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.


Antioch Missionary Baptist Hosts 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church will host a 29th Pastoral Anniversary Banquet Celebration in honor of Reverend Gerry W. Davis and First Lady Chandra Davis. The Theme will be "A Pastor with a Heart to Serve" based on 2 Chronicles 31:21. Gospel Artist Benita Washington will be featured as well. The celebration will take place on Saturday, August 23, at 7 p.m. in the ... (click for more)

Hixson UMC Offers Spanish Immersion Preschool

Hixson United Methodist Child Development Center will be offering Spanish Immersion Preschool, child care for 3-5 year olds, beginning on September 3rd. The program will run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (The option of extended hours in a full time CDC classroom is available.) Except for the start date, this preschool will follow the Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)