photo of abstract painting

I used to be afraid of wanting too much.

I remember member a moment from when I was four years old. My grandmother, who was one of my closest relatives, had cancer. Before bed I prayed for her (as I probably did every night). I prayed that she would not die. That night she did. Somehow, in my four year old brain, as I continued to grow up in a very particular kind of faith, I felt like I had asked for something I shouldn’t have. 


Over the years there were other moments where I would pray for something and I wouldn’t get it. Or the opposite would happen. (And another time we can have a longer conversation about what prayer is and what it’s for, but just hang with me for this one.)


I got it in my head that wanting things probably meant I wasn’t going to get them. Not only that, but it was selfish to want things. I should just be content with whatever was handed to me. 


Now listen, I’m a fan of contentment and gratitude. I believe in making the best with what you can. But the way that I had internalized these ideas really hurt me. They led to all sorts of self-sabotague. They made me push down my desires. They kept me playing small when being larger would have served everyone better. 


Even after I left the theology that started these beliefs, I still carried them around. I still had them working on me, deep deep down. I would sometimes use different language to describe why I wasn’t wanting something, but the truth is I was continuing to play out that old pattern. I was continuing to give in to my fear. 


Wanting things is scary. It makes you vulnerable. And there’s a chance you won’t get it. There’s a chance you’re not actually good enough to get the thing you want (at least not right now). There’s a chance it’s not in the cards for you. There’s a chance you WILL get it but then you’ll find out it wasn’t actually what you thought it was going to be and then where will you be?


It’s easier to not want. Or to at the very least not admit to anyone that you want. It’s easier to hold back. (Or at least it seems that way). 


But I am done worrying about wanting too much. I am done holding on to old stories that don’t serve me anymore. I am done giving in to a pattern that isn’t making my life better. 


Here’s to wanting. And here’s to wanting out loud.