Posted by: deerharas | August 5, 2007

Please Please Please (Don’t) Let Me Get What I Want

A friend of mine recently found the time to blog amidst the craziness of a camp she directs, so I felt a little inspired.  RAs are here.  We’re right in the middle of training.  Students move in Saturday.  Most days I’m working from 8:00 AM until midnight or later, but today I am taking time to write.

The other day I was reminded of The Smiths song, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.”  (Before anyone gets to thinking that I’m more hipster than I am, I have to admit that I only know of The Smiths through a quick reference on Gilmore Girls and by the aforementioned song on the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack.)  I was reading through Psalm 106 which basically recounts the history of the Israelites, and verses 14 and 15 caught my attention.  “But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert; he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.”  After God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, he led them in the desert for 40 years, sustaining them with a miraculous food, manna, that no one had ever known before.  Exodus 16:31 describes its taste as like wafers made with honey.  God fed the Israelites in this way, but for some of them, it wasn’t enough.  They cried out and complained for meat.  They longed for Egypt where they had plenty of meat and variety, reasoning that the slavery God delivered them from was better than the blandness, monotony, and harshness of desert life.  The Lord granted their request saying, “You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathesome to you because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we come out of Egypt?'”  (Numbers 11:19-20)  Numbers goes on to say in verse 33, “While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague.”

In reading these passages, I couldn’t help but be thankful that the Lord doesn’t grant my every wish, whim, or desire.  Over the past few months, I have experienced more disappointment than at any other time in my life.  Back in March I was accepted into grad school, which was certainly not a disappointment.  However, a big part of my being able to begin in the fall was getting the grad assistantship for which I had applied that in essence would make things affordable.  Things looked really good.  I moved from phone interview, to on-campus interview, always feeling like it was the right thing for me, that this was what God had placed on my heart.  The timing seemed perfect.  I had such a renewed longing to learn, and this opportunity to continue working with students in residence life, except minus many of the administrative headaches I currently face, seemed perfect as well.  As I returned home from the interview, I was excited and filled with anticipation of what the next year would bring.

About a month later (much longer than was initially conveyed to me) I got the rejection call.  It’s hard to explain what I felt, exactly.  I was disappointed, but I somehow knew it was right.  As much as I was ready to move on, way in the back of my mind, that place I rarely visit or allow to visit me, I knew there were things to take care of here and now.  It certainly wasn’t my preference or desire, but it was what it was, and I dealt with it.

Add to the complicated mix my first real relationship since high school.  Honestly, some of the hurt over the GA rejection was lessened by the fact that I had a boyfriend.  A close friend of mine, upon hearing about the rejection, reasoned that perhaps God was keeping me here for that very reason, so that I could have more time to get to know and grow closer to my boyfriend.  I believe that God has a million reasons for moving as He does, so I try not to assign neat and tidy interpretations to my life’s circumstances.  However, her words had crossed my mind long before she ever verbalized them.  I remember thinking not long before the GA rejection, that the worst thing that could happen to me would be not getting the grad assistantship and thus not starting grad school in the fall and for me and my boyfriend to break up.  One without the other would be fine, but to not have either would be devastating.  Now I realize that there are much worse things that can happen to a person, but in my mind and heart, these two things were my greatest earthly desires. 

Three weeks exactly after the rejection phone call, I was once again rejected, this time by the boyfriend.  Suddenly, I felt a much bigger loss concerning grad school.  It was as though I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve that disappointment, and it was now so much more incredibly real.  And it wasn’t just school; I was heartbroken over the loss of a relationship unlike any other I had known.  In my entire life, I have known two people I would consider as having marriage potential.  One of them married someone else, and the other broke up with me.  Strangely enough, however, just like the GA rejection, something in me way down deep knew that this too was right. 

I’m not sure that that knowledge made things any easier at first.  This was disappointment on a level that I had not known.  However, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was Psalm 34:18 which says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  And while the purpose of this blog is not to recount the breakup aftermath, I will say that the Lord was close.  Perhaps closer than He’s ever been.  And that alone made the painful experiences worth it.

So here I am, months later, with a little more perspective, and all I can say is praise God that He didn’t give me what I wanted.  I wouldn’t change a single thing about the way things have transpired.  I am fully confident that His ways, His plans, His purposes are best.  Best, not just good.  Going to grad school would have been a good thing.  Dating a fellow seeking believer was a good thing.  But neither were the best thing.  I could use this space to list the several reasons I think God allowed things to happen as they did, but they don’t really matter.  All that matters is that God is good, and His rule and reign is good, and if He allows me to participate in that kingdom, that also is exceedingly good. 

So my prayer is that God would purify my desires so that they become His desires.  But until then, please, please, please don’t let me get what I want.

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