choose success


Is there something you want to do but don’t do? Is there something you want to stop but don’t stop? Let’s say a habit or a goal?

I’ve been there. I’m pretty sure we all have.

Today I want to tell a story.

A story both of failure and success. A story of how I moved from one to another and you can too.


I was one of those people that others love to hate – until I wasn’t.

You know the kind.

The kind that have what you wish you had.

The person who always seems to get a promotion when you are stuck in the same place.

The mom who gives birth in what feels like five seconds when you go through hours of painful labor.

The classmate that always aces the test without studying while you barely eek out a passing grade.

The guy who can eat his weight in cheeseburgers never gaining a pound while you eat lettuce and gain water weight.

I’m sure you understand now.


Guy or girl, it doesn’t matter.

It is the feel of inequity. Life does not dish out fairness.

But we have the ability to choose how to respond.

And me. I was one of those people.

I used to smoke cigarettes and could quit whenever I felt like it.

It pissed people off. They were jealous. I’d smoke a half a pack a day. But then decide another day, I just didn’t want to anymore and would stop.

But therein lies the secret and I’ll bet you missed it.

I did.

Until it was missing.

What was missing?

My want to.

I had quit smoking before I got married. Something my husband was very happy about. He knew I had smoked before but was very glad I was not a smoker when we got together.

However, after I had my first child I started smoking again.

My husband watched the baby one night for me to go to a Bible study. When I got home, I told him I had to tell him something.

It sounded ominous. I saw the fear in his eyes.

I told him I had stopped on the way to the study to buy a pack of cigarettes. Instead of being angry he was relieved it wasn’t something more earth shattering like me being unfaithful.

No, I had just started smoking again.

No reason why.

I just nonchalantly started again like I had before.

I smoked for a while until I felt like I should quit.

Everyone knows it’s not good for you. So I thought I’d quit just like I had all those other times.

But this time it was hard.

I was confused.

I didn’t understand.

How come it was hard?

I had quit lots of times before.

I kept trying to quit over and over. No success, only failure.

I beat myself up inside. I understood the jealousy others had had of me.

I struggled.

Over and over.

Until that night.

I got an epiphany.

An aha moment.

We were at a friend’s house hanging out playing cards and I was in the cycle of not smoking in my attempt to quit.

The urge to smoke got so strong I couldn’t stand it. I asked my husband to go to the store and get me a pack of cigarettes and I started smoking again.

Beating myself up, I cried out to God asking him what my problem was.

Telling him what he already knew about how I had quit all those times before and it was easy and this is hard and what is going on?

He answered me. It was simple.

It was hard to hear.

He told me that I didn’t want to. Not really.

I had a wish for it but not a want.

I wished but didn’t will.

I didn’t want to.

Facing that inner self-deception is painful.

But then he gave me a gift.

He gave me the way to get what I needed.

He told that he can give me the want to if I want it.

He referred to a verse in the Bible that says it is God who works in us both to will and to dogives us the desire and the ability to act upon it…

It was what I needed.

I needed the want to.

I wanted the want to.

I asked him to give me the want to.

Over time (I don’t remember how long, but not real long) I got that want to and I quit smoking without anguish.

I have never forgotten that lesson.

Now I ask for help to want to do things I wish I wanted to do because I want the outcome but find in me the lack of actual will to choose what is good for me.

Did you get that?

When I want something that is good for me but I don’t want to do what it takes to make whatever change is required, I ask for help.

Without the want to I won’t make the change. Click To Tweet

I’ll procrastinate. I’ll wish. Even complain. But I won’t make any change.

That is when I need to ask God for the want to.

The will.

The volition.

The will is the third part of our soul and without it, we are at the mercy of the mind and emotions. The will has the power to drive the other two but that is not how it is designed. The three need to be interdependent for harmony on our insides (but that is for another article).

My emotions wanted to smoke.

My mind wanted to quit.

My will needed to side with my mind.

The will is a powerful thing we must employ to overcome obstacles. Click To Tweet

Like Misty Copeland.

She was told she could not be a ballerina. She had the wrong body.

The obstacle? She could not get a new body.

She became a ballerina anyways.

She used her will to propel herself and here she is in this short commercial for UnderArmour™

I Will What I Want.


Misty overcame her obstacle.

I overcame my obstacle.

What next:

  • What obstacle do you have?
  • Do you need the will power of a yes or a no?
  • The proverb is true. Where there is a will there is a way.
  • Even if your will lacks want. There is still a way. You can ask for help.
  • Do you wish? Do you will? Do you want to want to?
  • Let me know in the comments. I will be your cheerleader.



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  1. Hi Danielle: Yes, I want to be free from a food that has an emotional hold on me. It represents relaxation as I splurge into its grasp. A childhood booby trap and a self deception that when I eat it – it will be different… this time. This time, I’ll have self-control. And then the guilt of failure. Yes, sounds like an addiction and it is. This year I’ve made some important diet changes and am experiencing good progress. I’m happier! But last week, at a relative’ house, that sneaky food sat there welcoming me into its indulgence. I want to overcome this one food-almost. I’m missing the want to. It’s a big key to me having peace in this area of my life. Even as I write this I see how this is connected to my want to. I recognize that I want real peace. Now my faith can engage as I ask God for help! Thanks for this post.

    1. I understand Roz! I have been through this process on other subjects as well. One that sounds similar to yours. The self-control didn’t seem to want to kick in and eventually I had to cut it off completely. Time will tell if I can ever add it back, in moderation, but even if not, I am glad to be free. Thank you for sharing and putting yourself out there. #healinghappenstogether

  2. Danielle, this is such an incredible blog and source of encouragement for those who struggle at times to simply “want to do…” Thanks so much for your will to want!

  3. Have never had a problem with not completing goals I have set for myself, except… Wanted to be an astronaut as a child. Pursued that goal by going off to college to study aerospace engineering.

    Found out my first semester did not have the height required. So I changed my major to my second love of computer science. Spent many profitable happy years chasing computer networking problems..

    Until multiple sclerosis took away my ability to walk. Kind of hard chasing wiring problems in most wiring closets because they are not designed to be handi capped accessible.

    Now I write (my handwriting is illegible due to shaky hands, so I actually type). My laptop lets me get my messages seen out on the internet by all who want to read it!

    1. Thank you for sharing Jeanette. I’m happy you found a second love and now a third. Your adaptability is impressive.

  4. Yep, I buy straight into what you have to say! There’s always all sorts of stuff I wish were different, that I would do different, that would work out better; but that stuff keeps on being wished upon.

    Sometimes I just wish upon a star for something to be different because I think it would please someone else, or make me “look better”?

    I am quite aware that when I am ready to make the change, God will always be my strength. When I needed to stop smoking (many years ago) God didn’t take the urge from me, but showed me the way. When I needed to stop drinking and doing drugs, God didn’t take the urge from me, but showed me the way.

    And that list goes on and on.

    I have no way of knowing what God does for me that I never even know about, but I rely on the fact that He is always right here, right this moment—to show me the way—when I ?? finally ?? get around to asking Him.

    As far as I know God has never made me do anything, or made me want to do anything? I have this idea that He waits for me to get enough and then “ASK”. He’s on time for me every time.

Please share your thoughts!