Okay so picture this scenario. You’re four years old again, you’ve had a serious craving for cookies come over you, and you know where mom keeps the jar – on top of the fridge. You aren’t prepared to wait for her to come home from work, and you know your older sibling won’t help out, but you still really, really want those cookies. After canceling out the other unfeasible options (one of which could have included a towel cape or a cotton wool zip line), the only one left is finding a way to climb up to the top of the fridge. So what do you do? Against your better judgment, you find a box or something else you can step on to get you onto the kitchen counter next to the fridge – halfway there. Next, you use the sugar jar or the bread bin to edge you just a little further up, just enough to get your elbows the leverage they need to pull yourself to the top of your Everest, and there you have it. The crunchy, chocolate-chipped reward you’ve been eying for the last thirty minutes are now yours…….provided you are strong enough to actually open the jar!
Now, I’m not saying I used to do this (seriously, mom, I’m not the one who ate the cookies), but I used to do far more dangerous things for far less of a return: fun. Yeah, I’m definitely getting in trouble now. But all silliness aside, we’ve all wanted something that we thought was important at the time, and hence set into motion a series of audacious mini-tasks that helped as get the main thing. And whether we were successful or not, I’m sure you can still say that you gave it your best, and no matter how much harder you could have tried, the outcome would have still been the same. I’m here just to pose one question: why don’t we put the same effort that we put in things that may be considered trivial, into things that are a little more worthwhile? Things like school, living healthy, chasing after God? And that leads to a follow-up question – how much do we want these things?
Now, once again, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I have the book that does. Jeremiah 17:9 says, ”The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Our human nature is preprogrammed to gravitate toward self-destruction, and that’s why many find that the pursuit of decadence is often easier than the quest of right living. Many will say that they want to do more; exercise more, pray more, read more, and yet we find that when we get a bit of free time from our primary day to day activities, more [less] important things always seem to pop up, and hence distracting us from what we know we should be doing. So yeah, we want these things, but the catch is we should not only want them, but we should want to want them too.
That may not make sense when you first read it because it doesn’t really make sense to me either, but I’m hoping in time we will all be enlightened. Wait! Before you hit that ‘close window’ button, this isn’t a waste of your time. Just yet. So in my enterprise to find out what ‘wanting to want something means (and of course not taking the phrase literally), I am setting up a little experiment, and to explain this necessitates a little backstory. To make it quick, I was a sick kid in my single digit years, with a string of stomach problems, the cause of which was unknown and undiscoverable. But, by the Grace of God, after those problems stopped, I finally got the backlog of baby fat that had been accumulating in the heavens all that time I was sick, and so I weighed fifty kilos when I was in grade seven. Although I lost all that baby fat the following year in my first year at boarding school (freaking malaria), I have since then had a pot belly that’s refused to go away no matter how hard I tried. And by that alone, you must guess that I never really tried hard enough, not even in one instance working out for longer than a month. But after seeing my uncle working out at home, going to the gym and for walks every night, let’s just say I’m motivated again, and with the whole word holding me accountable now, I want to see if I can put what I preach to practice, and finally get the tone belly I have wanted (but not wanted enough) for such a long time.
Getting back to the point, the driving force in wanting to want something is the why. To borrow some of Sombo Makosa’s lesson notes, before you start doing something, you have to figure out how you are doing it, and before you solve that, you have to settle the ‘why’ part. Why do you want whatever it is? Using myself as somewhat of a case study, my target is to finally have a flat belly. What am I going to do? Workout. Easy enough. How am I going to do it? This I where you work out the strategy. Am I going to wake up in the morning an hour earlier and go jogging? Or maybe when I get home from work? For how long? On which days? I have to know myself to get this right, otherwise, it will all end in frustration, and I may even gain more belly fat instead of losing it.
I am a firm believer in the journey. I’m sure the destination is something important, but if it costs you you to get there, then there isn’t that much of a point, is there? You have to be able to derive some form of satisfaction in the getting there part. If I want a flat belly but I hate working out, what must happen? Do I put my life savings on the line to have some expensive procedure done to remove that extra flab? I don’t think so. It goes without saying; if you want good grades and you hate studying, you’re gonna be in for a treat. You have to find a way to have your ‘why’ motivate you enough to see those ‘have to’s become ‘want to’s. If you have to use visual aids to keep reminding you, do it. Do it until your mind is convinced that you actually like whatever it is you’re doing. Wanting to want something relies heavily on enjoying the journey, so find a way to make the journey worthwhile.
While this logic can’t necessarily be applied to everything, you should at least try. If you’ve always wanted a closer walk with God, sort out why you want that; it has to be something really important or else you’ll just be wasting your time. And unlike my little experiment, there’s no definite way of quantifying your progress, but the Bible says that God’s children can be identified by their fruits, and we have come to know these fruits as Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Are you lacking in any of these areas? Is it patience? Is it kindness? Why do you want to be kinder to people? Are you prepared to find out what the bible says about kindness and start applying it in your life? And trust me, when you put the Word to work, you will not be disappointed. Hebrews 11:6 says “……for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” So you may have to do a lot of your own work with this one because I feel like it’s a Pops-to-child thing that y’all need to work out together, but I do hope that you will dive into that Good Book and find your ‘why,’ and that it will make a huge difference in your faith walk. [Phillipians 2:13, Romans 12:2]
By my next writing, I hope to have shaved at least an inch off my belly line, so I’ll keep you posted on that. And to those who may be asking what my ‘why’ is, in the words of Donald Trump (I know, right), I’ll keep you guessing.