So often, I find myself wondering this about people, usually in regards to relationships. Not in a bad way, or a sad way but in an honest way. I don’t always know what people want. I don’t always know what I want.
For instance, a few months back, I found out exactly what a friend did not want from me. At the time, she didn’t want honesty or humility or random accolades. She wanted something else. So I was surprised when yesterday I checked out her Facebook page and saw comments that showed exactly what she hadn’t wanted just a little while ago. And so I wondered about what it could be that she or anyone actually wanted.
I realize that what we want and what we need can often be two completely different things. But I think in a lot of cases, the things we want are ways we think we can get the things we need. For example, I often need to spend more time with God but the wants that stem from that need don’t always coincide. Sometimes, to fulfill this need, I want to go be alone and pray. But other times, I want to be with other people and sing and worship and do fun stuff. Both are legitimate ways to spend more time with God but they’re completely different. So it makes sense that at different points our wants can be opposed even though they come from the same need.
But there are other times when our wants and needs are cloudy. If I don’t know what I need at any given moment, how can I work toward any discernible goal? How can I even move? What’s more, how can I act if I can’t even understand the need a specific want is stemming from? The other day I went to call a friend and suddenly I just didn’t want to. It’s not that I wanted to be alone and it’s not that I had any negative feelings toward my friend, I just didn’t want to call her. That was an odd feeling.
But those feelings are the ones that make relationships so hard at times. It’s like trying to dance with people without giving them your highly contagious disease. Eventually, they’ll see the rash and know you’re sick. And you’ll see their rash too. How many people will still think you’re a cool kid when you tell them you have no idea why you’re feeling what you’re feeling? In my experience, the number isn’t too high (which is perfectly ok, in fact I prefer it that way). I don’t know what need the want blarcgh stems from but it is certainly confusing.
So I often find myself asking others what they want from me, knowing that I’m often unable to answer that question myself. I can’t be who people want me to be nor can I give them what they need. I’m ill-equipped for that. Fortunately, I’m really good at re-directing calls ;).
I Corinthians 14:33a
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.