How to Be Set Free From the Prison of Want

the power of gratitude

Every single one of us knows what it feels like to want something. From the moment we take our first breath, we loudly assert our desire for something that we want. We want food, we want comfort, we want sleep, we want to be held. As an infant, our wants are simple, but as we grow, we learn to want more. We want a particular toy, we want a certain snack, we want just the right pair of shoes. The older we get, the more elaborate, and sometimes more expensive, our wants become. We want more money, we want designer clothing, we want the biggest house, we want the perfect spouse.

When we get something we want, it makes us feel good—for a while. Soon, though, we want something else. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that what we have is never enough and to equate what we want, and get, with our happiness. A single person might say, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.” A married couple might say, “If only we had a baby, then we would be happy.” An employee might say, “If only I made more money, then I would be happy.” I call this the “If, Then” Marriage Cycle.

The problem isn’t what you want…its the fact that your joy and contentment in life are directly tied to the want being fulfilled.  Knowing the secret to being content is one step to being set free.

Here are three more things that will help unlock the power of gratitude and set you free from your prison of want.

1. Instead of saying, “I want…” try saying, “I have…”

It may seem simplistic, and truly, it is. The next time you think of something you want—something that you think you need to be happy—stop and take an inventory of all the things you have. This mindset has helped me on many occasions. You may even want to make a list to help you see just how much you’ve been given.

2. Have an attitude of gratitude

All those things you just listed…start giving thanks for them. It’s hard to feel unhappy or needy when you are thankful. Having an attitude of gratitude has helped me to find joy in the daily grind.

3. Consider Others’ Wants

Look around you. Everywhere you turn, there are people who have less…who struggle more…who truly need, but they are content. Is there something on your list that would bless or provide some measure of relief for someone else?

We are only imprisoned by want when we allow our joy to rest on the stuff we can get—earthly treasures. Those things break and fade away…they will never last, and will never ultimately satisfy you. So, take the keys above and set yourself free from the prison of want and live a life of true joy. Are you breaking free?  Comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Amy June Harding

    This is such a good reminder to be thankful for what we have and to remember there are those less fortunate than us. I want to glorify God with my life, not my “stuff”.

  • Paul

    I like the idea of replacing “I want” with “I have.” That’s definitely something I can do more in the future.