Ah, The Wily Will

My will does not conform easily.

Never has.

I wonder if it ever will.

The spirit

Is willing,


But its headstrong counterpart,

The will,

Scratches and claws

Like little burrs that

Cling to sock and shoe,

And must be plucked off

With ridiculous regularity.


kpeterson    April 14, 2013


Any other not-so-reformed strong willed peeps out there?   Ah, the will.   I’m using that word to talk about that scratchy resistance to being told “No”; the unrealistic desire for things to always/usually go the way I want them to.   Ugh, it’s a wily creature.  One day it lines up and helps push this broken old vehicle up the hill; the next, it refuses to  lift a finger to help.  And on the really hard days, it decides to park its oafish backside 0n the hood of the car where it makes forward progress a real chore, until a string of bad words threatens to escape like so much foul exhaust.

I have yet to discover a way to kill the will.  I wish it were possible.  Sometimes I’ve imagined that other people have it easier:  people with milder temperments or more highly developed senses of reason.  I’d like to think that.  But really, we all wrestle with our will.  If we didn’t, this world would be a far less needy, frustrated place.  The spectrum of the will’s influence is staggering.  From indulging my sweet tooth way too frequently ( I have a serious problem), to my next career opportunity (or lack thereof),  I wrestle with the gap between what I WANT to happen and what DOES happen.  And where that wrestling happens, I  find my will whining.

What I’m learning to do is just drag that whimpering will of mine out into the light of His word, His good and patient care, and call it what it is. 

“That’s what I want, Lord…………………………..But what do YOU want?”


And  when I choke out this prayer, I am usually flooded with awestruck appreciation that Jesus knows this exchange all too well, over something that really did matter in the grand scheme of things.   In the Garden of Gethsemane, he said those very words. 

Hallelujah.  What a Savior. 

And when I mean those words, I find my will usually gets off the hood and helps me start pushing again, wonder of wonders.

I want to write about this some more in coming days, but for now, see if this straightforward gem of a prayer from Matt Maher, a musician, doesn’t distill  the exchange from “What I want” to “What you want” into a breath-sized prayer.  I think he articulates that holy exchange beautifully.

“Everything I am,

Everything I long to be,

I lay it down

At your feet.”



This entry was posted in At the Throne of Grace, Call to be Courageous and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ah, The Wily Will

  1. Connie Cochran says:

    It’s always been an irony for me that God gave us all a free will, which we then have to figure out how to control for His purpose. Some of us, ahem, we’re gifted with a stronger will than than the ability to manage it. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever figure it out.

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