ast week I sat down at a table, a beautiful table full of breakfast that my husband's grandmother and brother had woken up early to make for us. My husband's grandmother, we call her GuGu, is a champion. She's a beautiful saint. She's feisty. She's fiercely independent, and her favorite food is tacos.
It was an early morning after a very long few days of work and travel and not many of us were too talkative. I was in a tough mental fog, and I don't remember the details of the surrounding conversation, but Paul's mother turned to GuGu and said, "You were way ahead of most women of your time, isn't that right?" There was a pause before GuGu responded, "Well, yeah, but only because I wanted to be." I may have been in a daze for most of the conversation, but I certainly contemplated this exchange for days afterward.
GuGu is one of the most interesting people I've ever met. Period. She grew up on a farm, played professional basketball, became a real estate agent, and raised a family alongside her airplane-flying, beekeeping, Dallas Cowboys-loving husband. She named a good number of the streets in Dallas, Texas, before any of it was developed into the complex infrastructure we know today. She helped countless Cuban refugees find affordable houses during the Missile Crisis. She did it all because she wanted to.
to do all of this, I think, says a lot about her relationship with Christ. She acted and worked because she knew of the importance of work, and hard work at that. But there's a nuance to her desire; she didn't simply want
to do something and then spend her time daydreaming about it. She was propelled into action. She accomplished the things she set out to do. She wanted to do them, and so she did.
Our hearts will always be set on something. Whether or not they're set on the things of God is up to us. Now I find myself asking a series of crucial questions that speak to my Christian life: what is it that I want to do? What is it that I should
want to do? What is it that God wants me to do?
If I'm honest and raw with myself and with you, I likely don't desire godly things. If I'm truly looking at my human nature, my base appetites, I want things of the earth. Things like notoriety, stored-up knowledge, and selfish charisma. I want to be well-thought of by everyone. I want to never worry about money, or suffering, or despair. I want to be elevated and exalted. Hopefully I don't have to point out to you that these things aren't godly goals. Even still, some of the things that I want are innocent enough, like health, a long, vivacious marriage, and a filled pantry. But these desires, as unassuming as they might seem, aren't sprouted from a heart after God.
What I should
want to do is please God and serve Him in all my ways. What I should want is to keep my eyes wide open and fixed on Heaven, looking forward toward eternal things. I should want to share my faith with those I encounter. I should want to immerse myself in prayer, bible reading, and Scripture memorization. But there's not necessarily a tick-list of accomplishments that God is looking for on any given day. As much as I would like my schedule to be neat and predictable, our walks with God have much more ebb and flow.
I can entertain the thoughts of what I want to do and what I should want to do, but the real, foundational question is this: What does God want me to do? That should be my primary concern. What does His Word urge of me on a daily basis? Luke 9:23 tells us to take up our crosses, dying to ourselves, and follow the Christ before us. Matthew 22:36-40 reminds us of the greatest commandment: Loving God and loving others. We see the sentiment to love others repeated extensively throughout the new testament, yielding ourselves to those around us and loving them through the sacrifice of our own preferences (Galatians 5:13-14, 6:2, Philippians 2:1-11, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 10:24.) We see that we should press onward despite what opposition we may experience in this life, as it is not even compared to the riches of the rest (Philippians 3:14.) We are called to share the Gospel indiscriminately and feverishly, praying for and discipling those that come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior (Matthew 28:16-20).
This isn't an exhaustive list about what Scripture requires of those who love God, but it is a launch pad from meditation. There's no formula for the Christian life, but there is a continual process of sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit that compels us in obedience to God. While we will never reach perfection in this endeavor, we're simply called to be ambitious. Like Gugu, we must want
to do these things. We must want
God's desires and adopt them as our own.