Certain challenging things in life refocus one’s attention and priorities. Sickness, changes in relationships, and death can reshape our view of God, others, and ourselves in ways we never imagined. As I look back at events and milestones, especially in the past year, I find myself looking at what I consider a want and need in very different ways.
As I wake up to a new day of challenges, I find myself making mental notes and building a list of reminders.
Examination is an important part of moving forward. Without reflection, we miss the opportunities to learn that Life gifts us with. There will always be drivers and reasons for what we did. Life offers us a chance to learn from the events – how we could have seen the situation differently, the choices that were with us even if we did not realize it at the time, and the reality of our highest priorities seen in our action.
Change often requires that we break a pattern. Change means that we do something different. Something in the cycle is new. Repeating yesterday is not the answer.
My actions fall short of my aspirations. The fact that this is true is not good or bad in itself. The gift of learning begins when I see the gap.
As I replay these in my mind, learning and growing, I find myself coming back to a reflective observation. My learning often pivots on my willingness to let go of my wants and trust God to sort out my needs. Mentally I know this. Emotionally it is a very different story. As I run through an assessment of the two columns, I find myself echoing David’s comments; “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.” (Psalm 23.1) As hard as I might try, the list of wants remains in play.
I am willing to let go of my wants? It is the wrong question. The right question is one of alignment. Can I align my wants with my aspirations? If compassion and love are musts, do my wants reflect these values?