There was a trending audio on Instagram reels a while ago. A voice would sing, “Can we skip to the good part please?” and the reel creator would slap their hand against the camera for the next slide to show “the good part.”
But one reel stuck to me. (You might want to mute the first 5 seconds lol)
The idea that ‘can we skip to the good part please’ doesn’t always work. Such a hard idea to get in this time of microwave food and internet encyclopedias.
But Tuesday I was faced with an “it doesn’t work like that” moment.
I was given some information that forced me to make a rather monumental choice. My heart wanted one thing, but my mind thought the other way was probably the best.
So I pitched a fit. I began imagining the consequences that could come forth of my choosing to say yes, and how it would totally destroy a certain very dear dream of mine.
I cried. I ranted to a friend. I vented in my diary. I angrily questioned how I was supposed to be better and how unfair it was that I had to change my mind all the time when I couldn’t do that easily, and that I had no direction when I so desperately need it.
My friend kept trying to talk sense to me and calm me down. And after a while I came to a rueful place of calm and thought over it all. And a few things stood out to me.
One thing I realized is that all along in desires, I had been planning out ways for God to show His power by working things out for me the way I wanted. Looks awful holy from the outside in, you know. I’d also tried my hand at tricking Him into giving me what I wanted by pretending to let go of it. I now feel awfully foolish about that (really, how pathetic can you get).
“But how do you STOP wanting it while still wanting it for Him to give it to you???” I asked my friend in despair.
She pointed out how there had been situations in her life where she’d planned out how His giving her what she wanted would glorify Him, and how instead she has a hard situation that I know will work out to His glory. After shaking me up a little with that, she reminded me of the book of Job, where he spends most of his time yowling to and about God and how “unfair” He was.
I was a little humbled by this remark, as I realized there were a lot of similarities between me and the holy man of old.
“But the thing is,” I argued, “I do trust Him. I totally know that if I don’t get [what I want] it’ll be okay and I will be happy because it’s what supposed to happen. I still want one though.”
By this point I had gotten to a stage of rueful shame and a strong feeling that I’d choose what I knew was right all along.
“I guess I’ll just have to do x,” I said finally, adding a sentence about how hard it would be.
“But maybe that’s part of the journey,” she answered. “Perhaps you need to surrender [the thing you don’t want.]”
“That’s exactly what I. do. not. want,” I retorted.
“But you know, I had to surrender [something] I refused to do before I got clarity on [something I needed,]” she remarked.
“I guess if God’s best is X then it really IS the best and not the mediocre. But is it wrong to pray it ISN’T His will?” I answered, as a grudging admission to the Lord that I was willing to trust His best even if it looked awful sketchy just now.
She wisely pointed out how it wasn’t about praying it wasn’t His will but rather praying for grace and strength if it was.
“I just wish God didn’t make us always give up our dearest plans and stuff, you know?” I answered wistfully. And then I remembered a story I’d heard long ago… a story where a little girl had a treasured pearl necklace, her dearest possession. Every night for weeks her father asked her to give it to him, and each time she offered something else she loved. At long last, with tears in her eyes, she gave him the necklace, whispering, “I love you, Daddy.” And with tears in his own eyes, he put the beads in his pocket and pulled out a string of real pearls. He had something better for her all along.
Earlier, my friend had challenged me with these words: “Can you not get closer to God because you’re afraid of getting closer?”
At the time, I’d ignored the sting they gave me, but now they came back to me. Was the reason I struggled so hard to get near God because I was actually holding Him off at arms’ length… because I was worried if I got too close, I’d have to give up some of my pearl beads? Was I afraid that if I became too spiritual, I’d gave to give up the desires and dreams that were so dear to me?
Earlier I’d begged the Lord for clarity, but now I felt that I had some things to settle first. I listened to two songs as I mused upon my answer. And the songs I listened to were these:
+ So Be It (If You Never) (which isn’t available to be embedded on websites).
Unexpected Places was an encouraging reminder:
“But of all the things You planned for me, I never would have guessed that bringing me right here is what You call your best…”
But honestly, So Be It could be the cry of my heart right now.
“If You never grow my dreams, but grow my faith instead… if You never do the miracle I thought I’d see you do… If the things I think I need will keep my heart from knowing the peace that comes from growing in You, then let me say: So be it… Lord, what You have in store is more—more than I’ve ever dreamed before… trade my will for Yours… lead me on the journey You see fit and in the valley, teach me to submit… if You never light my path, then I’ll walk the night with God…”
And the thought came to me: it’s all very well to wait and trust and be patient but “can we skip to the good part please?” and just find out if He DOES give me what I want or not?
But it doesn’t work that way with life. There’s no button we can press to fast-forward or anyone we can ask whose already done it. We just have to believe the one who DOES know where it’s all going and what’s gonna happen—and He just happens to be the one who MAKES it happen, and He also just happens to do everything perfectly…
The upshot of it all?
I know His best is really the best. And I want that best. Even if my best seems so much better right now.
I still don’t know what to do with my desires & dreams, except to continue keeping my hands + heart wide open, and keep praying for submission and trust. But the point is, no matter what, I trust Him. Because He has SO proved himself more than faithful and 100% wise and perfect and knowledgeable.
Even if I don’t get what I’ve wanted all my life. Even if I end up with what I always hated and never wanted.
Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.Job 13:15, Jeremiah 29:11, & Isaiah 55:8 KJV