What Do You Really Want?

by | Feb 20, 2012 | Uncategorized

His question startles me from daydreams over the patterned carpet in the sanctuary and  ducks waddling under heavy rain just outside the low window. I sit on the padded seats in the front row between my kids, when H asks the audience, “What do you really want?”

As if on cue, a rumble of thunder shakes the building in the pause. Rain sounds like sand dumping slow crescendo on roof.

He refers to the way Elijah asks Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you,” before he leaves the earth in a fiery whirlwind. (II Kings 2:1-12)

I think about that question, glance over at my son. Our linked shoulders create a bridge between cerebral space and I assume to know what he wants. The video editing equipment he orders on Amazon two days ago, so he can create masterpieces.

As I caress the arm of my daughter, I remember the boards she creates on Pinterest last night, with clothes she wants for her sweet sixteen in just a few weeks.  Is this how they would answer his question?

Solomon answers wisdom and I want to rip out all the carpet in my house and enjoy wood floors, paint the family room and go to Europe yesterday. But when I think about what I really want, I remember a night decades ago.

How my heart beats like mallet on a bass drum, shaking the bed where I lay in rhythm of metronome. I am just twelve years old, tucked under blankets alone in a house deep in the wooded pitch of night, when I hear the intruder break in to the basement. Hear footsteps squeak on the cold, clammy dungeon of cement, creak up each wooden step, turn the rusty knob to open latched door.

It was then that I realized what I want. It changed my view of want forever. When I called out to God to rescue me, protect me from the evil lurking just steps away from my bedroom.

I want to know the presence of God. Know that He loves me, stands at the foot of shaking bed to hear my cries for help, watch protective over me, rejoice when I sigh relief, shed tears in sorrow of loneliness.

I want to know the presence of God more than I want things, control, or status.

And maybe it takes a brush with terror, the heartbreak of loss, the emptiness of poverty for the heart to understand that what we want lies behind the eyes of the one who sees us true.

When Elisha answers Elijah’s question – what do you want – he replies, “Let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” Maybe this seems a bit greedy to you, wanting to have twice as much as the one who speaks rain into existence and fire to fall from heaven.

But really, when he requests a double portion, he refers to the inheritance of the first-born child who rightfully receives more than the others do. In essence, Elisha asks to be Elijah’s rightful heir to the mantel of prophecy. Not because of all the signs and wonders he will proclaim, but because he hopes, it is what God wants.

At the depths of the soul wanting, do we want what God wants? To be an authentic heir, to belong, to have our name carved into the bloodline of the mystery. Want this more than anything else?

We stand among the crowd holding umbrellas and jackets above their heads, ready to brave the sheets of wet that fall from the sky. Ask the kids if they want to go out for breakfast and they shrug their shoulders, grey clouds casting ambivalence.

Later, as we sit over plates painted yellow egg and caramel sticky, we laugh about not being hungry when we stood on the cold tile of indecision and I don’t think I’m hungry, just minutes before.

Maybe the question isn’t, what do I want; rather, what do you want, God.

Can you trust Him when He answers?

As we continue the Joy Dare with Ann, thanking him for three things a day, 1000 in 2012, will you kindly share a bit of gratitude in the comments today. Let’s link hands through cyberspace to celebrate His goodness as we approach the season of Lent.

  • The way my kids order coffee at breakfast and widen the eyes of the waitress.
  • How my son eats his waffle, her sausage and half of my crab benedict after he said he wouldn’t order anything because he isn’t hungry.
  • The list of food items my kids say they just won’t order off a menu anymore because the way I cook them is always so much better.
  • A dim room and all of us under blanketed couches and chairs to watch Downton Abbey.
  • Today, a day off for all of us.

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  1. LuAnn

    I’m thankful for:
    Shelly, whose heart and words seem to echo my own unarticulated feelings and thoughts
    for a day to enjoy my family and especially my sweet mother-in-law
    for waking free, safe and at peace
    for the “unmeritted and luxurious health” my family and I enjoy

    • Redemption's Beauty

      LuAnn, I am thinking about you today, wishing I could be there to celebrate your birthday tomorrow. I have had your present for weeks and of course, it needs to be put in a box and mailed, still. So frustrated with myself but it will get there eventually. That list of thanks is so inspiring, and that first one, well, it’s why God brought us together as friends all those years ago in the desert! Love you friend.

      • Minister Aiken

        Absolutely beautiful and heart felt.
        Such peace and comfort in looking at the beauty of them.

        God is truly an awesome wonder!!

        Keep up the good work. I have no doubt that God is smiling down on you and your ministry.

        God bless and do tell the Lord thank you.

        Your sister in Christ.

        • Redemption's Beauty

          Debra,thank you for your kind words and for joining our little community here. It’s nice to have you following along!

  2. Dawn@Dawnings

    What beautiful words with so much more than breakfast to feast on. Thank you for the hard questions that I will no doubt ponder throughout this day.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Dawn. The inspiration comes from my husband. I am still thinking about his words too.

  3. kelly

    1. Grateful to know the encouraging inner musings of Shelly Miller’s soul.
    2. Grateful for friends across years and miles that are still clay in God’s hands.
    3. Grateful for God’s patient skill with the vessels.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      (((Kelly)))), your comment made me smile and rejoice over God’s goodness. His goodness in bringing our families together all those years ago in Colorado. In some ways it seems just like yesterday. So grateful for you, and your heart. I pray we get to see each other in real life agin before we are both wrinkled up!

  4. kd sullivan

    We want the same thing; you and I. 🙂

  5. Sherri

    Love this post today. It gives me food for thought,

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Sherri, the thoughts were born out of H’s sermon on Sunday. Glad it gives you something to ponder. That’s what I hope for!

  6. Colline

    As I was reading this it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Colline, I am just grateful that God used the words here to move your heart. And so thrilled to havve you join this little community here. Thanks for following!

  7. Lisa notes

    I woke up thinking I wanted a day in bed. But then I remembered that he already gave me that (essentially) on Saturday. How quickly I forget his gifts!

    I want his peace, his purpose, his presence…Him. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lisa, I think we desire the same things. And a day in bed sounds divine! We had a quiet day at home getting some neglected organizing finished. It was nice.

  8. Pam

    Thought-full post : )

  9. Danielle

    Found your beautiful blog via Kelly Sauer. “I want to know the presence of God more than I want things, control, or status” is a question I was searching myself with last week as I did a study on Jacob wrestling with God. Prior to the wrestling match, Jacob just wanted God’s blessings without the relationship. Finally, God got his attention to the point Jacob wouldn’t let go until he had not just the covenantal blessing, but God himself. What a great reminder about what really matters in my life! Thanks for such a beautiful post today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Danielle, it is a pleasure to meet you through Kelly’s place. She is one inspiring gal, isn’t she? I love the story of Jacob wrestling with God. I do a bit of wrestling myself and think of that story often. And it is all about relationship with Him, isn’t it? Appreciate your thoughtful comment and hope you will come back for more conversation.

  10. toshowthemjesus

    “And maybe it takes a brush with terror, the heartbreak of loss, the emptiness of poverty for the heart to understand that what we want lies behind the eyes of the one who sees us true.” Yes! Needed to read that today:) And I love Downton Abbey:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My heart sighs deep with your words: yes, I needed to read that today. Thank you!
      We were just discussing over dinner whether or not the Dowton Abbey Christmas episode was the season finale and how long we will have to wait for the next one. We love that show!

  11. roseann elliott

    we are neighbors today…great question…do I really trust Him enough to ask…what does God want…can I trust His answer? Isn’t this really where are find abiding peace?
    blessings to you…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Roseann, it is so funny how we are often neighbors at link-ups. I am sure it is His doing.
      And yes, I do think this is where we find abiding peace, asking Him and trusting in the answer. Amen!

  12. Positively Alene

    To want God above all and His presence — I so needed this reminder today because that’s all I crave! Lord, snatch my heart and hold it captive for you! Blessings from Joy Dare.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I will stand with you in that prayer Alene!

  13. Lyla Lindquist

    I think you have it here; what we all really want, really long for, is Him. Pure and simple. He’s put that in us and left us in such a way that He’s all that will satisfy.

    Trouble comes in that we can’t get our hands around that, and we so easily gravitate toward the things we can. How we need to be reminded that He is all, He is enough. Even when I don’t get it. And you’ve just reminded me, quite beautifully. Thank you, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lyla, I certainly haven’t mastered this but I think that what I want has definitely changed with the passage of time. It seems the accumulation of time tells us what is most important and where to focus – on Christ alone. I am still learning, hope I never stop. Thanks for being here.

  14. bluecottonmemory

    I think you are right – when tough times come, we do “want” God – and as much as I want my children blessed, to not suffer hurts, I “want” to each them how to handle challenges and that in the handling they find God. Pretty powerful parenting message in your post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I never thought about it that way, in the context of parenting. Thanks for pointing that out.

  15. Deidra

    Just listening to the conversation here. And smiling, because you were daydreaming in church.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Of course you would catch that part Deidra – the daydreaming!

  16. wynnegraceappears

    Shelly, your words your photography — such gifts. I go on these wonderful journeys with your stories. Each is special. Each a treasure. And I look forward to the next trip I take on the pages of your blog. What amazing places we go with sisters in Christ. Thank you for doing what you do.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aww, thanks so much Elizabeth. I do appreciate your kind words and so glad you are entering this blogging journey too. I am reading yours and see it evolving. Keep writing.

  17. Sylvia R

    Shelly, thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful (and riveting) post. Leaving me thinking, in the direction I like to, want to, think. What do I really want? The further along I go in life, the more I see of the blessing and bane in the earthly stuff, the more I want more of Him. Blessings to you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Sylvia and I am right there with you friend. The passage of time helps one to see life more clearly, doesn’t it?

  18. floralba

    It is a call to arms for our spiritual souls! I am grateful for the community of bloggers that I am becoming more familiar with and am constantly challenged to come up higher by, thankful for my husband and children, and for His presence in our lives…..bless you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I feel that same, so grateful for the community of bloggers and the people He brings in my life to challenge and affirm my faith. So glad you are here!

  19. Jean Wise

    Beautifully written. Glad I found your blog and your writing. Love Downton Abbey too.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Jean, its a pleasure to meet you, especially a Downton Abbey lover!

  20. carissa

    yes and amen. it takes awhile to chip away at the world, but once we do, is it ever worth it! more of Him is always the best!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Carissa, so glad I found your blog. Thanks for offering a place to link up and meet new bloggers.

  21. Denise

    Such a lovely post.

  22. michelle derusha

    Powerful writing here, Shelly. And that last question stopped me in my tracks {beautiful photos, too}.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Michelle. So appreciate your putting the story on Facebook too!

  23. Nancy

    I think if you had asked me this question just a couple of years ago, I think I most definitely wouldn’t have answered God’s presence. I think I was just too afraid of Him. A couple of years ago when a friend/spiritual director asked me the question, I said I wanted joy and peace. Only one source that I know of for those things.

    I am thankful for a weekend spent with dear friends, and the opportunity to talk and laugh and pray with them. Their friendship has been a gift for many years.

    Beautiful writing, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I echo your thoughts Nancy. I have come to understand God more clearly as time passes but still learning every day.
      Don’t you love those times away with friends? They refresh the soul for good things. I have two close girlfriends that I try to get together with once or twice a year. We used to live in the same city and now we all live around the country. Those times together rejuvenate.

  24. Laura Boggess

    What a way you have with words, friend. This is just beautiful. My heart pounded wild for that 12 year old you and I still can’t get over the ways those empty times can haunt. And look where He has carried you–wood floors and pinterest and video equipment aside–straight into His arms.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Laura, thanks for reminding me, seeing it so clearly, where He has brought me. Your discernment made me teary.

  25. Jen

    this: “but because he hopes, it is what God wants.” I hope and then I must leave my hope at His feet, enabling Him to change the desires of my heart if our hearts are not beating as one.

    What an amazing post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen Jen. I guess if Elisha hadn’t seen Elijah taken away, things might have been different for him. And then he would have to be okay with that. Just like we do. Thanks for being here Jen. I know you try to visit as many as you can who link with you and I don’t take it for granted.

  26. glendachilders

    So, Shelly, what happened to the burglar?

    I love the feeling of being able to call on God for protection.


    • Redemption's Beauty

      Glenda, thankfully he left the house. We found a ladder pushed up to a bedroom window the next day and footprints all around the house. It creeps me out still, just thinking about it. But God saved me that night. Heard my prayer and answered it.

  27. Diana Trautwein

    Just found your site after seeing your comments at several places I frequent. This is lovely – and so true. Both the deepest desire part – and the ways in which we so often short-circuit that desire. Thank you for the reminder that underneath all the external ‘wants’ in my life, what I want most of all is more of Jesus – for me and through me to others.

  28. Tereasa

    Wow… the desire to abide in Christ is multiplying rapidly within me. “Abide” is my chosen word for the year and it cries out from everything I read. Here I am again, face to face with desire. More. . . That’s what I want, just like you. I want to know Him and live in the inheritance of his abiding Spirit. Thanking God for you today and others joining me in this journey.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Tereasa, it is so lovely to meet you and learn a bit about how God is speaking to you in this season of abiding in Him. I think you are in a good place!

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