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Guest Post: The Want to Want to – Blake Atwood

Photo Credit – Creative Commons: MKHalili

I recently decided to invite guest post submissions here at The Daily ReTORt, to be presented as part of a weekly guest post feature every Friday.

Today marks the inagaural edition of this guest post feature – courtesy of an outstanding writing buddy of mine, Blake Atwood. If you’d like to submit a guest post here are the guidelines.

I am not as disciplined as I would like to be.

Can you relate?

Whether it’s taking time to read the Bible, work out or write, my inner drive seems constantly stuck in neutral. While idling, every distraction beckons me to heed its siren call.

  • You should lay down. You worked hard today. Sitting at that computer and typing? In a sometimes air-conditioned office in Texas? That’s rough.
  • You really need to watch that next Battlestar Galactica episode. You only have 83 to go. Who knows when the frackin’ Netflix gods will take them all away from you?
  • You ought to work more on your blog design. Don’t worry that you haven’t written anything in months. People don’t visit your blog because of the way it looks, so get to fiddling.

I’ve lived with these voices for so long that they often need only whisper into my ear and I’m instantly on the couch, watching BSG, thinking about what my blog should look like.

This is not how I want to live my life.

A former pastor of mine often spoke of  “The want to want to,” referring to a Christian believer’s lack of desire in pursuing Christ. He said that God can use even “the want to want to.” As long as you can get to the place of wanting to want to make a certain spiritual practice part of your daily routine, God will provide the grace to help you establish that habit.

I believe that holds true for spiritual practices as well as for choosing to redeem your time in other areas, like your relationships, your job, or your health.

Personally, I am terrible when it comes to reading my Bible on a consistent basis. As an editor and lover of words, this is ironic and maybe even blasphemous. Despite the fact that I grew up in the church, minored in religion during college, and served on staff at a church, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever read the entire Bible cover-to-cover. Years ago I wanted to change that, but I believe God wanted that to change as well. I can gladly say that, by God’s grace, I accomplished that goal.

However, this change did not come swiftly or without difficulty. I learned that what may subtly sit behind a lack of desire to pursue something meaningful is the thought that you can’t ever really change, that you’re on your own, or that God’s disinterested in you. These are lies. Believe the reverse and you may just feel the birth pangs of a “want to want to.”

What’s great about “the want to want to” is that you only need a mustard seed to start. Mustard seeds can be as small as 4/100th of an inch in diameter. Ponder that. God can do something impressive from even that. See Mark 9:24 as evidence.

I believe God will honor your desire to desire more because the end goal works for your good and His glory, insofar as what you yearn to do finds its ultimate resolution in honoring God or loving others.

“Don’t waste your time or time will waste you.” – Muse

Now, in the comments, it’s your turn: What are your major distractions? How do you get to the place to want to want to?

Blake Atwood is the Church Leadership Editor at FaithVillage.com and blogs at BlakeAtwood.com. Follow him @batwoodor @FVmomentum.

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  1. See, I have a totally different impression. Not that yours is wrong- but that there are many.
    When I was a tyke (ok, around 9), I read Voltaire. And, fell in love with one statement that I wrote (thanks, Great Grandpa for teaching me calligraphy) on a piece of parchment and posted on my wall. It was- and is- a prayer (non-sectarian) which still stirs me….
    May you live as long as you want to…
    And, want to as long as you live….
    Proof that Voltaire, as is true for most great novelists, lives on today.

  2. This may not be the best post for your blog entry…but I appreciated it. I have three small girls. One is 7 now and the twins are 4. When they were really little I used to put my Bible on the back of the toilet so I would actually read it while I was “alone” for a few minutes. I know that’s awful to some extent but I really tell my busy Mom friends that they have more time than they think…waiting for your kids at the carpool line, while your eating breakfast or lunch, BEFORE you check Facebook.
    I am also an artist and found that if I ASKED God for time to paint that He truly, truly gave me the time. It may be 20 minutes that day but it was enough to keep the muscles going.
    I do little tricks with myself too. I purposely read my Bible at the kitchen table where there are no computers or phones around. I purposely turn off my computer when I paint. I have to do these things because I know what a pull they are to my mind.
    Lastly, I read that C.S. Lewis took care of a woman named Mrs. Moore for the rest of her life (he had promised his friend in WWI that if he died he would take care of his mom). When she got elderly she became very hard to be with and demanded a lot of time from Lewis for tea and warmth and anything else she needed. He would literally stop writing to see to her needs when she rang a bell. I thought of this with my girls and how maybe there is something to be interrupted that God wants to weave into the work you are doing..some humility and servant mindedness. But never does God want us to give up.

    • As usual Dawn, I appreciate your insights and personal stories of finding time in the midst of busyness to do good work. I didn’t know about that Lewis story either . . . and he wrote a few good things in his lifetime. : )

  3. Blake my major distractions are always my family. I always relish the chance to play with my little ones or talk with my husband. So I have created a list of things that must get done daily. And the sooner that list is done the sooner I have the chance to break away and play if I like.

  4. Blake, if there’s anything I appreciate, it is the honesty. I know what its like to fight my body and my body kick my tush. Over, and over, and over again. You’re not the only one who’s been there. But you’re not the only one who’s changed. Great post!

    • “Over, and over, and over again.” Every day’s a new fight, right? But it does seem to get a bit easier as time passes and drudgery becomes habit becomes something I actually look forward to. Thanks for sharing (and tweeting) Mike.

  5. First off, the Battlestar reference was awesome. My husband and I recently finished the series, so I don’t have that excuse anymore.

    Second, my distractions are that I’m just too tired. The comfy couch and a good movie are just too tempting. How do I get to wanting to wanting to? I think getting quiet is the best way I can start.

    • Thansk for the comment Jamie. I’m halfway through S2 of BSG, so, of course, I have to see how it ends now.

      You make a great point. Sometimes we have to cut out things that aren’t necessarily bad in order to
      do things that could be great. And great things (even the small steps that lead to great things) require dedicated, consistent work, even above the work you do day-to-day.

      Then again, there’s much to be said for letting your brain rest every now and then. I think it’s in finding your own rhythm between dedication and relaxation that you’ll start to reap rewards.

      Now go kill some toasters!

  6. tati cordeiro says:

    “I’m not as disciplined as I would like to be.”

    I think I say some version of that thought every single day.
    Whatever the biggest project of the moment is, i find myself, instead, organizing a stack of papers, washing dishes, –doing the “immediate/false urgent” and not the priority. Listening to a few recent messages by Paul Washer, I was further convicted, actually grieved, by the lack of depth in my relationship with God. This article resonates with me because there is a great “want” to “want to.” The want for change, the fear that it will not happen; the want for depth, yet all the earthly that distracts the sacrifice.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Tati, thanks for leaving a comment.

      You’re spot on in regards to the fact that, for many of us, it’s a daily fight to do what we know is right or purposeful or what will draw us closer to God.
      I take solace in the fact that even Paul couldn’t always win this fight: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15).
      That chapter is followed up by one of the most powerful verses in the Bible: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
      So, my humble two cents: Don’t allow false guilt over past perceived failures to prevent you from following through on whatever action you feel led to take (no matter how small).
      Small steps on a daily basis can lead to incredible things. The faith of a mustard seed isn’t big at all—it’s just enough.


  1. […] I’m also in charge of church tech content within FaithVillage. I’ve written a few guest posts for bloggers I’ve met as a result of their involvement contributing to FaithVillage. All […]

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