I’m a dreamer. I fantasize about things like winning the lottery, being famous, changing the world in some way and doing crazy things. On the more realistic dreams, I try to pray about them first. And I force myself (nearly) every day to conform my attitude to saying “Thy will be done.”
My husband and I wish to teach our children that we do everything for God’s glory and not our own. Even if it means that He will not always bless our heart’s desires. But still, there are some days where I struggle with disappointment when things or people don’t go my way. This past week was a big one of those for me. It felt like there were frustrating outcomes and let downs every way I turned. I wanted for once something to be about me and not everyone else. Things would come so close to what I expected, but then fall short; one disappointment after another.
At one point, I was sitting in my car, thinking about everything that was going wrong and feeling sorry for myself. Suddenly, it was as if I heard His still, soft voice wash over me, “Daughter, you are trusting in yourself, not me. You are trying to do all this in your own strength, not mine. You are looking at others to fill a need that only I can.” And right there, with a sick, sleeping baby in the backseat and cold, NW rain pouring down all over my car, I began to sob. I asked Jesus to give me peace over all that was troubling me; that He would change my heart to seek His will, not mine, in each and every case and for the strength to not throw a pity party when it didn’t go the way I hoped.
Still, even with that daily resolution, prayer and refocusing, I seem to fail again every time I am disappointed. How is it that I can know each day to trust God in the uncertainty of my life, and then the next moment when something troubling happens, I am back in the wallows of selfishness, hurt pride and sulking? Am I really practicing thankfulness each day? Am I seeking His true desires for my life over my own? How do I balance my natural, fleshly wants with what are honestly acceptable emotions to feel? Is it wrong to ask God for things that I want and for life to just go my way?
I think if every Christian is honest with themselves, they wonder about these things as well. I mean, it’s not as if we are asking for those evil, fleshly desires like sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, and idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Usually I am asking for stuff like safe and healthy children, a fulfilling marriage, positive fellowship with others, wisdom in decisions, a rewarding job, or a consistent paycheck. But is it possible that asking for those things can BECOME idolatry? If I am not asking with the right intentions, but rather with a prideful heart? Or perhaps just plain and simple, I’m asking for something that is not His will for me.
So what do we do when we pray earnestly day after day, year after year for His will to be done in something that we truly believe is for His name and yet the answer always comes back “no” or “wait?”
Get a new job that my husband can feel good about himself in. No.
Sell our home and move into another. No.
Be successful in some new endeavor. No.
Healing of broken relationships. No.
The ability to overcome a nagging character flaw. No.
It could be I’m asking for the wrong things or with the wrong intentions. Maybe my obsession with these things has become an idol in my life. And perhaps where we’re at right now is His will for us and I need to learn to be thankful for what we have and rely on His grace to be sufficient.
When I stop and truly examine our life, I am overwhelmed with how blessed we already are. There are many, many people who dreams of what we already have. Why can’t I be happy with it as well? Why can’t we just be content with what He has already blessed us with and stop always asking for more more more?! What about the things He has already answered, emphatically “yes” to in my life? Why am I always so quick to forget those?
The amazing, supportive husband I prayed for so long ago. Yes.
Three beautiful, healthy children. Yes.
The financial ability to stay home as a wife and mother. Yes.
A stable job, a more than adequate home and lots of joyful things in our life. Yes. Yes. YES!
Perhaps the lesson here is that I need to remember that He has already blessed us immensely with more than we need. If I can just change my attitude from wanting what I don’t have and crying like a baby when things don’t work out the way I hoped, to wanting what He has already given, maybe THAT is the secret to contentment. It is possible that then and only then I will be able to see the beauty in the beholden. That I will have true joy. HIS JOY. And most importantly, I will be happy with having the other things in His timing.
“These things I have spoken to you so that MY JOY may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11