I don’t wanna gotta!

My “gottas” are taking over my life.

I just gotta do so much stuff! I gotta do the laundry. I gotta do my devotion. I gotta do homework with my kids. I gotta go to church. I gotta write. I gotta cook dinner. I gotta go to Bible Study. I gotta tweet. I gotta update facebook. I gotta spend time with so and so. I gotta make sure my kids are lice-free (that’s a blog for another day). I gotta get it together! Suddenly, the other day I threw my hands up in surrender and yelled, “I don’t wanna!” And there was a moment of silence.

The words “wanna” became music to my heart so I had a dialogue with it. (David had a habit of that, too.) “Heart. Why don’t I wanna?” And it came back so clear, “Because I gotta.” Ever been there? And then my heart whispered back, “Remember the freedom of just wanting to?” And I did. It washed over me like a montage of memories. SItting at my computer, smiling, writing out a novel to my daughters and other daughters of the King not because I had to but because I wanted to. I wanted to make a difference. That picture was replaced with me sitting at the table with my daughter, laughing while we worked on homework, not because it was a chore but because it was a moment that we had to share. Then, I watched as that picture folded into another picture of me newly married, humming as I folded my precious husband’s pants, careful not to slant the seams. Then there was a vision of me joyfully pouring over cook books so that I could find something new and adventurous so that my kids would have an advanced pallet of taste, not because I felt they had to but because I wanted to introduce them to a world bigger than Mac-n-Cheese and hotdogs. And I enjoyed each moment.

I wanna feel that again.
I don’t wanna gotta.

So, I asked my heart, “How do I get back to that?” Then slowly it dawned on me…by removing the “gotta”. Sounds easier than it is, actually. Just replace a word or a feeling, but maybe it really is that easy. Maybe it is enough to simply say, “I don’t wanna gotta!” Instead I remind myself that I want to because I realize what a gift, pleasure, joy, service it is! “Gotta” sounds like a chore, a hardship, a task. But “wanna” implies a gift, a privilege, a fullfillment. So that is my challenge to myself this week: “Let go of the gotta and embrace the wanna.” It might be easier said than done, but I have a feeling that it’s gonna feel a lot more productive! Like now for instance, I needed to blog…but I didn’t have to do it in my house at my desk…that’s why God invented laptops. So, I’m doing what I gotta do where I wanna do it, in the sun on my porch as I watch my dog scamper around the yard. Sighhhhh. Now, THIS is something I wanna do again!

“‘Til death do us part”

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

In a world where love has become a commodity of convenience, where Hollywood has tainted it and prettied it up to the point that it has become far fetched and anything but the love that Christ intended, it’s a beautiful thing to see the love of a husband like Robin Hartrick.

This is the man that married a divorced blind woman and took on the raising of her son. This is the man that stood beside her as she pursued the heart of God in ministry that would require much of her time and energy. This is the man that as her health failed, sat warmly and compassionately by her bed, praying for her and loving her. This is the man that as he watched his wife slowly die had the strength to say that he would never abandon her. And, when after many years of her battle with diabetes and its life changing results including leg amputations, he still stood at the celebration of her too brief life and could not regret a moment of their journey together. This is the man that meant his vows. This is the man that truly loved as Christ intends…not because it was convenient, or she was so beautiful, or things were going so well, but he loved because he vowed to love and realized that love in its truest form cannot be selfish.

What is the level of your commitment to your spouse? If the unthinkable happened would you stand by their side in love and support and selfless compassion? It’s a question I challenge myself to answer, and in the midst of my pondering, I beg my God to give me strength if such a day should come.

As you celebrate Valentine’s Day next week remind your spouse how very much they are loved, and how very much you don’t regret a minute of the journey.