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

Thursday, November 7, 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.


Pastoral Responses To Violence In The Community Event Set For March 30

Hospice of Chattanooga , Erlanger Health System, Memorial Hospital, The Center for Mindful Living, The Family Justice Center, and The Chattanooga Association for Clinical Pastoral Care are all serving as co-sponsors of  Pastoral Responses to Violence in the Community .   Please RSVP by  Monday, March 27 . Officials said, "Join us for this meaningful ... (click for more)

John Aden Set To Be Speaker At Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast On May 2

The 39th annual Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast will be on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 a.m. Buffet doors open at 6:45 a.m. The program is from 7:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The event will be at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A & B. John Aden, retired Walmart executive will be the speaker. Cost is $20 per person; $160 per table of eight. ... (click for more)

2 Shot On Rawlings Street Friday Night; 1 In Critical Condition

Two people were shot, Friday night, and one is in critical condition. At approximately  9:56 p.m.  Chattanooga Police officers responded to the 2000 block of Rawlings Street on a report of a person shot. Officers arrived on scene and located one victim lying next to a vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound. A second victim arrived at a local hospital suffering from ... (click for more)

Car Crashes Into Motel 6 In Dalton; Driver, 17, Admits To Texting While Driving

The Dalton Police Department and Dalton Fire Department responded Saturday morning to a crash at the Motel 6 at Highway 41 and Tibbs Road. The driver of the 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix involved left the roadway and crashed into the Motel 6 building causing severe damage to one of the rooms. There were no major injuries. Investigators believe texting while driving was a contributing ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Geno: Our ‘Me’ Culture

By almost every measure, Geno Auriemma is the best basketball coach in America. His University of Connecticut women are riding a record 109-game winning streak that dates to Nov. 17, 2016. Stanford barely beat them in overtime 3 years ago, but, before that, they won 41 straight. That means UConn is 153-1 and, in the current 109 streak, they have double-figure wins over the opponents ... (click for more)