Wednesdays with Jillene: “What do you want?”

“What do you want?”

What a question! The intent of the asking evident in inflection. Tone shows whether the inquiry is sincere in discerning  or if it is it is asked out of interrupted frustration.

How many times do I wish someone would just ask me what I want? How many times am I asked what I want only to realize I have no idea how to begin to answer? Can you relate?

In John 1, scripture records Jesus asking this very question.

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

Does this exchange perplex you at all? I’ve found myself turning this over for days now. The day prior John’s disciples heard him declared Jesus the one for whom John had been preparing the way. Jesus was the Son of God. Here they again encounter Jesus, the disciples follow him and Jesus asks them, “What do you want?”

How would I answer the question if Jesus posed it to me? Wow, what a thing to think about! Do you know how you’d answer?

Me… perhaps because I can be indecisive, maybe it is because I think of too many things at once, or because each day/hour/minute looks different… I’m not sure what I’d say. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about this! What would I answer if Jesus ask me, “What do you want?”

Hm… I want to be happy. I want to put my all into what I’ve been given in life. I want to be a good momma. I want to be a good friend. I want solid friendships. I want to be trusting and trustworthy. I want to be faithful. I want to be loving . I want to be worthy of love. I want to be hardworking. I want to be caring… and patient… and giving… and selfless… I want to live a life worthy…

What would I say?

Face-to-face with a God that knows all about me and loves me, gave His life for me, calls me beloved daughter, gave me new life, blesses me in ways beyond my understanding… well, maybe the only thing I could say is, “I want to want what you want for me.”

When Jesus asked the two disciples of John, they responded, “Where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

And, did they ever see! Their lives were changed.

I think I’ve been struggling for a while to focus myself as I pray. More truthfully, I felt pretty “unfocused” in general. Then it came time for Lent. There were many years of my life when things like celebrating Lent, advent, and many holidays in general wasn’t something I found important. My main thought on why: I should be living those things daily not just when the calendar says I should focus on them.

I still think that is valid and I recognize that left to my own devices I will avoid things that are tough and I will forget many things I truly intent to accomplish. Opening my heart to the very thing I thought I didn’t need has actually stretched and grown me more than I could have imagined.

So, back to Lent and feeling “unfocused.” 😉 This year I started a Lent devotional and then, my friend tagged me in an Instagram Photo-A-Day Lent “challenge.” I like photography so I thought I’d give it a go. Who would have known how much it would affect me? Oh yes, God did.

God’s been using this daily task of choosing a photo representing the word-of-the-day to reveal the answer to my what do you want? in such a neat way. People really take this Instagram thing a variety of ways, but I’ve been trying to reflect on the word of the day, what God’s Word has to say about the topic, how God has been at work in my life… and then I’m able to have fun taking pictures too.

So, how has God been at work through that? I’ve needed to be focused, intentional, in the Word, prayerful, honest and bold. Things I’ve deep down desired for a while. God is pretty neat, huh? And I’m so thankful as I humbly (again) see God faithfully at work in me.

How about you? What desires are on your heart? Have you been able to take them to God in prayer? How is God at work in your life? How would you respond to the question Jesus asked, “What do you want?” My Lent devotion offered this reflection:

This question invites us to stop, to consider the longings of our hearts and to share these with the Lord. We don’t often do this in our fast-paced everyday lives. The consequences are tragic. We rob ourselves of living a life of wonder and depth and passion. We find ourselves skimming along on the surface of life. We miss out on experiencing in-depth relationships with God and with others. Can you see why taking Jesus’ question is so important?

Take some time to read slowly the gospel story for the week (John 1:35-39). Imagine Jesus asking you the same question he asked the two disciples. Listen to the longings of your own heart, find words for them and share them with the Lord. You may also want to be quiet for a few moments to become aware of how the Lord responds to you.

-Set aside some time with God for this, don’t let it slip to the wayside of everything else on your to-do list, put on hold for interruptions or the myriad of things that could get in the way.

-If you are struggling, find someone to share that struggle with today (text, call, message, carrier pigeon if you so desire).

-If God has been at work take some time to thank him and find someone to share that with today. God will be glorified, you will be able to more clearly see Him at work and the person you share with will be blessed as well!


Curious about this whole Instagram thing? You can click here (or see some of my pictures in the right sidebar). You don’t need an Instagram account to see my pictures.


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