Jim is getting to the point when he is beginning to realize that he can’t always get his way. And there are times that he responds to this situation…let’s say poorly. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does it’s pretty miserable for all parties involved. My gut instinct is to fix it: restore our son to happiness and us to sanity. The trouble is the one thing that will fix the situation is the one thing I cannot do for him if he is going to learn that we can’t always get what we want. This puts us in a tight spot as parents because one can’t exactly reason with a two year old.
That lesson—that you can’t always get what you want—is one that we never completely learn. Oh sure, you and I are not going to drop to the floor kicking and screaming if we don’t get our way. It’s not that all wants are bad, but when wants become all-consuming things that we must have they often negatively modifies the way that we respond to the world around us. One could argue that all sin—from the first story to today—is based upon each of us refusing to be at peace with the idea that we cannot have all our heart’s desires.
So we’ll take shortcuts, try to cheat, become obsessed, and neglect the more important things in life. Our wants can lead us down roads to addictions and broken relationships. We will often hurt or belittle people that stand in our way.
This is usually where the piano starts slowly playing in the background and we have a little chat about Jesus. While it is true that I believe that Jesus is what we each truly need in life, the way we talk about him is sometimes far too typically in terms of wants. Come to Jesus and your life will get better. Come to Jesus and you’ll find peace. Come to Jesus and everything is going to be alright.
It’s not that those things aren’t true, but there is a lot more nuance in there. Coming to Jesus is wonderful, but it does not make for a perfect life. It does not negate all difficulty. Sometimes it actually makes things more difficult. Heck, Jesus tells us we’ll have trouble in this world. In other words, he’s saying you can’t always get what you want. So if we aren’t mindful of that and just think that Jesus is a magic formula for the life we desire, we can just turn Jesus into another way that we try to get what we want.
It is a good thing that we don’t always get our way. Conflict helps us to grow and mature. It is in fact something that we need because our wants can very often let us down. Getting our way typically does not satisfy us the way that we think it will. But that’s another Rolling Stones song entirely.