A portion of my internal energy is expended vacillating between desire and obligation. Responsibility affords me the opportunity to choose well, while my emotions constantly attempt to coerce me into compromise.
The seemingly insignificant decisions present the greatest tension as their affect is temporarily subtle.
Working out: “I’m active anyway; I’m pretty exhausted; I don’t have time; It’s that time of the month; There’s a new episode of Rookie Blue; Chocolate cake sounds better; I want to, but I feel like I have to”
Eating out: “Shoot, left our lunch stuff at home; Sharky’s sounds so good; We don’t spend money on anything else; Way too tired to make dinner for the family; I want to but I feel like I have to”
Hanging out: “I know I hung out everyday this week with someone, but one more day won’t hurt; This person needs me, so even though it will cost me personally, I should show up for them.” Or the other side of the fence: “No thanks, can’t do it, don’t want to see another human face today; don’t have time; I want to, but I feel like I have to”
Reaching Out: “Yes, I hear my neighbor’s arguing, but this is my home – I am not sure I should get involved; My little cousin is struggling in school, but I don’t have time to help him; This is just a little issue in my life, but I am still too scared to tell; I see homeless people everywhere, I should do something, but what’s the point?; I want to, but I feel like I have to”
Bible Study: “It doesn’t make sense to me; I am not a morning person; I don’t have time; Reading is easier than studying, so I’ll just do that; I just don’t know how; My time trying feels so stale; I really do want to, but I feel like I have to”
Personal health, finances, time management, helping others, bible study. Are these human struggles? Or are these issues simply the struggles of our culture? Either way, I am not sure I know one person who is not seeking to grow in at least one of these areas, if not all.
Desire is a deceitful barometer. Its like calling lust love, or fantasy reality. Our desire may influence our decisions, but until desire gives birth to action, it lacks the weight of evidence. Perhaps if we’re honest, sometimes our desires are just plain wrong and stem directly from our brokenness.
Then again, obligation is precariously noble. Honorable actions can conceal dishonorable motives. It reminds me of the most sobering scripture I’ve read: “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance— isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying,‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
Do we all wrestle between “want to” and “have to”? I’m trying to close the gap between my desires and God’s desires, between my obligations and my motives.
I want a heart ablaze, oozing with passion, love and wisdom. And I thank God every chance I get for His promise of unconditional relationship with me. He is our very present help in time of need.