What Do You Want?

Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
    but a sudden good break can turn life around. (Proverbs 13:12 The Message)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)

“So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” (Spice Girls)

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Do you ever have days, when you know there is something you want, but you just don’t know what it is? That happens to me, especially when I’m going through a transition or a restless spell. I’ve been a little more settled with April, but some days I just don’t know what I want to do.

Oh, let me assure you there are plenty of things I need to do, but I don’t want to do those things. So, I putter around the house, looking at my email and social media. I sit in my chair, and think about stuff. I move to the porch swing with my mug of coffee, I sway for awhile, then I come back inside to see if the dishes disappeared or the clothes magically floated down the stairs and into the washer.

Nope, still there. I go back to my chair, to rearrange the books and magazines that have accumulated on my footstool. I notice my journal, and remember that I wanted to contemplate the questions of life. Specifically, the “what” question.

Here are some raw ramblings straight from my journal:

reflecting on what

woke up thinking about how “what” relates to other question words–it is the most generic–it describes a person, place, thing or idea, sort of like a noun– it gets to the details in the investigation–it is the observer of the lot–it can lead to the how or the why–it’s related to who, where and when, but these three are more specific in their what-ness–what directs, interrogates, interviews, deduces, detects, discovers, uncovers and relates details–we often ask: What does _______ mean?

Aha! “What” defines!

Combining what with want seems like a simple enough proposition, yet knowing, defining or articulating what I/we want takes courage. In the past, I was afraid to express what I wanted for fear of disappointing someone else, or more accurately for fear of disappointing myself. What if I couldn’t have or get what I wanted? What if I did get what I desired, yet it left me wanting? I would have to take the risk.

I can’t always get what I want, but defining and naming those desires, and opening up myself to the possibility of experiencing them brings me great hope and joy.

It’s okay to want something, even something that you can’t quite describe yet. Keep asking yourself the what question, and see what surfaces.

Here are some prompts for you to explore:

What I want, right now is . . .

I don’t want to . . .

I really, really want . . .

My tree of life looks like … (write about this or make a collage for this one)

If you come up with another way to pose this question, I would love to have you share it with us in the comments!

9 thoughts on “What Do You Want?

  1. Great prompts! I wish I had a couple hours to explore these right now. I’m filing them away for reflection at a later time. Not a question, but: When I feel sidelined by “I don’t what,” it helps to ———————–

  2. Kel, I just realized my typo above, oops. I intended “by I don’t know what, it helps to . . .” I am stealing five minute from a project right now with “What I really want right now is . . .” Just gotta get past a tall Oreo McFlurry . . . 🙂

    1. Thanks for the clarification, I think I added what I want to the prompt…it was good prompt to remind me to use my journal to push through the times when I feel stuck or unmotivated. Yum! (on the Oreo McFlurry)

  3. Kel: I wrote on ‘What’ yesterday. I remember adults asking children, “What do you want to be (or do) when you grow up?” When our son was an infant, I wanted to encourage him to use his mind. When we’d see someone enter a room, I’d ask him, “Who’s that?” When we saw something unusual, my question would be, “What’s that?” When he started talking in sentences, guess what his first two were? As he got older and we’d done something different or fun, I’d ask him, “What did you like best about ________?”

    1. Cecelia- I love that you wrote on what…I like that you encouraged your son to ask questions…I remember when our boys used to ask why, quite often…

    1. I would love to see your collage when you finish it…I have been sidetracked with other pursuits, but was thinking it would be fun to see what images I gravitate towards for the tree of life motif!

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