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Jen Scheuermann learns the manner in which she wants something is as important as what she actually wants.

I glanced across the room at my husband, repeating in my head the words he’d just spoken. Words to defend his actions. Words to justify his choice. And words I once again found incredulous: incredulous, because I considered them an excuse. Once again, because we’ve had some version of this conversation countless times during our twenty-plus years of marriage.  

You see, there’s something I wish my husband would do. It’s no secret. I’ve requested. I’ve commented. I’ve suggested. I’ve explained. I’ve pushed. I’ve argued. Sometimes he does it. But recently he hasn’t. And sitting there that evening, listening to my husband, I felt my frustration grow. I tried to be patient ... sort of.  I tried to remain calm ... kind of.  

But mostly I responded as I usually do: With impatience. With irritation. And if I’m honest, with pride—ever convinced my way is the right way. I had little regard for his words and paid little attention to the feelings behind them. 

The very next morning I picked up a book I’ve been slowly reading for months, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Fr Jacques Philippe. It’s a very tiny book, one I could easily read in only one sitting. But by the grace of God I have chosen to read it slowly. Very slowly. Each chapter is only a couple pages, and I have been reading them intentionally, sitting with each one for at least a week before moving on.

As I flip through the book, each small page I’ve read is now adorned with color, decorated by my colored pens and highlighters. The margins are filled with my reflections, and countless wisdom-filled sentences now rest on bold lines drawn underneath. God has used each and every chapter of this small book to speak directly to my heart, and with no knowledge of how He intended to use it again, I searched for the place I’d left off. 

Quickly locating the first page void of added color, I began reading the next chapter titled “The Faults and Shortcomings of Others.” This chapter specifically addresses situations where the behavior of another upsets us or doesn’t align with our expectations. However, per Fr Jacques Philippe, the issue at hand is far greater than our ability (or inability!) to remain patient and respond with kindness during these circumstances. The real issue is our heart disposition in these times. 




When we want something that is considered good, we often feel justified in our wanting, and as a result become impatient, irritable, and restless. But as the book explains, it’s not enough for us to simply want good things. Equally important is the way in which we want them. If we desire true peace, the manner of our wanting must be Spirit-led: peaceful, patient, and caring. And we should want with a spirit of detachment, placing our desires into God’s hands. As Fr Jacques Philippe points out: 

A desire that causes us to lose our peace, even if the thing desired is excellent in itself, is not of God. 


As I read through this small chapter, the preceding night’s conversation—my words, my tone of voice, and my overall demeanor—flashed through my mind. Although I may have responded better than I did in years past before encountering Jesus, I know for certain my response was far from Spirit led. I may not be where I used to be … but I’m far from where I want to be. I’m far from where my husband deserves me to be. And I’m far from where God is calling me to be. 


Click to tweet:
It’s not enough for us to simply want good things. Equally important is the way in which we want them. #catholicmom


I’m praying now, as I continue to sit with this short chapter in Searching for and Maintaining Peace, that the Lord will help me to not only desire good things, but to desire them in a way that is good. And with HIs grace, may I hold on to my desires with a spirit of detachment and an open hand, trusting the Lord with their realization and their timing.  

If you’re reading these words, I’m praying for you too.



Copyright 2022 Jennifer Scheuermann
Images: Canva