Turning off the “Wanter”

A minister I once knew talked about the ads at Christmas and how they never failed to turn on his “wanter.”  I laughed.  How well I remember watching the mailbox for the Sears Christmas catalog so that I could snatch it up before my brothers and sisters got hold of it.  Skimming through those pages switched on my “wanter” and sent it soaring into high gear.  I would grab up my mother’s red pen and circle every toy I wanted—which was many.

Guess what?  “Wanters” also get turned on in May.  Yesterday a friend showed me her top-of-the line iPad, and I was hooked.  I wanted one!  Never mind that I got a new iPhone last Christmas and still can only do the basics.  Never mind that it more than meets my needs.  Never mind! I want an iPad!

Believe it or not, I truly am satisfied, happy, and blessed.  So how come I feel I just have to own all the cool toys that yesterday I didn’t even know existed?

When I was in India visiting a school for abandoned girls, I snapped this picture.  She could eat for the greater part of a year for the price of a new iPad. 

Thank you, young one, for doing what I can’t seem to manage.  Thank you for turning off my “wanter.”

“Own only what you can carry with you:  know languages, know countries, know people.  That is all you need.”

 Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Turning off the “Wanter”

  1. Ahhh…that feeling of want, want, want. The wanter in me. God always gives me what I need, need, need. And so I look more for the needer in me.

    Like this morning: I wanted to get up at 5 a.m.–I have so much to do to prepare for a writers conference this weekend where I’ll be teaching. I didn’t set an alarm. My body has been waking me up at 5 for months now (I go to bed at 9 to allow this to happen). But this morning, I woke up at 5:44.

    God knows what I need, and often, it’s not what I want.

  2. Well put, BJ. I know you will do a great job at the conference. Wish I were closer to Orange County, and I’d could come by and cheer for you!

  3. Each fall when I was in high school, that time of life when being cool is so important, I was “taken over” by desire for a beautiful wardrobe. I looked through magazines lusting for clothing in “cranberry” or “warm vanilla” or whatever looked lovely on those size 5 models. Luckily I was a 5 or a 7 in those days. Not so lucky, we didn’t have any money. My mom always forced me to buy three or four outfits a la Walmart while I wanted just one (or ten) really nice Nordstrom ensembles. The good news is I survived without the exotic wardrobe, though I still remember the strength of the longing to have and own. Underlying that longing was the belief that if I owned, I’d somehow be more acceptable. So glad I’ve learned to ignore the “wanter” in me. I should have traveled to India at a younger age, the process would have been shorter.

  4. Oh, Jan, how true that is. Nothing changes the “wanter” in us to thanksgiving like seeing how truly blessed we are!

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