What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

My goal: Do whatever I want…

This is nearly impossible to explain to anyone, Christian or non-Christian.

I’m in Colorado for a week as I write this. I’m here to ski. My wife asked me what I want, and I said I want to go skiing in Colorado.

Before that she asked me what was the most fun I ever had as a kid. I said skiing in Colorado. I dreamed about it for fifteen years after that. (But I stopped having the dreams a long time ago).

She said, “you need to go.” So I’m here.

The next impulse would be to start telling you excuses. “I need alone time with God. I need a retreat.” That may or may not be true, but the reality is that I wanted to ski. I wanted to.

THIS WILL BE HARD TO EXPLAIN. I COMMUNICATE FOR A LIVING AND I CAN NEVER EXPLAIN IT VERY WELL.

If you are a human, you have been created with a will. On top of that, you have been delegated the task of stewarding your life.

What does that mean? It means you have choices to make according to what you consider to be faithful stewardship.

How do you know what is faithful stewardship? Well, you already know part of that answer: whatever God wants. How do you know what that is? It’s whatever the Bible says. So then why are we not all doing exactly the same thing all the time?

Because if all the answers are right there, then let’s just follow the blueprint and get to work.

You know, of course, this is impossible (unless you have a totalitarian church leadership who tells everyone exactly what God wants them to do—I’ve seen that; it ends poorly).

So what is going on when a hundred Christians say, “I’m going to look to the Bible to tell me exactly how to live and exactly what to do,” and then they live differently from one another?

Of course there is some overlap, many of them will include going to a church (but which one?), helping the poor (but which poor, and how are they helping?), trying not to commit sins (which sins?—let’s hope all of them). But there will be massive differences.

We are not robots. WE HAVE AUTONOMY. This is the most important thing about us.

Since we have autonomy, we have RESPONSIBILITY. This is a huge burden that most people don’t like. We think we like it, but we really don’t. That is why we will ask everyone else what we should do. We will search for a guru, a leader, an influencer. We will look to see what the crowd is doing and do what they are doing.

But that is not what we were made for. We were made to hear the Master say, “Here are some talents. Go do business with them however you WANT. If you do a good job, I’ll give you more” (Mt 25:14-31).

This why we have to learn to do what we want. If you aren’t used to this (because maybe you live by what OTHERS want you to do), it will be incredibly hard to even KNOW what you want. Get to know yourself. Look in deep. Ask God to help you.

And speaking of God, I usually get two objections to this, and one of them has to do with God. It goes: “I will just do what God wants.”

To that, I say, “me too.” What I’m talking about doesn’t contradict that at all.

“But I pray and ask Him to tell me what to do.” I do to, but I say, “Make me want what you want.” I don’t quite know what God’s answer to that is. I don’t quite know if He does make me want what He wants, or if He simply says, “No, Jeff, I gave you this ‘wanter’ and I expect you to use it.”

Some say, “He speaks to my mind. I get thoughts in my head.” I hope that’s true, but as for me, I’ve never been given the key to know which of those thoughts are Him, me, or the devil. So 99 times out of 100, I will look to principles and then do what I want. I don’t trust thoughts that pop in my head. I’m not telling you not to. Just that I don’t. Look at all my old journals for an embarrassing chronicle of misadventures of “hearing God.”

The second objection to my statement that you should do what you want is: “Life is hard. I never want to do hard things.”

I say to that: NOT SO FAST. You do want to do hard things. That’s why you get so depressed when you fail to do those hard things (eat right, read your Bible, change the diaper, do the dishes, study, whatever you think is hard but good).

Just because you are wanting on a long-view basis, delaying gratification, doesn’t mean you are not wanting. You are wanting wisely, taking everything into account.

This is already getting too long for a newsletter, but let me remember that this is a newsletter about writing, because this wanting business applies to writing, and specifically your habit of procrastinating.

Do you want to write? If you feel you should write, ask yourself why. Do you really want to write? Give yourself a minute to think about it. Why do you want to write? If you’re like me and have deadlines, why do you want to meet them?

If you want to write, do you want to write as well as you possibly can? Why? If you know you want to write, you can usually move right past procrastination and just get busy.

But you might find you really don’t want to write. I hope not. Writing is powerful and important both for the writer and the reader. I want to write, so I write (and ski).

My goal is to do whatever I want, but I’ll add that I also have a goal to want all the best things (goodness, righteousness, justice, love, good snow).

What do you want?

What do you want to do?

Do it with all your heart.

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