year after these books they wrote were published. We presume that the clarity that comes from their highly edited and revised paragraphs reflects who they are at any moment, at rest or in action. I bet they struggled, though, comparing themselves and their secret letdowns with the apparent brightness of their contemporaries and friends. Why does Jesus say His yoke is easy? What does that mean? Do I not understand what easy and hard are, or am I making things more convoluted than they are or need to be? When God says, "I will give you the desires of your heart," I take that to mean not only that he will grant the objects of those desires, but will plant the very desires themselves. I could no more come up with those for me than I could write the code for my personality, in all its befuddling quirkiness.

Anyway, I go on. I hear what you're saying.

Anonymous said...

Let's discuss the difference between "want" and "need" for a minute. I "want" some candy right now. I "need" to take a dump right now. Think about it...