What do I want?

Why do I want it?

Lack and desire doesn’t always equate to need.

Today’s Scripture

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
James 4:2‭-‬3 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.4.2-3.NLT

Life Application Study Bible

James mentions the most common problems in prayer: not asking, asking for the wrong things, asking for the wrong reasons. Do you talk to God at all? When you do, what do you talk about? Do you ask only to satisfy your desires? Do you seek God’s approval for what you already plan to do? Your prayers will become powerful when you allow God to change your desires so that they perfectly correspond to his will for you.

“Accepting” God’s will and guidance for our lives is quite different than “asserting” our own will and demands — it is actually deciding to come into “agreement” with God’s perfect will.

Are our prayers faithful and accepting “like a little child”, like the “least of these”, which is how we see the Kingdom of God being described repeatedly throughout scripture — contrasted against those asserting our own will — seeking their own glorification, their own desires, their own way?

Lord, help us to be not just accepting and not just asserting, but help us to find that wonderful opportunity for agreement, when it comes to your will — and where it pertains to loving, forgiving, and living out this life with our brothers and sisters. Amen.

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Application

When considering the concept of “accepting vs asserting” in the workplace, or in any “team” setting — I’m not advocating an attitude that has one weak, powerless, silent, and without influence within our circles of influence. But I am reminded of martial arts like Hapkido where one focuses on deflecting attacks and redirecting the momentum and force of an attacker, instead of forcefully blocking an attack head on.

In the workplace, most of us are in a melting pot of coworkers with varied cultural, moral, and professional perspectives and motivators. And many times these differences can bring about conflict.

If we are not understanding and valuing the input of others, we can find ourselves in a perspective of always defending our own ideas and desires, and seeking how best to assert ourselves through direct debate/ resistance, or even through indirect manipulation/maneuvering “against our opponent”.

But a workplace divided and spending energy “against itself” with folks seeking to “assert dominance” of their own ideas and desires will never flourish like one that accepts the varying forces and aligns them. Infighting is subtractive efforts that produce diminishing and divisive results, while aligning is adding efforts together to produce a multiplication of productivity.

So how do we lead in this manner of “accepting not asserting” that isn’t just a false, surface level manipulative maneuvering that looks like cooperation but that is really still opposition and resistance?

We listen. Truly listen. And we do so because we value the input of those around us. We don’t just listen to block and counter. We listen to appreciate the “why” behind the forces at play, and to help collectively and cooperatively guide all of our unique forces towards the goal at hand.

How many times have we instead, just sought to win the battle of getting our own way, and even if we won by having the best argument, lost out on realizing that the combined understanding of each unique and valuable perspective could have produced an altogether new “team solution” that would have exceeded the benefits of just one person’s individual argument “winning out”.

If you feel like you are the only one bringing intelligent solutions to the table every time there is a “debate”, you are either deceived by your own swelling pride and narcissism and you need to leave for somewhere else that has leadership strong enough and willing to humble you, or you truly need to seek employment elsewhere immediately before the rats all go down with the ship. Seriously, there is no middle ground on this issue. If you don’t respect and value any of your coworkers — you need to get out immediately, because whether you’re right or wrong in your assessment of them, it convincingly proves that you shouldn’t be there.

For most of us, hopefully we are not at either of those extremes, but some of us will find ourselves needing to remember and “accept” more regularly the value of the combined input of “the whole team” — not just seeking to “assert” our own ideas or to buckle under that one narcissist guy that always “asserts” himself.

The force of your “why” is valuable and so is your coworker’s. Step in today to understand, to value, to accept, and to cooperate. Wage peace.

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
~ John F. Kennedy

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” ~ Nelson Mandela

“To replace the old paradigm of war with a new paradigm of waging peace, we must be pioneers who can push the boundaries of human understanding. We must be doctors who can cure the virus of violence. We must be soldiers of peace who can do more than preach to the choir. And we must be artists who will make the world our masterpiece.” ~Paul Chappell

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV