You Can Always Get What You Want!

Mick Jagger assured us in the seventies that we couldn’t always get what we wanted, but we could get what we needed if we tried. The truth is that you can always get what you want, but it comes at a price. Rhonda Bryne tells us in The Secret that we have the power to manifest our heart’s desire. I believe she’s right. The problem is the cost. It doesn’t take an extensive research project to prove that it’s possible to get what you want. Every spoiled child and adult in the world has proven that to us over and over again for free. Getting what we want only leads to misery, and we don’t need a study to prove that either.

God can give us everything we want, but He knows that would make us miserable. He could also force us to do exactly what He wants, but He knows that would make Him miserable. The lessons of late have been about obedience, and they are never easy ones. I want what I want and struggle with God when what I want and what He knows is best for me are not the same thing. All good parents and teachers understand the feeling well.

I laugh each time I think of my nephew Ben telling Tyler that he didn’t have to do what I asked him to do. He was two and running away from my sister Edie as fast as he could. I was at the kitchen table telling Tyler it was time to get ready for bed. Ben stopped running long enough to yell, “You don’t ha to Tider!” Tyler looked surprised, and I did my best to hide the big grin on my face. Ben was right, and I knew it.

The fact that I don’t have to do what God asks me to do is what allows me to grow when I choose to obey. God and I both know that obeying out of love is the only way for me to be who He knows I can be. Without love, I become a drone. Christians who become drones are miserable and make those in their paths miserable too. Misery does, indeed, love company. Love also loves company, but the connection is so much better and lasts forever.

Getting what I want means turning from God and living in the darkness. Darkness is darkness and no amount of money, fame, or fortune can change it into light. Only God can do that. He shed His Light upon the world in a way that changed everything. Understanding His Love and embracing His Truth brings hope, and hope is better than anything I can manifest on my own. Sure, I can write myself make believe checks and make collages of the life I want, but Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.” (NASB) That lottery money will soon be spent, those possessions will fall prey to rust and dust, and fame will soon fly away. Love lasts forever!

If I go with God’s plan, I will have eternal life with Him, and I can walk in His kingdom now. That doesn’t mean I’ll be prosperous, but it does mean I will have love, joy, and peace. When God’s counsel takes root in my heart, it bears the fruit of His Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 promises, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (NASB) Money, fortune, and fame don’t come close to love. Love cannot be manipulated or manifested. It comes when I understand that there is something much better than what I want.

Lust is about getting what I want, and it is the second most powerful force in this world. The universe will give you just what you want, and there will always be those who pick up the slack for selfish, spoiled folks who insist on their way because they make others miserable when they don’t get it. Love means not getting what I want and not giving others what they want. Lust wins many battles, but the good news is that love has already won the war!

This photo is from "Spoiled Kids Get Worse Grades in College" by Laura Hamilton.
This photo is from “Spoiled Kids Get Worse Grades in College” by Laura Hamilton.

I’m not surprised 🙂

The Better Gift

In Romans 1:1-7, Paul calls himself “a devoted slave.” While Roman society looked down upon slaves, it was an honor to be called a slave of God in the Old Testament. It was, is, and always will be a gift to serve Him.

I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. I write this letter to all the believers in Rome, God’s friends. The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.” (The Message)

Verses three and four are a chorus familiar to Paul’s audience. He has a lot to sing about, and so do I. Paul puts his focus upon God’s glory shown in Jesus Christ. When I do the same, I find the joy he has. The chorus reminds me of the sweet gift of Immanuel. It is “the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus.” The key words are “obedient trust.” I must have it or I cannot pass His gift along. Entering into obedience is what receiving His gift is all about. His life is a very generous gift that I take for granted far too often.

I am who I am through His generous gift and His call. Paul knew we are all called by Christ. Our talents are different, but we can receive and pass along His gift to others. In a season that celebrates His birth, let’s put our attention and energy toward His gift and not worry so much about all the other gifts we get and give in the coming week. It’s easy to get lost in all those brightly colored packages and forget that God has a better gift in mind.

Last week, I had my heart set on something I really wanted and was disappointed when I didn’t get it. I found that God had something much better in mind. Even little Lillyann knows to ask Santa Claus for what he thinks is best. The lessons this week reminded me to do the same with God. I had a little trinket and a special moment in mind, but He gave me a beautiful tapestry that was more than I could have imagined on my own. Spoiled children get just what they want, and I’m sure they always will. I learned this week to thank God for not giving me what I want and to let Him give me what He knows is best for me. There is a reason spoiled children are never happy. They don’t know what they want. I am the same way when I don’t let go of my selfish wants and trust God to give the better gift He has for me.

Christmas Gifts

Joy Comes in the Morning:)

Weeping may last for the night,
 But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (NASB)

Psalm 30:5 reminds me that God knows what’s best for me and will watch me pitch a fit or sniff sadly when I don’t get my way, but He will not give me what I want when I want it. I needed the reminder last night as Lillyann pitched a wailing fit for mommy in the middle of the night. I was frustrated by my inability to console her, and poor little Mylah just watched quietly.

God promises to be with me always, but He doesn’t promise to give me what I want. I’m sure it hurts Him to see me suffer, but He sees the joy that’s coming and knows the hurt will be greater if He succumbs to my wails. The shout of joy that comes from obedience is filled with thanksgiving when I come through the tough times and understand the lesson He has for me.  I always get something much better that what I wanted.

The problem with getting what I want is that it is never enough. If God gave in to my every whim and want, I would only find something else I had to have:) He’s a patient, loving parent who is willing to listen to my weeping and whining because He hears the shout of joy coming in the morning if I will trust and obey Him. Storms, like tantrums, come when two fronts collide. The worst storm fades and is soon forgotten as I look at the light and breathe in the fresh air after a storm. I love Psalm 30:5, and I find hope in the joy God promises in the middle of a stormy night of weeping.

Joy and God’s peace are far better than happiness and easy peace. God knows that better than anyone; He lived it out as His Son walked in His kingdom here. Christ cried out to Him on the cross, but God could see the joy that was coming on the morning of His resurrection. Christ chose to be obedient to the point of death, and the shout of joy when He rose is still being heard around the world:) I am eternally grateful and look to His example when it comes to obeying.

There is someone who delights in spoiling me. Satan tells me what I want to hear, gives me just what I want, and constantly tells me I’m right. That brings easy peace, but never satisfaction. The spoiled child will always yearn for the joy and satisfaction they will never find without obedience. It is a sad, unfulfilled life. Unlike earthly parents, God is able to give me everything I want, but He loves me far too much to do that.

I’ve learned to pray for His desires to become mine and for God to please not give me what I want! It is the cry behind the screams of every spoiled child. We are all working together to help Lillyann and Mylah learn to share and understand they cannot always have what they want. It’s not easy or popular, but we want them to have the joy that will come in the morning:)