We all have a picture in our heads of how we think our lives should go. We plan it out perfectly in our minds, laying out what seems to us to be the ideal plan for our lives. We set goals toward it, we take action based on it, and we kneel down at night and ask in prayer for it to go the way we want it to.
There is a song called “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks that has lyrics in it that teach an amazing life lesson. The song is about a man who is thanking God for not granting him some of the things in life he had prayed for in his past (thus the phrase unanswered prayers). The man had come to recognize that his life had turned out far better than it would have if God had granted him what he thought he had wanted and prayed for in his past. He had learned that God’s plan was so much better than anything he could have conceived of at the time and he is grateful for the God’s wisdom in not always giving him what he thought he wanted.
I love the lesson that song teaches because reminds us that when we pray for something we want at the time, and we don’t get it, we need to recognize that God is granting that prayer because He has something far better in store for us if we just be patient and have faith. So often when we kneel to ask for something we don’t have all the facts, and we certainly don’t know the bigger picture of what could be in our lives, so we are lucky to have someone wise enough to know when to say “no” or “not now” or whatever it is that we need to hear in those moments, even if it infuriates us at the time because we aren’t getting what we wanted based on our own understanding of the options that exist. We need to realize that there must be other options out there that we aren’t aware of yet, and it’s our job to hang on patiently and wait with confidence. We need to remind ourselves to be grateful that someone is watching out for us and making sure we will have the very best thing instead of the thing we thought we wanted.
I can count so many examples in my own life when I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to have happen. I would get on my knees and pray my heart out for something, only to then be disappointed when it didn’t happen. But inevitably every time I went through this, as time passed and more facts came to light, it became incredibly clear to me why things needed to end up another way that was better than what I even knew existed. Let me give a few examples that took place both in my business life and my personal life:
- Early in my business life I had prayed for the ability to land a contract to develop software for a company I was serving as a reseller for. Things were all coming together and it looked like it would all work out the way I wanted it to. Then at the last minute the deal fell apart and I was devastated. Here I had worked so hard for this to come together and it all made perfect sense that it should. I had prayed my guts out for this to work out. But what I didn’t realize at the time is that not getting that deal is the very thing that would lead me to branch out on my own and develop the software for my own company rather than someone else’s. Had that deal not fallen apart I would never have ended going down the entrepreneurial path that I did. When I asked God to grant me my wish I didn’t know any of that, but clearly God did, and thankfully He didn’t grant my prayer, and thus my business path turned out to be far more successful than I could ever have imagined.
- I was a single mom for about ten years and I dated tons of guys during that time. A few times I thought for sure I wanted it to be “the one” and have it all work out. I even prayed for that to happen. Yet, had God granted me my ask at the time I would never have met Rollin (my husband today). At the time I asked for other boyfriends to work out I had no idea there could be someone out there who was so perfectly suited for me and who I could love so much and who would be such an amazing father to my children, so I was asking God based on what I knew at that moment. But God knew all of it. And thankfully He didn’t grant my prayers until it was the right man for me.
Those are just two examples out of hundreds or even thousands of times I have learned this lesson in my life. Now whenever I find myself disappointed that something didn’t go the way I wanted it to, or the way I thought it should, I have to step back and tell myself that there is nothing to be sad about because whatever is coming is going to be better than anything I have yet imagined. And it always is…better than anything I have yet imagined, and I am forever grateful for that.
This week try not to let the picture in your head be limited to your current understanding of things. Trust in the fact that if you are doing your very best then things will go the way they are meant to go, even if it doesn’t look the way you thought it should. Remember that your view is limited, but God knows everything, so do your part the very best you can – then Trust Him to do His!