Life from the rear-view mirror

Workin’ on my “Want to” Vol 83

September 23, 2014 | Comment

Not long ago Kathy and I spent the entire day together…most of it was in the car traveling out of state to pick up materials for work. But we were together nonetheless. I hadn’t really planned to take this trip. We had talked about the possibility of it…in terms like “if it worked out”…that sort of stuff. But then I decided “Why not just make it work out?” My calendar was clear for the day, the kids transportation issues were handled…why not? It would be fun. I could help with the driving and we’re still newly weds…we love to spend time together….and we have 40 years to catch up on…translated…no lack of conversation topics.

I don’t have to be talked into wanting to spend time with Kathy…I don’t need to hear a sermon about it…read a book or go to a counselor. I love her…I want to know her and be with her.

What determines our “want to” in life? Here’s my thought. My “want to” is greatly influenced by “what’s in it for me…” Now… that statement could be incredibly narcissistic or it could just be the simple truth..

Life’s choices would be pretty easy if there wasn’t this thing called “have to.”  “Have to” screws up the whole “want to” paradigm.

“Have to” smacks of  ” responsibility, “discipline”, “accountability” “rules.”  “Want to” is much more liberating…There are no bills or troubles  in “want to” land… (at least not right now)  There are no worries or responsibilities either. In “Want to world” things will just sorta work out…right?  Here’s some sobering news…”Have to” kicks “want to’s” butt!  OK…now that I’ve imparted that home-made wisdom…there are some times when “want to” can be altruistic…when we would like “want to” to  kick in for the right reasons.

Kathy challenged me the other night as we were on our way back from an impromptu date.  She knows I used to preach and teach  frequently at the church I attended before Northridge. She knew I had to prepare for those times and as a result, I grew spiritually…quite a bit.  These days we co-lead a community group and while I still have to prepare…it’s really just a review of what our lead pastor prepared weeks prior.  It’s not the same.

Over the years,  I have tried to hide a lot of God’s word in my heart…memorizing and then just by shear exposure to it in preaching and teaching.   But my daily intake of the Word has dropped off to almost nothing recently.  I used to think about my bible and it’s marked up pages with notes and thoughts…praises and prayer requests. Now while it’s always handy to me in my iphone or ipad I don’t get to it as much. Technology has kept God’s work on my person but farther from my heart I think. Not the fault of technology…the fault is all mine.

Despite my proclivity to think about spiritual things a great deal of the time… my “want to” read and study is just not the same.  Kathy has noticed.  She wondered (out loud) how my spiritual life stayed fresh without that daily intake. That was a hard, but fair question. My personal spiritual life wasn’t fresh…isn’t fresh.  I was relying on the way I used to be years ago. The truth of God’s word is eternal. The Word, any Word we hide in our hearts is the eternal. It’s impact powerful and life-changing.  It can and should be renewed every day. We should be looking for God to speak to us through Scripture.  To build on our spiritual foundation, truth upon truth. To shine new light on our path. To expose our sin. To move us daily towards repentance and forgiveness. To challenge us to love and good works. To become a channel of his blessing to others as we are being blessed.

The Word of God is our spiritual food. Our sustenance. We cannot live and grow without it. People close to us notice when that “spiritual freshness” is missing.

A chapter each day is not too big a sacrifice.

So let’s dig up the richer earth lying beneath the fallow ground of our souls… and daily water it with the Word.




Leave a Reply