I wrote this back in the fall when I was keeping a journal for my College Writing class, but I’ve been thinking about these topics a lot lately and reading over this entry has been both refreshing and challenging to me. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
I’ve been a bit gloomy in my journal entries lately, so this evening I went looking for something fun about which to ramble. I skimmed the journal idea list in the class syllabus first, mostly because I didn’t have to get up from my chair to reach it, and the instant I saw the cliché little sentence I knew I had my topic. The prompt: name three wishes. People have whipped out this conversation piece at parties, on bus rides, and even on one disputed occasion during a desperate battle between two feuding factions of sci-fi fans, but the three wishes format never gets old. It’s short, it’s simple, and it’s always both entertaining and insightful to hear what three things matter most to your friends.
My first wish would be to become a successful author. I would love nothing more than to hit the best-seller list, gain critical and popular acclaim, and be able to work at a job I love while eating Frankenberry cereal and listening to Romanian pop. On the one hand, this wish is not entirely impossible. After all, many aspiring authors have graduated to full-time status with remarkable speed, and there are also those who have to put forth more effort before they see results but still make it in the end. There’s also a more serious aspect to this wish, however, because it is far too easy for my lively imagination to get carried away with dreams of cereal-munching grandeur and lose my focus on the here and now. The truth is, I’m not a published author yet, and while I can still pursue my passion, I need to make sure that I’m also fulfilling the responsibilities that I do have.
That brings me to wish number two: I wish that I was a champion of time management. Sometimes I dream of being Master of Minutes, Prince of Priorities, and Emperor of Efficiency. Then my alarm goes off, I hit snooze seventeen and a half times, I open up my laptop to work on my upcoming Old Testament reading report, and I spend an hour browsing pictures of cats. All hail the Sultan of Scheduling. No doubt about it, I would be thrilled to receive the power of automatic discipline, but that’s the opposite of how discipline works. Discipline is all about forcing yourself to do what you need to do, not what you want to do, until you could do it in your sleep. The longer you go without discipline the harder it is to build, and the more often you make disciplined choices the easier it is to do the same next time, so this wish is achievable, too. I just need to make the move from wishing to doing.
The last wish is always the hardest, because after you decide on it you can’t go back – the wishing is over. Nonetheless, you have to decide eventually, so I choose trust. In fact, if I could only have one of these three wishes in real life I would take trust. It would be easy to wish for the money necessary for my college payments, or a girlfriend, or a comfortable life, but I don’t want to have those things handed to me at my bidding. I want to trust God to provide the things that I need at the time that I need them, and I admit that I have a difficult time doing that sometimes. I doubt whether God is interested in my looming debt or my longings for love or my desperate striving to be a better person, but in the end I know that not only is He interested in my life, He’s invested in my life. I wish I could hold onto that thought forever, that I could always remember and unfailingly believe that God is everything I will ever need, because everything else hinges on that truth. Yet even though my belief is not unfaltering, His love is, and I know that He is working through every circumstance of my life to build in me the ability, discipline, and trust that I desire.
Let’s give thanks to the God who makes wishes unnecessary.