In lieu of my devotionals, I am reading a Christian book in the mornings and I am reading a really good one that is making me think of it all day long. It is called Anything, by Jennie Allen. Jennie is talking about her first date with a guy who became her husband. Over dinner, this cute boy she has just met asks her a bold question: “What do you want most out of life?” I will tell you her answer in a sec.
I was so fascinated by this question that I asked it of those at our dinner table last night and it stimulated a deep, heartfelt discussion. Of course, everyone’s dinner table is composed of lots of different characters but we had my husband, two of our grown sons and a 24 year old girlfriend (the one who went to the Influence conference with me). We were waiting while Jay whipped up a little dessert for us, and I was thinking this question might be too “deep” and everyone might be too tired (or tipsy) to answer seriously but as usual I was surprised.
They pressured me to go first. One said “…and you can’t answer JESUS!” Haha….they all know Jesus is the answer for me most of the time! Anyway, I said, “I want to make a positive difference to someone every day (for God).” William chimed in that I could never be sick! A therapist once used the term “meaningful intensity” with me. She said that raising children has deep "meaningful intensity" and there is really nothing else that can give you that, at least not to that degree. So when your kids are raised and successfully out the door, you might miss that meaningful intensity. I realized at the time that I had sort of become addicted to meaningful intensity and I continue to spend time looking for ways to satisfy that urging.
Back to the dinner table, our older son said, “I want to leave a legacy that I did a good job with balance. Balancing my family life and my work life. I also want to continue to create a business with integrity and where my employees feel valued and mentored.” Onto the youngest, who most often is the one who makes us laugh, who said, with uncharacteristic seriousness, “I want a lot of people at my funeral. I want to connect with people.” Carolyn said, “I really want to feel secure and self-confident that whatever I am doing feels right and I feel good about it.” Thoughtful discussion surrounded each response.
My husband finally returned with our tin roofs* (yum). We didn’t know if he had been listening or not. He had to ask me to repeat the question and then he said without hesitation, “…you know that picture of all of us on the front steps we took in July? There’s no question that that is what I most want – to have a happy, healthy loving family.” That called for a “Cheers!”
So back to Jennie Allen, her response to her soon-to-be-husband was, “I just don’t want to be normal.” You’ll have to pick up her book to see what she meant by that.
Bottom line: This life may seem long but compared to eternity, it is the blink of an eye. Think about what you want most in life and get after it!
Scoop of vanilla ice cream
Hershey’s chocolate syrup
(a delicious standby dessert – keep ingredients on hand!)
Jennie's book. I am about to finish it and I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm going to buy 10 copies and give them out!