I watched the movie The Notebook tonight. I must admit … I am a sucker for this movie. I love it. I love the conflict and the tenderness. I love the commitment and the faithfulness of the two main characters displayed in the latter years of their lives. But one thing I noticed tonight was one particular scene. And this scene strikes me every single time—so tonight I decided to live in it a minute and figure out what it is saying to me. There is a scene where the two lovers are arguing and the guy says to the girl, "Forget about what you should do. Forget about who will get hurt. What do you want?" He repeats this over and over. "What do you want?"
This is a question I have a great deal of trouble answering for myself. A good friend asked me that just the other day, and I had no idea how to answer. My life has been so full of responsibility. I "have to" and "should" do many things. I feel sometimes as if I don’t have a lot of choices because so many other people’s feelings and needs come before my own. I have been a wife and mother for what seems like my whole life … and before that I was a daughter and a "good Christian girl" who tried so hard to always do the right thing. I don’t think these are bad things. But my point is … I have no idea what I want.
I have to dig down so far into the depths of my soul and put aside so many voices in my head telling me I "should" and "have to" and "must" do so many things that it takes too much effort sometimes. I feel guilty for thinking of my own wants, so I just don’t.And I have forgotten how.
So tonight I dug way down there. I really peeled back all of the layers and asked myself—at the core of who I am—what do I want? And you know what? The answer surprised me. What I want has nothing to do with anything material. I don’t want money or houses or furniture or cars. I don’t even want more time for myself—whether that be spa days or Starbucks or time with friends.
What I really want, way down inside my soul, is God. Really.
I want to be friends with Him. I want to be able to talk to Him every day. I want to hang out with Him. I want Him to know every single part of me and love me anyway. I want Him to heal my broken places and show me how proud He is of me. I want to hear His voice whispering in my ear every single day: “I am proud of you. I love you. I have chosen you. You are worthy. You are beautiful.” I want to just be. With no agenda. With no "have to" or "should." Just be. I want Him to be enough for me. I want to walk with Him.
That is all I want. Really.
So why don’t I let myself have any of those things? Do I not think that I have time for that? Does that feel selfish of me? Do I really think God is not offering me any of those things? I don’t know.
What I do know is this. It is not wrong to want. If I can strip away all of the outside noise for just a glimpse of what my true self wants and the only answer I can come up with is God, how can that be wrong? Maybe God created us to want. As a matter of fact, I am sure He did.
We spend so much time keeping busy with all of our lists of "shoulds" and "have tos"—which in and of themselves are not wrong … but when that is all we are living for—what an empty life that is.
I don’t have any answers right now as to how I go about letting myself have what I want. Maybe I never will … as God is too big to ever fit into a box of my own want. But I will hold on to this question: What do I want? Because for now … that is good enough. I am confident that God will show up. Because after all—Fathers want to give their children what they want—don’t they?