There are many people in this world who seem to never get what they want. Questions I hear from a lot of people are: “Why am I not working in my dream career?” “Why have I not met my soul-mate?” “Why wasn’t I asked to head up that new project?” “Why didn’t I get that raise?” “Why was I skipped over for that promotion?” or, “Why do good things happen to other people and not to me?”
These are questions that many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. But I’ve come to realize that, unless we are extremely lucky, good things don’t just happen. We have to make good things happen. When I say this, it sounds like I’m saying that we have to have some kind of Type A personality – becoming real movers and shakers, acting like aggressive tigers going after our prey.
But the answer is much simpler. To get what we want, we have to 1) know what it is we want, and 2) ask for it. Some time ago I remember asking myself why other people became officers of a nonprofit where I volunteered and I was never invited to do so. So I volunteered for the position and they were delighted. They hadn’t asked me because they thought I was too busy. Here I was thinking I wasn’t wanted when that wasn’t the case at all. Then I became an officer, and it was a lot of work. Sometimes getting what we want has a price!
When was the last time you asked for something you wanted? Some people have no problem with this, because it seems so obvious. But there are times when I have missed out on some opportunities because I didn’t bother to ask. Why didn’t I ask? For the most part I didn’t want to hear “no.” None of us do. So we don’t ask. Conversely, sometimes we may not ask for what we want because in the back of our minds we are afraid that the answer will be yes. A yes answer can be downright scary. What if I get that promotion, will I be able to handle it? If I marry the man of my dreams, how much will my routine change? If I am asked to head up that volunteer committee, will my life become too busy?
Have you ever prayed to God and asked Him to provide you with what you wanted, but it didn’t happen? How did you feel? If a prayer hasn’t been answered yet, there could be a number of reasons.
- One reason may be that God is going to say no. I remember praying to God for a something I really wanted. It didn’t happen, and over time I realized that if God had said yes, my life would have become a real mess. Thank God for His wisdom!
- The second thing God may be saying to our request is wait. I prayed and prayed for one thing that I wanted, but it didn’t happen fast enough. So I forced it to happen before its time, and it didn’t turn out so well. A woman I know got a promotion I really wanted. I was so disappointed I didn’t get the job. It would have been an ideal fit for me. A few months later her entire department was eliminated. I would have lost my job if I’d have gotten that position. I know that God has plan for my life, and in some ways I’m still waiting for it to unfold. He is asking for patience and I’m willing to wait for His timing.
- A third thing God may be teaching is persistence. In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow, who asked for justice repeatedly but was ignored. Finally, the judge granted what she wanted because she was driving him crazy. Jesus said the judge may have been unjust, but he made a just decision due to the widow’s persistence. Imagine what our just God will do for us if we pray without ceasing for what we want!
- The fourth thing God may be requiring is our trust. No matter what our plans are for our lives, God’s plans are better. If we put our decisions in His hands we can’t go wrong. I know several people who have been praying for decades for the exact same thing. They have not given up praying for what they want and they will not do so. No matter how God answers their prayers, they will have peace because they placed their desires and their trust in His hands. Sometimes this is all we can do.
I heard something interesting recently – the problem isn’t the problem, the solution is the problem. We all have problems; it’s finding out the solution, or our desired outcome, that can be hard. The real key is to find out what we really want. The next step is to ask for it. When we receive the answer, we will then be ready to take the steps we need to take to make our dreams come true.