What Is It That You Want?

Let me start out by pointing out that my whole premise for this is wrong. I could have sworn there was a part in the Bible where Jesus says to someone “What is it that you want?” and that was going to be the crux of my writing. Being the intense researcher I am, I Googled it and that line is not actually in the Bible.

However…Being an American I’m going to invoke my God-given right to interpret the Bible however I want in order to accomplish my own means. Or something like that. It’s actually not that bad.

The line I was thinking of is “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked this to a blind man so it was obvious what the man wanted, but perhaps this was a lesson in actually knowing what you want and being willing to ask for it. A seemingly simple concept, but one I often struggle with.

I seem to go through life with a vague idea of some ambiguous goal I’m working toward, but not knowing what I truly want. There’s an itching in my soul and all I know is that I’m supposed to scratch.

Even hunger lingers pointlessly while I avoid making any decision or commitment. When motivation finally drags me to the kitchen, I stare blankly into the refrigerator glossing over perfectly acceptable answers because I really have no idea what I want. I’ll commit to a pickle or a couple olives, but big decisions require the risk of failure. What if it isn’t as good as I hoped? What if what I think I want is disappointing? The perfect, risk-free answer has to be tucked away somewhere behind that three-year-old jar of cherries and fate owes me for my meager efforts.

Of course, this applies to things beyond the refrigerator. That grumbling in my stomach becomes a directionless mass gnawing at my soul telling me I haven’t accomplished enough or that aspects of my life should be better. While the feeling often dominates my thinking, if you ask me what would make it go away, I couldn’t give you a solid answer. If you asked me what I want out of the next hour, I couldn’t tell you that. Heck, I can’t even tell you what I want for dinner.

If Jesus or Warren Buffet were standing in front of me right now and asked “What do you want me to do for you?” I wouldn’t have a good answer. Beyond a billion dollars and a supermodel wife, I wouldn’t have the first clue to a real answer. If I were to say that, Jesus would roll his eyes at me knowing those things would never make me truly happy.

Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism. Maybe I don’t want concrete goals or objectives. With no actual endpoint there’s no real failure. There’s just a sort of malaise of half-satisfaction based on fulfilling meaningless aims. I’m hungry, I eat a sandwich (or maybe something else, I don’t know...). I’m bored, I stare at the phone. I’m lonely, I hope someone on Twitter likes my post. Real satisfaction requires a real plan with real risk and I’m terrified of commitment. It’s easier to jog aimlessly than to enter a marathon.

So what is it that I want? I don’t know, but I’m going to make a plan to think about possibly trying to come up with an answer. And not just a big answer, but smaller answers to everyday life. What do I want out of this hour or day? What do I want out of work? When I feel uncomfortable, what would put me at ease? When that gnawing longing for an undefined something is festering once again deep in my unsettled soul, what is it that I want? Good question.