“Have-to’s” and “Want-to’s”

Reality and desire clash. 

The “have-to’s” and the “want-to’s” whirl and swirl in her mind like the colored leaves that are momentarily lifted off the ground by the gusty winds of autumn.  Like a child, she runs to grasp the leaf of responsibility, only to be lured by the brighter, more colorful leaf of pleasure.  The gust returns and the leaves are scattered again.

Which way does she run?

Which leaf to choose?

Where will it fall?

How will she know?

And so, which way does she run?

Consequently the girl stands, motionless.  Overwhelmed.  Again.

The “have-to’s” are things that must be done.  Responsibility, duty, obligation, and consequence are their names…these are the “have-to’s.”  These are things that beckon and fill her heart with unrest because they are ongoing, never ending, and unrewarding in the immediate sense of things.  With varying degrees of willingness and cheerfulness, the necessary get done.

“Have-to’s” are big leaves. Ordinary leaves; usually dulled and generally brown, earthy colors.  Plentiful, they make up the bulk of the pile.


“Want-to’s” are harder to find in the whirl and swirl.  Pleasure, satisfaction, energy and possibility are the names of “want-to’s.”  These are the things that delight and tickle the girl’s imagination and lures her into a lulling hope.  One day.  One day she will sit and enjoy and create and soak in the special-ness and lavish-ness of the moment.  With varying degrees of patience she waits expectantly.

“Want-to’s” are the searched-for leaves.  The prized leaves when found.  They are the ones the child holds up in the air for all to see and exclaims, “I found it! Look at THIS one!”  These leaves are vibrant.  Only a few are found in the pile.

And the gust bursts forth again.  She stands mesmerized and paralyzed, and the leaves brush up against her legs.  Which way to run?  Which. Way. To. Run.

Reminded.  She falls to her knees and prays.  Surrounded by big, brown leaves she prays.


She tells Him, quite honestly, she’s tired.  She is overwhelmed and gives the search up. Her tears fall.  She wants to see as He sees.  To know as He knows.  And to do what pleases Him.

Sighing. She is done praying.  Opening her eyes, another gust causes her to squint against the breeze.


The Father answers.  A bright red-orange leaf gently settles on her lap. This leaf’s name is Grace.  Special and lavish, it is a gift given.


The “have-to’s” are all that overwhelm me in this daily life and the “want-to’s” are the dreams of things I wish to experience and do.  The girl; she, is me. So aptly I was reminded of Psalm 142 this past Sunday and given the remedy for surviving the overwhelmed-ness of life in general.

Pray.  “I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.  I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.” Ps. 142:1b & 2

And also, think upon.  God’s Word.  Who He is.  Who I am before Him.  More of Him and less of me, and wait.

And pray some more.

Friends, I have been mesmerized and paralyzed for weeks as the brown leaves have been raging in gusts against my legs.  So sweet is the moment I have been given in holding the vibrant colorful leaf in my hand today.


Grace is falling down on me and Grace will fall down upon you as well because our Father is a grace-giving God who answers prayer.

Friends, I encourage you to pray and think upon.  So with me, you might be like the child victorious, exclaiming the delight in the gifting of the prized leaf!

The leaf named Grace.

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