I begged, and prayed, and allowed snot to run down my face as I tried to coax God into giving me the next blessing I wanted. I fasted, prayed, believed, and slept very easy. I read my Bible more, I behaved more seemingly, all in hopes that God would show me favor and bless me with the “whatcha-ma-call-it” that I wanted at the time. Yep, this was how I usually went about receiving any blessing in my life. I’d wait patiently like a child at Christmas time. Then it would happen, God would answer my prayer. And hot-damn, I’d have my blessing. However, after a while, the luster would wear away. The excitement would fade, and the thrill would officially be gone. I’d eventually blame God for my ungratefulness. It was ultimately God’s fault for my discontent.
Take for instance, the time I prayed for a child. My first husband and I were eager to conceive. We had tried the old fashion way with no positive result on the pregnancy test. Then I graduated to taking my basal body temperature for weeks, and I would even test my saliva, and my cervical mucus around ovulation. Still, no baby. Then we went to the physician and came to find out nothing was wrong with either of us. So we decided to stop trying and just wait a little longer for our time to conceive a new life.
Months went by, and I decided to take some time to go back to school for my paramedic license. Wouldn’t you know it? I went to the emergency room one day for what I thought was a mild infection and the doctor told me I was pregnant. I laughed, and he seemed shocked that I didn’t know I was with child. Initially I was happy. My husband was elated as well. But during the first trimester, I began to feel the pregnancy symptoms. I was nauseated all the time-but I rarely threw up. Both my husband and I suffered from extreme fatigue. For me, the fatigue was so bad that I became unable to devote my full attention to school. Ultimately, I dropped out about halfway through my program. The more my belly grew, the more my husband wanted me to take a leave of absence from my job. My refusal to leave work resulted in problems between he and I. I was growing increasingly miserable. All at once, the very thing I had prayed for seemed to be growing into my worse nightmare! How could I want something so bad, and then be so disappointed when I had to deal with the responsibility that came along with the blessing.
Years later I had the strong desire to go back to college and finish what I had started over a decade ago. I prayed, fasted, read scriptures, and exercised all the faith I had. I wanted to go to my original choice of school. I didn’t care that it was a very expensive school, or that when I left school, I didn’t leave on the best of terms. It didn’t matter at all that the odds were against me or that I may not be able to attend class with a full-time job. I was stubborn in my desire. After months of going through the process of getting accepted into school, and acquiring the money to actually finance this undertaking, I was notified that I was once again a student at University of Alabama at Birmingham.
It was wonderful walking on campus, standing in the long line buying books. In my mind I fit right in with the college students who were not-so-obviously a decade younger than me. I felt a strong sense of accomplishment even going through the long process of getting back into school. The first month of school, all I did was read! I read until my eyes were bloodshot and dried-out. But somewhere around the middle of the semester, I became exhausted. I was tired, all the time. I had no time to do anything but work, parent, and read. I was tired of being tired. And I was sick of being busy. It was then that I asked God, why am I so drained? Why am I so busy? Lord, I need a break. That’s when it hit me: Everything you have in this moment you asked for.
I took a deep breath and realized that I was living exactly the life i’d prayed for. I was working toward my bachelors, I was keeping my mind so focused on what I wanted to do in life that I didn’t have time to focus on my failing relationships. I had just enough time to work, parent, and study. I have dozens of stories like these over the course of my life. Stories that detail how God answered a prayer only for me to eventually become ungrateful and unsatisfied. I found that I was fickle and I prayed fickle prayers.
How many times have you asked for something, received it, and hated it? Many times we seek things just because we want to fill an immediate, short-term “want,” but we don’t take time to count the cost of what we are asking for. We purchase new cars, but regret buying them as soon as the first months payment is due. We pray for careers only to hate getting out of bed to go to work. We ask for spouses only to become disheartened when it comes time to actually put I’m real work to keep the relationship going.
For me, I’ve been making a more conscious effort to be very selective about the things I seek to acquire. I’ve grown enough to realize that there is no bordem to true happiness. I know now that inner peace doesn’t lose its luster. Self-fulfilment will always be gratifying. I’m constantly examining my wants and making sure that I’m making good use of my prayers. I seek to be more substanitive in my requests. Instead of simply praying for an object or opportunity, now I also pray for wisdom go understand the most important aspects of responsibility that will come along with the “whatcha-ma-call-it” that I’m praying for. I pray to for understanding so that I can fully appreciate and maintain my blessing. I now pray for insight so that I may discern the difference between the things I want and the the things that will be most beneficial to me. Otherwise, I’ll end up blaming God for things I only thought I wanted.