Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wanting to Want

Have you ever heard someone say they are praying for "the want to want to _____?" No, that's not a typo. To help clarify, the person praying is essentially saying, "God, I don't want to ____, but I want to want to _______. Please give me the desire to ______." Some examples for filling in the blanks could be "read my Bible," "pray more," "give my time," "be responsible with my money," and the list goes on and on.

Here's what I like about this prayer: it's honest. Too many of us say we want to read our Bibles more, pray more, do more, lose weight, etc. when the truth is we know we should want to do those things, but what we really want to do is watch another episode of our favorite show, buy that cute new outfit or make a batch of cookies so we can eat a bunch of dough in the process (not that I'm speaking personally here or anything). I respect the person who is being honest enough with themselves and with God to know their wants are so out of whack that before God can work with them on changing behavior, they need to start with an attitude adjustment.

Here's what I don't like about this prayer: it's weak and, at times, it's a cop out. We can spend years praying that we wake up one morning with nothing in mind to do but read our Bibles and then never get around to doing it because the magical transformation didn't take place. At some point, we have to acknowledge that our will is weak and our sinful nature consistently keeps us from wanting to do the right thing instead we have to choose to do the right thing. Usually once we begin choosing to do the right thing, we begin to reap the benefits of doing the right thing, we build a healthy habit and one day, without even realizing it we discover that we actually want to do the thing we're doing.

Case in point, exercise. No one goes from a long period with no exercise to a place of "I really want to sweat, get sore and change my eating habits." However, if we can choose to pursue the path toward physical health, eventually it gets easier and even enjoyable as we discover that along w/ exercise comes increased energy, a healthy glow and the ability to wear those cute pants that we thought we would never introduce into our wardrobe again.

And so, stop lying to yourself about what you want to do and start choosing to do the right things that you're convinced a better version of yourself would want to do.

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