“I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?” ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline
Think about that quote for a second. Really let it sink in and marinate. Our society and culture spends so much time thinking about what we want. But, do we really want it? What would happen if you suddenly got everything you ever wanted (I think I would be super excited, right?)? But, do you think it would be possible to just stop wanting? Do you think if you woke up tomorrow morning surrounded with all of your desires that you would be satisfied? Well, we may be satisfied….for a while. Our bellies might be full….for a minute. But, it’s just the nature of the beast, we would have a wondering eye and begin to yearn for more.
I wonder what God thinks about all of our wants. Sometimes, I picture God as this huge vending machine in the sky. We put in our request, push the right buttons, and whatever we are wanting comes falling out. We might want that bigger house, or nicer car, better clothes, more money…really, I can only imagine what could come out of that vending machine! God recognizes that we have wants in Psalms 37:4, “take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” But, if we are honest, and we are taking “delight in the Lord” don’t you think our “desires” would be different? Don’t you think they would be desires that would be better for all, not just for me?
A very long, long time ago I was about to go into middle school. I was a child of the 80’s which I am sure is bringing all kinds of visuals to mind (and yes, I met every stereotype!). But, when I was that age, I was in my Aunt Traci’s Sunday school class at church. As my girl’s class sat there in our semi-circle listening to her talk about prayer and our wants, she passed out an index card for us to list our “desires.” And, let me tell you, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a brand new scooter. The one I wanted was pink and had white handles and wheels. My friend and I both wanted the same thing so we could scoot back and forth to each other’s houses over the summer. We had it all figured out.
My Aunt Traci picked up the cards and began reading them out loud. All of the answers we close to the same thing. They all had to do with our personal desires….a pair of Guess jeans, Liz Claiborne purse, a pair of Reeboks (it’s all coming back isn’t it!). Whenever she would read a card, we would look at one another excited that she was reading our “want” out loud. Almost as if her just saying the words would make it come true. But, when she read the last card out loud, she pointed out that not one of us had prayed for a friend. I was totally confused. She had asked for our desires. But, when she said that, I realized that my desires were really just selfish, and that praying for a relationship, a friend, was something that was really worth praying for. Now, I look back on that day, and I think, “ Really, Shannon, a scooter?? Come on!”
Going back to Psalms 37:4. If we are taking delight in the Lord, I mean if we are really taking delight in the Lord, what do you think your desires would look like? Wouldn’t we desire what the Lord desires? Would we be more prone to pray for the needs of others, for the relationships in our lives, for ministry opportunity, for God’s Kingdom? Or, do you think we will focus our eyes on us and have a “scooter” prayer?
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24