A Child and Jesus Ask “What do You want?”

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A Little Boy’s Question

Mother’s Day conversation with one of my 8 year old boys:

“Mom, what do you want? Anything. I will get you anything. What do you want?”

Yes, he really said this! What? Trust me, most of what comes out of their mouths is about what THEY want, not what their mom wants.

He thinks for a minute.

“Well, I don’t have any money, but Dad does. He can get it. What do you want? Anything.”

I was not able to answer quite yet. A little later on, he continues.

“Mom, seriously. Do you want a necklace? A bracelet? Earrings? Where do you want to go? How about Target? Let’s go there.”

He grows more impatient since I am not giving definitive answers. My little boy wants to get me anything I want.

I cry at the thought.

I felt guilty on this past Mother’s Day because really deep down, I want to be more than a mother. I think, “Is there something wrong with me? I should be happy and thankful with what I have.” But truly it is not because I am not thankful. I don’t agree with people who say thankfulness and desire can’t coincide. But I did wrestle as he asked me such a tender, generous question.

What a Question Can Reveal

Moments later, a memory popped up on my FB feed. It is of me teaching to a group of women at church 4 years ago. I began to cry, again.

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Yes, this is what I want.”

But I don’t have a place right now.

Well, I do have blogging, but it feels different. People are not right in front of me. I can’t see your eyes, your body language. I don’t know if you are connecting with what I am saying or not. I get energized by being with people. At my core, I am an extrovert.

As I typed this interaction down in my Notes app, I sensed,

“This desire is good, not bad.” 

The desire to teach is how God has made me. I am actually created for it and currently I am not doing it. The sadness is real. And it’s not wrong. It’s okay. Sometimes we receive the message that our desires are bad, evil, and selfish. For sure they can be, but many are from God and good. Oftentimes I get my wires crossed and can not tell what’s good and what’s bad. On this particular Mother’s day my wires were on the fritz, as my emotions sent mixed and conflicting signals. I believe this is one of the roles the Holy Spirit plays in our lives, untangling wires and helping us see what is supposed to be connected for life and power and what is meant to get disconnected.

The sadness that day was real. And it’s not wrong. It visits some days and leaves me alone on other days. It’s okay. So I began to a pray a prayer of surrender and put forth a plea.

“God, show me. Lead the way. I want to teach. Give me an opportunity to teach, live and in person.”

My heart began to beat faster at the thought. But the Spirit brought to mind some of the things I have needed to acknowledge were present, deal with and keep saying goodbye to:

“Leave behind the striving to be excellent. Perfect. Wonderful. Amazing.

Leave behind the desire to be upfront. On stage. Having attention. The praise of people.

Leave behind the desire to be known. Acknowledged. Famous. (Ugh. Hard to write.)

Leave behind the desire for success. Numbers. Likes. Comments.

Wait. Even people being changed. No. This is good.

But leave behind any inkling that it is within your power to actually change someone.”

I don’t have that power or responsibility. I am asked to be obedient and faithful to what I am made and called to do.

Teach. Write. Tell about Jesus.

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I am learning it is brave to own who you are made to be because there are no guarantees, no assurance that “success” will come how we want or think it will. The end is in question. The results are not a given. There will be failures. We will shake and wobble. We will laugh at ourselves in the process. We will second guess again. There will be room for improvement and development always. Not everyone will like what we do. Not everyone will like the way I teach and write. Not everyone will like me. And that is okay. Not everyone will like you. Am I speaking to anyone? Bueller?

Jesus With the Same Question

A little boy on Mother’s Day is not the only one who says, “What do you want?”

When I was a mom of young ones the first time around, God opened my eyes to his love in the life of his son Jesus in the gospel of John. The first recorded words of Jesus in this gospel narrative were the very same question.  A decade or so ago, (maybe more, let’s not figure it out!) this question shot straight to my own heart. I heard the voice of Jesus to me as I read,

“What do you want?” 

Jesus saw two of his peeps following him. Were they stalking him!? Another person, John, had just said this about Jesus as he passed by,

“Look, the Lamb of God!” 

Their interest was definitely piqued, so much so they started following him, not directly talking to him but watching, waiting, looking for something. They probably weren’t even sure what they looking for.

But Jesus noticed them and speaks directly to them. There are a multitude of things he could have said. I love the directness and simplicity of Jesus. It’s an open-ended question which I have a strong fondness for as a teacher. Their nosy, curious response is,

“Rabbi, where are you staying?”

His reply, an invitation to every single one of us, is,

“Come and you will see.”

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They ended up spending the day with him, watching, listening, and learning what he was about. We have the opportunity for this as well. Okay, not exactly like them, but we do. Pick a gospel, the book of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Go slowly. Really observe Jesus. Look around at your life. Where is God moving? How is he meeting and restoring people and places around you? Watch. Wait. Look. Hear him say to your heart,

“What do you want? Come and you will see.”                  (John 1:37-39)

A little boy mirrored my savior, friend, and God that day. Take note. God is speaking. Are you paying attention?

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