Thursday, June 16, 2016

I'll Tell You What You Want, What You Really, REALLY Want

I had somewhat of an epiphany this week. An enlightenment of sorts. 

And the thing I realized is this:

Every {free} human being on this lovely planet is doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO. 

(I made the {free} distinction above in order to allow for the horrible reality that there are some of Heavenly Father's children on this earth who suffer greatly at the hand of others, whether through abuse, government control or a myriad of other unfair and undeserved realities.)

DISGRUNTLED BLOG SURFER:  Hey - wait, wait WAIT just a second. Are you saying that I actually WANT to be working the dead-end job I am working?

ME: {nods head}

DBS: WHAT? You are crazy. I will tell you what I REALLY want. I want to go backpacking through Europe.

ME: Then...go.

DBS: Oh, yeah - like it's that easy!  

ME: It is.

DBS: *pshaw* In order to do that, I'd have to save up all of this money and then quit my job.

ME: {nods head}

DBS: {laughing} Who DOES that?!

ME: People who actually want to.  

If we really WANT something - not dream about or think about - but totally truly, fully WANT something,...

we DO it.

 This applies not only to the big decisions, but the daily little ones as well.  

I may say that I want to get fit, but when I spend my free time doing things other than working out, I am showing I actually do NOT want to get fit. I think getting fit and healthy would be nice, or I think that I SHOULD get fit, but I don't really WANT to do all that it entails, all of the effort required is simply not something I want to do.

Even as a young mom, there may be plenty of things that I want to do - but as I work on my goals little by little, my daily choices still come down to what I WANT to do.

I want to be the best mom I can be - and although I may really like the idea of spending all day doing what I think I want to do, that reality would mean sweet babies left hungry and lonely. That would not be okay with me. So, I do what I can here and there, but what I REALLY WANT is to take care of my kids. That want is stronger than my other wants, so it comes first in the WANT priority line.

The following is from a BYU Devotional given by Tad R. Callister on Nov 4, 2014, titled "Tenacity":

"Not long ago I was sitting in my office and the phone rang. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was calling. As we spoke, President Uchtdorf told me that he was pondering a word in English. The word was tenacity President Uchtdorf’s command of the English language is remarkable. In our conversation he defined tenacity as the ability to stick to a task, even when obstacles arise, and he indicated that this word includes in its meaning an absolute determination to accomplish the work or task that has been undertaken. He noted that tenacity is a quality worth developing, especially in our youth and young single adults. It is the opposite of what he sometimes observes when some people meet adversity. Those without tenacity may strive halfheartedly against an obstacle, only to give up and quit when it becomes too difficult; others quit before they have even begun because their task seems insurmountable.
"One online dictionary defines tenacity as “persistence, perseverance, and stubborn determination” and states that “tenacity is the quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit—who keeps trying until they reach their goal.”1
"I agree with President Uchtdorf. Tenacity is required to become true disciples of the Savior and to achieve those truly good goals—to become a great missionary, to complete your education, to find an eternal companion, and to start a family—that our Heavenly Father knows we need to achieve in this life to prepare for eternity. Our ability to be tenacious in all good things will determine whether we become the sons and daughters of God that He knows we can and must become."
I really, really like this quote from another BYU Devotional titled "The Thoughts of our Hearts - or- Why We Do What We Do", given by John C. Lewis on March 4, 2003:
"As a freshman at BYU, I remember going to bed that first Saturday night in my ultracompact Helaman Halls room and realizing that I could decide whether or not to get up for nine o’clock church the next morning. Mom and Dad were in California and would have no idea whether I went or not.
"The decision to get up on Sunday morning was strictly up to me, dictated by the internal desires of my heart. It is really the same with every choice we make. People around us see the choice itself, but only we know why we made that choice. In contrast to our childhood years, when many of our choices were made with little thought or were based on some external motivator—such as our parents or teachers or maybe a best friend—the more mature and independent we become, the more personal responsibility we have for our choices and the more those choices are governed by the motives that lie within our own hearts. Although external forces will always lean on our behavior, they become more and more subservient to the personal, heartfelt desires we carry inside of us." {emphasis added}
2 Nephi 2:25-26 reads:
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
 26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
I love this scripture. We were created to experience joy. Heavenly Father wants us to achieve all of the good things in life, wants us to fully "act for {our}selves" and give full expression to our goals and dreams. 
So here is an exercise for us all. I have done this, and it is brutal. For one week, keep track of your activities. Don't fool yourself. Don't suddenly go all crazy motivated in order to prove something to yourself. Live life the way you have for years, and, without judgement, record what you do and the amount of time you spent doing it. You can be as detailed as you want in this. 
If you are anything like me, you will end up simultaneously laughing and crying at how much time you have to do the things you want to do. And you do them. It may be eye opening to see how much time I want to spend on Facebook. 
I am writing this post not as a guilt-tripping device, but more as a freeing agent, if you will. Let us all give ourselves permission to LET GO of those things we have hanging over our head that we say we want to do. You may find when you think about it that you have always said that you want to write a novel, but when you really consider what that means, you actually have no desire to inflict that level of self-torture. So LET IT GO. 
Don't keep saying you want to do things that you really don't want to do.
Then, find out what you really WANT to do, and DO it. Even if what you want is to continue living exactly as you currently are. Then embrace that, and LIVE it with full purpose and let go of all of the other expectations. My guess is that very few of us will find ourselves in that boat because, as children of our Heavenly Father and Mother, we have a divine nature and a natural aspiration to better ourselves. 
I'll end with a quote from James E. Faust:
We must at times search our own souls and discover what we really are. Our real character, much as we would wish, cannot be hidden. It shines from within us transparently. Attempts to deceive others only deceive ourselves. [James E. Faust, “Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart,” Ensign, May 1998, 18]


  1. Preach!!!! I love this post. And I love you. You are such an excellent writer. I hope there are more frequent posts in the future.

    1. Thank you! I love you, too!!

  2. How blessed we are to have tools with which to share our insights with so many. Such was not the case when I was a young mom. Only a chosen few have the thoughts I penned in my youth. I want to write a blog, but right now I WANT to finish my degree before I retire, so that is my focus. For now I will put that want of authorship on hold and just savor the joy of talents like yours. Write on, my dear! Write on.

    1. Right now I WANT to say how much I love you and admire your tenacity in achieving your educational goals! You are a rockstar!