What Do You Want?
You find yourself sitting on the bank of a river. It’s a warm, summer afternoon. The birds are singing, the sound of an airplane is faintly heard in the distance. And, of course, there is the sound of the water rushing over the rocks right out in front of you.
You are starting to get warm. A bead of sweat forms on your forehead and you wipe it away before it can run down into your eye. A fly buzzes around your ear. And the grass under your legs doesn’t feel as soft and cool as it once did.
What to do? You can get up and leave. Making your way to the car parked off in the distance or to the comfort of the house you live in close by. Or you could jump into the river and cool off, while still enjoying all the peace and beauty of your surroundings. The very peace and beauty that drew you to this location in the first place.
Each option has its benefits and its drawbacks. The car has the benefit of air conditioning along with the added benefit of being able to transport you away to a new location. Yet, where would you go? You came to the river because it was your destination. Thus, if you leave the river, your destination, what would be your new destination?
The house has the benefit of air conditioning, a refrigerator filled with food and drink, a TV and a computer to access a lifetime’s worth of distractions. Yet, you came out to the river on this beautiful day in order to get out of the house. In order to get away from the refrigerator, the TV and the computer. You know you would end up working or scrolling or eating. All of which were the very things you were trying to get away from by going to the river in the first place.
If you jumped into the river you would get cooled off without leaving the peace and beauty of the river. The very reason why you went there in the first place. Yet, you would get wet and the river water is cold. You would also mess up your hair and your outfit.
See, each option – car, house or river – has its benefits and its drawbacks. So, what are you to do? I guess the bigger question is: What do you want? Do you want to stay by the river enjoying the peace and beauty of that location? Or have you had enough of peace and beauty? Thus, making the car or house option acceptable.
Maybe you want to go somewhere different, which isn’t your house. So, the car option is the best option. Or maybe you have gotten so relaxed during your time at the river that you want to take a nap. So, the house option is the best.
The reality and possibility of all three options are right out in front of you. There is no universal “right” or “wrong”. There is simply your ‘right” and your “wrong”, in this given moment. Thus, your question is: What do you want?
This illustrates life. Each and every single one of us have decisions to make in our lives. Decisions between several possibilities, several realities. You know that you can’t simply stay by the river and sweat to death. So, you must do something. You must decide.
Every decision has consequences. Some consequences are good and some consequences are bad. No decision is consequence neutral. None of us live in a vacuum, where our decisions have no bearing on anyone else or anything else. And every option relating to every decision will have benefits and drawbacks.
Again, your question is: What do you want? In essence, what consequences are you willing to tolerate and what consequences are simply out of the question? And as with every other decision in your life, if you simply chose not to decide you have still made a choice.
When you get right down to it, every decision that you make in your life requires you to continually go through the process of deciding what you want. So, why don’t you put the horse before the cart? Why don’t you take the time right now to decide what you want? Make a list like: I want love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Once you have made your list then the river side decisions won’t seem so monumental and paralyzing. For you will already know what you want. Which will make every decision that much easier. Will this decision bring me closer to what I want or will this decision take me further away from what I want?
As for me? I’m jumping into the river and staying in the peace and beauty!