Bob Tamasy: Wanting What We Want – And Mad When We Don’t Get It

Thursday, November 07, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

My friend Brad, an attorney, specializes in mediation and conflict resolution. Factors that contribute to conflict are complex and diverse, but in many cases he has found a singular, common cause – people don’t get what they want.

Think about it: Marriages descend into turmoil because one or both spouses insist on getting their own way and become furious when they don’t. Close friends part ways because expectations aren’t met. They willingly risk destroying loving and long-term relationships because they don’t get what they want.

Churches split because quarreling factions arise, one side set on a certain course and another side insisting on a different way. Professional athletes angrily accuse owners or management of “disrespecting” them because their demands aren’t met. In both scenarios the complaint is much the same: “We’re not getting what we want.”

When we think “conflict,” many of us turn our thoughts almost immediately to Washington, D.C., where Democrats and Republicans choose to take positions of arrogance and stubbornness over compromise and mutual understanding. Leaders of both parties engage in bitter conflict – to the detriment of the American people – all because of convictions they’re not getting what they want.

Of course this is nothing new. Throughout the history of mankind, conflicts of all magnitudes have spawned battles and wars because people didn’t get what they wanted. Look at any major war and you’ll find an element of this to some degree.

Fame and fortune offer no antidotes for conflict. Celebrated comic duos like Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, all experienced intense conflicts, even if not as highly publicized as such clashes are in today’s media. The same has been the case through the years with many of the great musical groups, including the Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel. So-called “perfect Hollywood couples” announce separations due to “irreconcilable differences.” Translation: “We’re not getting what we want.”

We even find this reality represented over and over in the Bible, which doesn’t sugarcoat such strife. “I want what I want” conflicts started with Cain and Abel. They continued with Abraham and his nephew, Lot; Joseph and his jealous brothers; Samson and Delilah; David and Saul; Barnabas and Paul. And let’s not forget the classic example: Judas Iscariot.

James 4:1-2 tells us, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”

So what’s the solution? Like conflicts themselves, resolving them usually isn’t easy or simple. But the passage above points out an important principle. When we don’t get what we want, we should appeal to God for it rather than trying to get it through our own feeble and faulty efforts.

And if He says no, if our prayers aren’t answered – at least not in the way we want – we should be willing to accept that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and that His plans are better than ours.

After all, as 1 Timothy 6:6 states, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” This might seem unrealistic in our “it’s all about me” culture, which seems to dismiss contentment as foolish, impractical, even weak. But it’s God’s way; and His way is always better. 

---


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Bob Tamasy: Good 4-Way Test

Years ago I was a member of the Rotary Club in the metropolis of Tomball, Texas (about 30 miles from Houston), but until a couple weeks ago I’d forgotten about a cornerstone philosophy for every good Rotarian.   I was at a Rotary luncheon in Norfolk, Neb. (another metropolis) with my friend, Steve, and at the opening of their meeting the members recited what’s known as ... (click for more)

Good Shepherd Luthern Church Has Advent Services Concerts

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will host two concerts at their Wednesday Advent Services. The Chattanooga Girls Choir will be performing on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. Jericho Brass will give their annual concert at the church on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m.   The church is at 822 Belvoir Ave. in East Ridge.  For more information call the church at 629-4661. (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)