What do you want?
She asked me, this new sweet friend I’ve made. Her voice was soft and kind and confident. And her eyes let me know that she was once where I am. Sitting there—wandering around under the stars—wondering about the one who created them. Wondering which way is true north.
What. Do. I. Want.
It sounded like a drum–a steady rhythm in my brain.
What. Do. I. Want.
I sat there, a bit bewildered. Was it even okay to be asking myself that question? Was it not contrary to the self-sacrificing, intentional life of a believer?
I’m 26 years old and I’m not sure that anyone has ever asked me that question. And if they have, it’s been a really long time.
Throughout college, I spent my summers rowing little boys and girls in canoes. The sun would beat down on my bare arms and darken the muscles that always grew stronger throughout the long days of pulling canoes and belaying ropes and stroking heads full of wet hair.
And day in and day out, I’d ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
A firefighter. A teacher. An artist. A doctor.
Their words painted the bright sky—made it bluer somehow–as if the entire world was their canvas and they could paint anything on it. And Each of them used a different brush and stroke and color.
They knew no “but” or “what if.” They knew nothing about job markets or financial statements or tuition. They knew no pressure from parents or teachers. No standards that they must reach.
They especially didn’t know the man-made expectations of their creator.
They only knew what they, in that moment, wanted. And oh goodness was it fun for them to dream. Not only was it fun—it was simple.
Somewhere along the way, I think we stop asking each other what we want. We’re taught that it’s selfish to think that way. That we aren’t supposed to think about ourselves. That we need to pray and see where we are led. That God will tell us what He wants us to be. Where He wants us to go.
But what if He doesn’t always tell us? What if He doesn’t tell you what job to take or who to marry or whether you should go back to school? What if you pray and you seek and you spend hours down on your knees but don’t see that burning bush?
And What if you never do?
Maybe we will rarely see the burning bush or hear the audible voice because most of the time we aren’t the Moses in the story. We’re the wandering Israelite– living out the day-to-day and seeking God in it.
And maybe, just maybe, what you want is also what God wants.
This statement—this question—has been rocking my paralyzed, fearful self. The self that wants to check off all the right lists and get the A+ and wait quietly for the teacher to give me instructions. The self who likes to color in the lines and make sure everyone [including God] is happy with me.
But maybe the song inside me is a song that He wrote. Maybe he’s conducting the music for it. Maybe he’s prompting me to listen. And maybe He’s prompting you too. Perhaps he wants us to trust Him enough to just live into who He made us to be. To create—in whatever way shape or form you’re able—because he’s ultimately a creator.
Trust the beating of your own heart. The littlest, youngest version of you who used to say, “I want to be THAT when I grow up.” Trust that if you are seeking God’s heart—He’s working in you and through you and shaping your heart to be more like His.
Get really still. Quiet yourself. Listen to the rain falling down from the sky. It’s slow and steady.
What is it that you want? Maybe God wants it too.
Listen for your song. Your huge canvas is waiting for you.