(Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Keerati)
Recently, I applied for a job editing and writing Sunday School curriculum for children.
I really wanted the job–at least, I thought I did–and I was excited as my application passed through several phases of the acceptance process: resume, sample work, and then a phone interview.
Several days ago, I received the email: thanks for applying, but we’ve chosen someone else.
When I read the rejection and a flood of relief washed through me, I was stunned.
Deep inside, in a place I’d not acknowledged, I hadn’t wanted the job! Between changing diapers and keeping the house clean, I could barely find time for the projects and dreams I already had. I didn’t want to add another major endeavor to my to-do list.
It got me to thinking about other times I’ve benefited from not getting what I’ve wanted. I am thirty, and as much as it pains me that I’m already trucking into my fourth decade, it also means I actually have some life experience behind me. I can look back and see reasons some things happened–or didn’t happen–instead of just remembering the experiences.
Here are some reasons I’ve found that God sometimes says no:
Reason #1: When something doesn’t come easy, it forces you to better yourself.
Case in point: I’ve been trying to write a novel for almost twelve years. For the first seven years, I worked on a story I finally trashed because I just couldn’t get it right. I’ve been working on my second attempt–which often seems pretty much as disastrous as the first–for the past five years.
I used to be SO frustrated that I couldn’t seem to finish a book, much less begin the arduous process of getting one published. But over the course of time, I’ve seen there’s a good reason: I had a LOT of growing to do as a writer. I’d be humiliated if some of the stuff I wrote when I was nineteen were in print. It just wasn’t good writing.
Almost no one is a master without training. Having to wait while we develop ourselves is part of the growing process. I would rather get a stellar novel published at age seventy-six than publish a subpar novel at age twenty-one.
I’m thankful that sometimes God says, “Wait until you’re ready.”
Reason #2: You want something that’s only only going to make you miserable.
Remember that guy you wanted to marry in high school who skipped college and now makes a living robbing convenience stores? Yeah, me too. Thank the Lord He didn’t let that one work out!
I don’t think this point needs much clarification: often we want things that would only bring us harm.
Reason #3: God has something better for you.
When I moved to Marble Falls six years ago, I thought I knew exactly where I should work and what position I should have there. I’d always been in banking, so I applied at what I was sure was the best bank in town.
I ended up at my last-choice bank as a teller–my last-choice position.
Fast forward: My last-choice bank ended up being an awesome place to work. My teller/new accounts job there ended up being my favorite job of all time. If I hadn’t chosen to stay home after the birth of our child, I’d still be (happily) working at my “last-choice” bank.
As for the bank I’d thought housed my dream job . . . It has seen nothing but hard times since I’ve moved here.
I’m so thankful God says no sometimes so that He can give us something better.
Reason #4: God is working behind the scenes on something you may not realize for years–or ever.
After our child was born, I worked part time for one year before I was able to stay home full time. This crushed me. I’m not being melodramatic when I say it was a burden that plagued me every day.
In all honesty, our situation was ideal; I only worked two-and-a-half days at a job I loved, and my mother-in-law kept our baby while I was at work. Even so, my dream was to be at home with my son.
It was a year before God granted that request out of the blue. I still don’t know the full reason I had to wait so long, but I do know that when I’m on my hands and knees scraping smashed pizza out of the carpet, I’m better able to appreciate that I’m living my dream.
I’m so thankful God arranges the puzzle pieces of our lives with master precision.
Reason #5: God loves you too much to give in to your every whim.
We have an electric piano in our computer room.
One day I was working on the computer, and my son fussed for me to turn it on. So I did. He fussed for me to put more milk in his sippy cup. So I did. Then he fussed for me to read him a book.
As I was pulling him onto my lap, it hit me that I was at my son’s beck and call, immediately available at his every whim. And while it’s important to be attentive to our children, I realized I wasn’t doing him any favors today. I was spoiling him.
God gives us everything we need. He is always there for us. But I’m thankful He doesn’t give us everything we want, right when we want it. That’s just not what a wise parent does.
Reason #6: It’s not time.
My husband and I wanted a child four years before we held our baby in our arms. During those years, I often wondered about the wait. Even our attempt to adopt fell through. Didn’t God think we’d be good parents?
In June 2012, we finally welcomed our son into the world. After the fact, I can see the many reasons God had us wait. Among those, it gave me a chance to learn the piano well enough to help out at church, and it allowed my husband and me to have several great years with just the two of us.
I love my son, but I’m glad we didn’t have him sooner. God’s way was perfect.
With every year that goes by, I see more examples of God’s sovereign plan at work in my life and in those around me. I’m so thankful that God sometimes says no.
My husband and I found out we were expecting our son in a surprising way! In effort to offer encouragement to other couples facing infertility, I’ve decided to share our experience in the form of a short story, “Hope,” which I’ve entered in Family Fiction’s short story contest. If you’d like to read the story, check it out at this link: http://www.familyfiction.com/short-stories/the-story-2014-contest/hope/. If you like it, please give it a thumb’s up to help me out with the “People’s Choice” aspect of the contest. (One disclaimer: When I submitted my story, it lost its paragraph divisions, which is quite distracting.) Thanks for your support!
(Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/kibsri)
Do you have something to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!