What Are You Looking For?

Yesterday at The Red we examined the first recorded words of Jesus in the book of John:

“What are you looking for?”

This sounds like a simple question. But when I directed at myself, I found it difficult to answer.

What am I looking for?

* * * * *

I think the main problem lies in trying to decipher the difference between what I’m looking for in life and what I’m striving for. I strive for money, but only because I don’t want to be confined by a lack of it (there’s a strange paradox). I strive for success because I’m looking for adulation or acceptance.

Sometimes the things I strive for are even the opposite of what I truly want: I strive for comfort but actually desire adventure.

Some people strive for sex, when what they really want is intimacy. Some go after revenge, but the core of what they want has to do with justice.

Are these all bad things? Of course not. But major disappointment ensues when someone spends a long period of time, perhaps even their entire life, striving for something they don’t really want. Because the thing is, most people, if they are dedicated and focused enough, will eventually get what they strive for.

What are you looking for?

Are you living a life that will help meet you discover the primary things you are looking for, things like love, joy and peace? Or when you reach the top of the mountain you’ve chose to climb, will you be disappointed by the view?

* * * * *

Henri Nouwen writes that “without a clear goal, we will always be distracted and spend our energy on secondary things.”

Maybe this is why it’s the first thing that Jesus asked his disciples. “What are you looking for?” He knew that if they couldn’t answer that question, they would be distracted and easily discouraged from persevering.

Incidentally, the disciples’ response to Jesus’s question is just as insightful:

“Where are you staying?”

That’s what they wanted: To follow. To discover more.

So, how about it? What are you looking for?

2 Replies to “What Are You Looking For?”

  1. Thanks for this Shawn.
    I still think, unfortunately, that I’m looking for easy of life/security/safety/comfort. Sometimes I wonder what happened to my Lord of the Rings inspired desire for adventure and risk. I don’t think God wants to honor my prayers for the easy road. In fact, I’m sure he doesn’t.

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