Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I don't know what I want.

Have you ever said that?

I suspect your evening occasional goes like this too,

“I’m hungry!”
“Me too”
“What do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what do you want?”
“I want you to decide, that’s what I want”
“Well, how can I decide, if I don’t know what I want myself?”

Frustrating isn’t it, not to know what you want? I always admire people who accomplish some measure of success, by hard, disciplined work. It usually means that they had some inkling of what they wanted, and they went after it. Aside from Lottery Winners, early Google/Yahoo Investors, and those already born into wealth- most success takes focused, determined work. And as the old saying goes, Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Yesterday I stared at several walls within my house, half painted. My living room was brown when we moved in, and I started to paint it a lighter cream color. When I got 3 walls completed, I stopped halfway up the 4th wall. My bathroom, likewise, is painted all the way to the edges of the ceiling, where I cannot reach without a ladder, a shade of terracotta. And my bedroom is almost completely painted a very light shade of blue, except for the 4th wall where the windows are. While the main reason, that these walls are unfinished- is that I don’t have a tall enough ladder for two of the rooms…mostly they are unfinished b/c I stopped and didn’t have the stamina or determination to finish them all the way. So they remain unpainted- until I decide that it's worth the effort to finish them.

It’s a common struggle in a lot of our lives. This inability to stay the course, to persevere is a difficult thing to master for some of us. And until recently- I thought it was the main struggle of my life as a Christian. I perplexed over why it was important, and got frustrated that God would not just let us skip to the end already.

But I’m starting to re-think this a little. While perseverance should remain a goal for our Christian lives, I’m starting to realize that it’s not the main topic. Because, perseverance is an act on my part, and part of me also knows that I will not grow as a Christian of my own doing- but of Christ’s doing instead.

So a struggle ensues…. I know I should stay the course, but God wants me to submit my will to Him. The two concepts continued to butt heads with one another in my mind. Today, I began reading a great book. I’m only two chapters into it, but I know it’s going to be a good solution, the same way I know a pair of jeans is going to fit or not fit by putting one foot in. (silly metaphor for something so serious, but it’s true.) Intimate Faith- A Woman's Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines. If you confess that you are having a similar struggle, that you cannot help but feel let down, when God does not seem to satisfy your desires, if you've prayed over something and felt loss when the outcome was not what you hoped for. If you've ever felt embarrased at what ensued after you stated "God did this for me", I recommend this reading.

I thought about a lingering question, that I had a couple of years ago, based on a scripture I came across back then; Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. At the time I read this, I thought that surely the “desires of my heart” that God was talking about, did not include a new house, or nicer clothes. Surely, there was something lost in the Hebrew translation. Desires- probably meant longings…something that is intrinsic to my soul, something my mind knew nothing about.

This week, I was still mulling that thought around more, as you can also tell with my previous post about Patience. And I think many Christians are confused by what “Living a life more abundant” means. Does God really intend us to live in the lap of luxury, because we learned how to serve often, tithe more consistently, or be more faithful to our spouse? Is living abundantly a reward system? Or is it something much more transcendant?

My mom wrote a poem from the point of view of a baby inside her mother’s womb. The poem illustrates a mother talking to her unborn child, saying things like “I cannot wait until you arrive baby, soon we will swing together on a swings, eating icecream popsicles and laughing the days away” The baby responds with “…what’s a swing mother? I’d rather not do that, I’m perfectly content here inside you, why would I change? It’s warm and cozy and I’ve got everything I need. What’s a popsicle mother? And what does it mean to eat it? Surely, it’s not nearly as enjoyable as spending my days sucking my thumb and listening to the joyous rhythms of your heart. No, I don’t think I will like to be born, I’d rather stay right where I am- I could not possibly be any happier”.

The poem is a terrific metaphor for what our life is now, and what it will become in eternity. While driving fancy cars, and living in huge houses seems like the pinnacle of human achievement here on earth, it pales horridly to the future of what eternity has to offer. Experiences beyond our ability to understand. Truly something that our minds cannot comprehend and our words cannot describe. Truly, we do not know the desires of our heart, yet. We don’t know exactly what we want.
All I know, is that I’m hungry.


bristowmom said...

Happy New Year KC! I will have to look into the book you are reading - sounds good. I always manage to finish my painting projects (usually with my husband's help) but have 100 other unfinished projects, so I can relate. And it does seem to translate to my spiritual life. My thought as I read your words about the new book were "Great, but will you FINISH the book?" because I personally have a huge problem with not finishing books - especially books that are supposed to help my spiritual walk. I'm currently stagnated half way through Come Away My Beloved. My excuse is life has been out of routine with the holidays - I hope that is true and I will soon get back to it.

I look forward to reading about your progress through your book.


txmomof2 said...

Well writen, as usual. Always an inspiration, Kasey!