I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanting and Wishing

Photo from patriciavdavis.com

No, this isn't a post where I'm going to list my Christmas wishes. Nor those of my children. Or the Prince. It's just something I've been thinking on the past few days. My hubby downloaded some devotions for me onto my computer, and I only had the time to read the title of one the other day. It was:

'There is a Difference Between Wishing and Wanting'

Hmmm...it's had me thinking on just that subject since I read it. Which is not something I really had thought about before. My thoughts have been interesting to say the least. Almost immediately I thought of this song my Mom had on a record [gasp!] by Harry Nilsson when I was a kid. I don't remember what the title was, but the chorus went something like this:

"Dreams are nothing more than wishes, and a wish is just a dream, you wish to come true."

So if we take that thought, and define a wish by it, then we come up with the idea that a wish is something we think about, dream about, but never take a step toward making happen. There is no effort on our part to see the wish to fruition.

Wanting something, however, means we not only have a desire, but the motivation to do something to make it happen. There is a huge difference between the two.

How many times have you heard someone say (or thought yourself) 'I wish my house was cleaner', 'I wish my kids would listen to me', 'I wish my body were in better shape', 'I wish we weren't so far in debt', 'I wish....' the list goes on and on.

We can wish for anything we like. Any thought that pops into our heads can become a wish. Looking around ourselves in our home, or relationships with our families, we could have a list a mile long of wishes.

But just wishing something is doesn't make it so.

And there's where the difference between wishing and wanting comes in. When I want something, I mean really want it, then I am determined to see it happen. Or to have it. Think back to the last thing you really wanted. How long did it take you to get it? Was it your hubby? Women will fight long and hard to win the man they want. We'll even do things (like attend sporting events, talk about cars etc.) that we don't like, to win a man. How many of us would just sit by and wish that the man of our dreams would notice us, or that the other women would leave him alone for pity's sake!

"But Juliemom," you say. "I need to pray about these kind of things. I can't just act on a dream..."

Yes, there is prayer required to a certain degree, but we must take action ourselves. Our kids' behavior is not going to improve only by praying about it but never disciplining them. Know what I mean?

And our houses won't clean themselves. Neither will healthy food find its way into our pantry unless we purchase it. Which means meal planning so we know what we need. And non-Christian family members will not consider their spiritual life without it being mentioned to them. Etc. etc. etc.

The problem with not following through with wishing, though, is that I can easily pass the blame to "It's just the way things are". I sit and eat a slice of cake, wishing I were in better shape. Or I play around on the computer and ignore my kids while wishing they were cleaning their rooms like I told them to. Or I tell the hubby I am too tired to talk (let alone be intimate) and wonder why he feels distant, all the while wishing we were closer.

What would happen if I decided that the things I wished were important enough to actually want? Well, that would require work on my part, and to tell you the truth, most of the time I'm not motivated enough to get to work on my own. And I think sometimes I don't want people to know I struggle, or that things aren't perfect in my life, so I refrain from sharing.

I don't think this is what the Lord wants. Wishing is not giving God my best. I know what He expects of me as a wife, mother, and homemaker. I know I could do better. There are lists of things in my head right now that I could improve.

But it's easier to just leave things the way they are. Maybe you've thought: 'Things aren't so bad. There are lots of other families worse off.' 'No one is going to die if I cook the same foods over and over. It's mostly good stuff.' 'Eventually things between the hubby and I will work themselves out.' 'Being fit is highly overrated.' 'We're not the worst family out there. We have our good moments.'

We are cheating ourselves, and limiting God when we have that attitude. Sometimes I forget that I am God's partner in caring for my family. It's not my strength that gets the job done, but His. He wants my wishes to become wants even more than I do.

Why? Because I believe that things we wish (not physical things, but emotional, spiritual, things that improve our home and family life) are from Him. When I am in tune with God, then my desires are His. He is leading me and guiding me, and turning my heart in a way that benefits others around me, and maybe sometimes that starts with a wish.

When I refuse to act on the prompting of His Spirit, then I leave things as wishes. And I start to resent them. And I wish all the more they were already done. And usually I find that things I wish are areas where I struggle; sin areas. Things that don't come easily to me, that force me to fight my flesh to accomplish.

Then I know even more that it is a prompting from God to get it in gear.

And I will not hide. I am sharing my wants with you, because I am now determined these things will not stay wishes. I am tired of wishing and coming up empty.

So, I am working on:
1. Getting back in shape. (I've gained a little, and I don't like it.)
2. Keeping my home tidy. (I am organized, yes, but I am lazy with daily cleaning.)
3. Menu planning once again. (Yeah, I know.)
4. Getting my children to do their chores happily. (Without prompting, like they did at the beginning of the year.)

Any thoughts? Things you want to share that you need to work on? These things will NOT remain wishes. I am going to work hard to see them come to fruition. Can't wait to check them off my list!


  • Brenda

    Wow. OK, there IS a big difference between the 2!!!

    I'll have to think about mine....

  • Just Jenny

    I like this post. Thanks I needed to hear that.

  • Great-Granny Grandma

    Hmm. Good post that got me thinking. And yet I struggle with my wants too. Kind of like what Paul says in Romans 7:15 - "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."

  • karly

    Oh man. Now you got me all convicted and stuff.


    Thanks for the food for thought. I'll be chewing on this one for a bit... :)

  • Terry @ Breathing Grace

    I can simply ditto your list, Julie.

    What wonderful thoughts! Just what I needed this morning.

    Thank you.

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