Do You Know What You Want?

Ben BW Headshot

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we really want out of life. It’s how we make most of our decisions – from which cereal to eat in the morning to where to go to college. Without blinking, you could probably rattle off any number of clothing items, travel destinations, gadgets, relationships, or careers you wish you had.

It’s surprising how insignificant my wants are, and the more God grabs ahold of my life, the more he changes them and makes them his own. For all the attention we give to figuring out what we want out of life, I’ve found it’s the things I didn’t know I wanted that ended up being the most important.

The cliché “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone” gets at the same idea. Did you actually realize how much you liked high school (well, at least your high school friends) until after graduation? Did you really know how much you liked your mom’s cooking until you were thrust into a meal plan? Having just turned 30, I can tell you that these experiences only become more frequent as life goes on. I would be embarrassed to go back and examine the hopes and dreams of my late teens, not because of the hopes and dreams themselves, but because of how trivial they seem to me now after just a few short years.

Getting married (commitment!), having three sons (diapers!), taking on the responsibility of homeownership (mortgage!), serving my church and community (nights and weekends!): these are the circumstances of my life that have upended what I thought I wanted. But I can confidently say I have never enjoyed life more than I do right now. And this tells me that while I may have a grasp on what I think I want, I have no idea what I should want.

I don’t know what you want out of life, what you want out of college, or what you want out of your relationships, but I do know that if you are anything like me, the most important things are prob- ably not at the top of your list.

God has a way of placing us in situations that simultaneously shred our wish lists (which is terrifying) and replace them with a vision of life that we could never have dreamed up in a million years. He calls us to lay down our narrow and misguided desires and to embrace his purpose, to align ourselves with the reason he created us in the first place. He is our Father, and he wants us to come home and realize how good it really is.

I welcome you to read the stories here slowly and thoughtfully. You won’t find a single wish list that’s been checked off. You will see a loving Father who knows his children better than they know themselves, and is waiting for them to figure it out.

Ben Hughes works for the local Christian Fellowship churches. Reach him at