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Getting What You Want

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

It's Christmastime! If I didn't know from the calendar, I'd know from the sixteen people in line at festively-festooned Kohl's, the queue snaking all the way past ladies' casuals. This blog will post on black Friday, when the masses huddle in front of Best Buy, or Walmart, or someplace before dawn, to get the latest whatever at crazy-low prices. Not to minimize the joy of giving or receiving, but we all know that some or all of what we long for will satisfy us for 4.37 days and then the rush of receiving will be forgotten. Maybe even before the turkey's in Tupperware on Christmas, we'll be looking for the next thing. Getting what you want is like that. A lot.

Fashion feast.

I remember the first time I really noticed this phenomenon. I was in my twenties and lived and worked near a luxe mall. There was always a reason to stroll through it for something. I like fashion and would pop into one of my favorite stores. I'd often buy a little something "this just in." A few days later, that very item was in the back of the store on clearance, and there was something else luring me that I had to have right up front, beckoning.

Down the pike a bit, I had a transformative encounter with Jesus and shopping lost some (not all) of it's attraction. At the same time, I left the corporate ladder--and the big money--because that, too, proved not to deliver all it promised.

Fame and glory.

We've all read the stories of megastars who find fame either too fleeting or too much, and sink into an abyss of substance abuse, suicide, or crazy behavior. Not everyone can cope with the mantle of glory.

I often allude to the corrosive powers of money and power, which seem to invariably lead to wanting more of both. That's the problem with getting "there." There's no there there, and usually a whole other there beyond reach. It can keep us busy!

Spiritual heights.

I've gone through very intensive periods of praying and fasting "for a breakthrough" or revolutionary insight or a particular outcome, and been woefully disappointed. Really, worse than disappointed. I have to admit, however well-meaning, my motives might have been a little mixed. I wasn't so much seeking God for God, as much as I was seeking God for me.

Fasting and praying are wonderful spiritual disciplines, depending on what--or better-who we're after.

Right idea. Wrong goal. Speaking of goal...

Making the team.

Here in Champa Bay we're lucky to have several very competitive sports teams, some of which have won their sport's top prize. As for football, it helps to have the legendary Tom Brady. Tom recently traded his wife Giselle and family for football fame, even though he's on the downslope of an amazing career. I imagine it's really difficult to not chase just "one more win" if your sport is who you think you are.

Some of you know my teenage son wanted to attend a competitive private Christian, high school, especially well known for its athletics. We were all for the idea of a Christian school but the one in question would require some doing. He got admitted, we got a generous scholarship, and eventually, with much effort, he made the team, only to find it lacking. He sorely missed his friends, the spiritual setting wasn't what he expected, and the elite team of athletes bonded by a common passion wasn't.

Getting what he so dearly wanted proved to be disappointing--even downright disillusioning.

Of course, there are a whole bunch of lessons to harvest from the experience. Being the nerd that I am, I actually created a little questionnaire for him to do just that.

As they say, "Some lessons are more expensive than others. Get your money's worth."

Speaking of pricey...

Cell phone seduction.

The same son's cell phone recently breathed its last. He's on his dad's plan and dad was out of town, so I brought him in. The mobile carrier talked me into switching from my company, baiting me with $15/month savings and a brand new iPhone 14.

To be honest, it's not easy to seduce me with technology. If it weren't for the convenience, I'd be happy with smoke signals, but my phone was glitching without repair coverage. The new phone was meant to be all oooohs and ahhhhhs, but I honestly can't tell the difference. Actually, apart from the minute differences that are more bother than blessing. No complaints. This is a minor matter compared to...

Bigger fish.

Of course, there are so many other types of disappointments that are much higher stakes. A friend of mine recently got married for the first time, a bit later than is typical, to a really swell guy she was positively giddy to wed. She is finding marriage very hard and they are struggling through issue after issue, big and small.

Lots of people spend mcmansion money on wedding their dream guy to discover he's achingly human. Maybe the next one will be better. In America, the average length of marriage is eight years before divorce. There are many factors that contribute to this statistic, but our restless wants are a big one no doubt.

It's always something.

It's not that all of these things are inherently wrong, and many are quite perspective. Seeking our sole satisfaction--or soul satisfaction--in most anything is where we get into trouble. Paradoxically (again), this is a problem that gets far worse with abundance. We get more worried about losing what we have or getting more of what we already have--material and otherwise.

This doesn't mean we have to live an ascetic life, though I can see the upside. What does it mean then?

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35

Of course, Jesus isn't talking about crusty baguette or a glass of fine wine, He's talking about deep, thoroughly quenching nourishment. This lasting meal enables us to be content and free to be without being defined by our job, mate, friends, outfit, bank account, or hours of prayer or volunteering.

The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci, c.1490

Soon after, Jesus breaks bread and drinks wine with His followers, asking them to remember Him and their hard-won eternal life and freedom.

In this crazy uncertain world, true satisfaction, safety, and salvation are priceless.

Let's remember.

Love, peace, joy, and grace in Christ,

Prayer: Father, I find I'm often longing for more of something and even when I get it, it doesn't satisfy and I promptly want the next thing, leaving me ever longing. Please help me "eat of this bread" and "drink of this cup" even while I enjoy the earthly blessings you so generously provide. I ask it in Christ's name.


1. Read and reflect on John 6:22-59.

2. Read Luke 22:7-23 and take daily communion each morning, spending a few moments contemplating Jesus' loving sufficiency.

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