What Do You Actually Want?

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”—James 4:1

Andy Stanley wrote a wonderful book about the care and management of the human heart called It Came from Within. In it, he says that whenever he would catch his young sons fighting, he would break it up by saying, “You know why you’re fighting? Because someone here is not getting what they want!” Taking the time to confess and describe what it is we actually want can have a seemingly mystical power to defuse a quarrel.

Often, we don’t even know. The combatant has to think about the question. That is because we feel a lack before we understand it. We shirk from searching for the meaning of the feeling, because we fear our desires won’t be heard or fulfilled—leaving us feeling even worse. It’s strange, but the result is that we tend to fight first, before even taking the time to squarely face and describe what it is we feel we are missing.

[31 Days of James]