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When God Gives Someone Else What You Desperately Want

By: Kristen Clark

Have you ever wanted something so bad in life that you weren’t sure you could ever be happy without it? I have. And it was one of the hardest seasons of my life. I shared about that struggle a while back in a blog posts called: When God Doesn’t Give You What You Desperately Want.

I shared about my journey from being single to getting married, and then to eventually struggling through infertility and two heartbreaking miscarriages.

The one thing I so desperately wanted was to have kids, and it was the one thing God wasn’t giving me. Over the next few years God did some serious refining work in my heart.

Slowly but surely, I learned to surrender my will to His, and to trust that His ways were better than mine.

To this day, God still hasn’t given Zack and me children, but He has shown us, in a powerful way, that He is enough. However, the journey of learning isn’t over. I haven’t arrived at that perfect place and I still have days where I struggle and have to actively choose to surrender my desires to God.

In fact, just when I thought I was in a really good place, this past year has brought some new and unexpected challenges my way.

It was one thing to surrender something I desperately wanted to God…but it was another thing entirely to praise God for giving other people the very blessings I desperately desired.

Right when I thought I was on solid ground in my trust of God, the floodgates opened. Within a matter of weeks, I heard more pregnancy announcements than I had in years. From several family members, to close friends, to acquaintances.

Everyone seemed to be getting pregnant.

This reality brought new challenges in my trust of God in ways I never anticipated.

Not only did I have to trust God in His plan for me, I had to trust Him when He gave other people what I desperately wanted.

Have you ever been in that type of situation? Everyone around you seems to be getting the very thing you desperately want and pray for, but God isn’t giving it to you?

It’s hard. Really hard. I know.

When we’re squeezed in such a personal and heartbreaking way, our response to God is a direct reflection of the state of our heart.  

We can choose to respond in one of two ways:

  1. Genuinely celebrate God’s gift to that person.
  2. Cry, complain, and question why God isn’t giving that to us.

Which way do you typically respond?

I’ll be honest and say that I have definitely responded like #2 many times. It may seem normal to us to respond that way, but sadly, it shows our complete lack of trust in God.

Here’s what’s going on in our hearts when we feel like we can’t celebrate with someone else:

1. Pride

Most people think jealousy is the main issue here, but it’s actually a heart of pride. When we can’t celebrate with someone else, we’re ultimately saying, “God, you don’t know what you’re doing! If I were in charge, I would never have done it that way.”

When we can’t celebrate, we aren’t embracing God’s plan for that person or for ourselves. We’re pridefully saying that we know better than God and that He should conform to our desires. Our prideful hearts are detestable in God’s eyes. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord.”

2. Idolatry

Idols aren’t just stone statues from ancient days, they’re anything we elevate above our love for God. When we want something so badly that it hinders our ability to celebrate with others, we have clearly made an idol out of it. When we long for something more than we long for God, we believe the lie that God isn’t enough to satisfy us. We think, “if only I had ______, then I would be truly happy!”

Until we crush our idols and learn to find total satisfaction in God alone, we will never be able to genuinely celebrate with others when they get what we desperately want. Psalm 16:8-9 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices.”

3. Identity

A lot of us would say, “my identity is in Christ alone,” however, not all of us truly live out that belief. When we refuse to celebrate with others who get what we want, that is a clear sign that we are not finding our identity in Christ.

We are basing our identity in getting that thing. We don’t feel complete without it. We don’t think happiness could exist outside of it. We don’t think our purpose is fulfilled without it. Those are all lies and signs of a misplaced identity.

When we fully embrace our identity as children of God, we will be content with the mission God has given us without any strings attached. We will view our lives from a Biblical lens and realize that we are “set apart” children for God’s work, and our lives are about glorifying Him.

Matthew 6:33a reminds us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” But first…that’s our mission. We don’t need anything else to be complete. God will take care of the rest and give us exactly what we need (not want).

I’ll be the first to say I don’t live my life perfectly in these areas.

However, over this past year, God has worked and re-worked my heart to trust Him in deeper ways than ever before. I had learned the value of actively training my mind and heart to think Biblically.

Instead of giving in to my wild emotions, I have had to redirect my thoughts to meditate on truth (almost daily). And you know what? It has made ALL the difference in my life. It has transformed my heart to be able to genuinely celebrate with everyone who announces another pregnancy. Instead of pouting, I praise God for another life and for the blessing of children.

If you’re struggling to celebrate with others who get what you so desperately want, I want to challenge you to actively retrain your heart to think Biblically as well.

Here a few great places to start:

  • Remind yourself of what your purpose is as a Christian (Matt. 28:18-20).
  • Trust that God is good no matter what (Psalm 107:1).
  • Embrace a life of surrender (Luke 9:23).
  • Remember that trials can draw you closer to God (James 1:2-4).  
  • God’s plan for your life is tailor made for you (Proverbs 16:9).

What do you need to surrender to God today? What have you been holding onto so tightly that you tend to elevate it above God? What is God asking you to trust Him with today?

For more on this topic, check out my post: When God Doesn’t Give You What You Desperately Want

Let’s chat below.

  • How do you handle the news of someone else getting what you desperately want?
  • What is God calling you to fully surrender to Him today?

Photo credit: Here

Girl thinking.

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  • Rachel M.

    This was an amazing article! Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing.

  • Monty

    Dear Kristen – I so feel you heartbreak! It took me a while to get past not only lost pregnancies but having to have a hysterectomy in the end. I kept thinking “what must I have done to bring these circumstances and sorrows into our lives?” What I didn’t realize at the time is that I don’t have that kind of power or that God had a bigger and even better plan for us … five years later He sent us a son, through adoption, who saved my life. It’s a very long and miraculous story for another day. Even when you may think your cries are not being heard our great and merciful Lord is at work preparing to bless us in ways we could never imagine. I pray that you and Zack get the desires of your heart and that you are open to receive His blessings in what ever form they may come. Adoption is an awesome way in which to become a parent. If you haven’t yet, consider taking the first step and see where God leads you.

  • Giselle

    This was so spot on! The hardest part of waiting isn’t not getting it, but watching “everyone else” having it…everyone else but you. I’ll be honest here and say that many times I talked to God like ‘seriously God, why not me? why is everyone getting it, but not me?’. And everytime I’d made such question the answer from the Holy Spirit came to my heart ‘why makes you feel so entitled to believe God is supposed to give you something? What if He doesn’t give it you? Does it make HIm less Powerful and Worthy of your surrender?’. Then I need to get back to my submission place and remember God is God and no matter what, He is enough. Yeah I still struggle with it, but also I’m happy when I can sense I’m wrong and in need of learning.

  • Oh Kristen, I cannot imagine your pain, but I have watched it so many times. Off the top of my head, I just counted nine couples that I’ve known who have had fertility problems. Some of them have kids now, some of them don’t. There’s one couple at our church who does not have children but has suffered three miscarriages. And there’s another couple who just had their first child after five years of waiting.

    As I have watched so many godly couples hurting so deeply over their inability to have children, I see other couples sin outside of marriage and abort the resulting babies. It feels unfair–but God is a just Judge and a loving Father.

    Your article was absolutely excellent and it was so encouraging to read as I deal with my own fears that God may choose me to never have children. It was so refreshing to see a glimpse of what God has taught you through this struggle and the joy you find in Him. I am praying for you, sister.

  • vwlover

    This was very much needed. I am struggling in other areas and I, too, thought I was okay but something would happen to show I am not. I’ll get there. I’m learning to praise God for the good and the bad. I used to think it was strange to praise God for the bad (or the things we think are bad). Then I realized that even with the bad God uses them for are good.

  • Esther Ty Hubbard

    Wow! Such a challenging but truthful article. I’ve struggled and struggled with why I’m having to wait for everything and people that don’t live or do right get what you’ve asked God for. It’s even harder watching younger people get married, engaged or having children and you’ve waited the right way. Like David my tears filled the pillow at night, but JOY comes in the morning. Learning to thank God for emotional healing! Thanks for sharing your heart and being totally open to us! This article was on point!

  • Tanya

    I said this before and I say this again, your posts answer my questions almost daily, and today is another proof.. I wanted to email you yesterday and share my jealousy over someone else’s achievements and my loses. I will try to email you later today anyway but I know that God has already spoken to me. Thank! God Bless!

  • Clarissa

    What if you have unsaved friends who are in a dating relationship, but have no serious intents of getting married? Is it permissible to be happy for them? Because, given that they’re not sinning in the relationship, I don’t know whether to classify it as sin or a normal part of life.

    • Hi,

      I hope you don’t mind me answering. I would say that the Bible is very clear that we should seek to be pure in all ways. A casual relationship doesn’t really encourage that, but really opens the gateways to temptation, lust, sin and heartbreak.

  • Georgia

    Thank you for this, Kristen! I can definitely relate to your problems, even though I haven’t faced them yet. I’m only 17, but I already can’t wait to get married and have kids. What’s hardest for me is when nonbelievers have kids (often outside of marriage), and seem so happy; almost gloating. Their lives seem so “perfect”, but I know that in the end everything will work out as it should.

    This quote by CS Lewis helps put things into perspective for me: “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.”

    • Olivia R.

      That is a wonderful quote, Georgia! Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

  • Monty

    Hi Guys! I’m not sure why my comment was removed. Would be very helpful to understand how comments are screened. I was trying to be trying to be empathetic and provide a hopeful biblically based perspective. So sorry if what I said about the miracle of adoption offended anyone.

    • Jeanine

      Hi Monty! Bethany has emailed me before when I asked about that. The comments are screened by a computer, and we know how those aren’t always the most accurate 🙂 hope this helps!

  • Anna

    Thank you Kristen! This post was wonderful. I can relate to all you said. This has been an area of my life that I’ve been working on. I’m in my mid twenties and desire marriage. When I would see friends or acquaintances get into a relationship or get engaged I would not become angry or upset but just distance myself from the situation. I would find myself thinking “I’m doing everything right – I believe in God, I go to church, I pray, I don’t go to pubs/ clubs, I’m not on dating apps, I wouldn’t live/ sleep with my boyfriend before marriage but these girls do these things and they get what they want.” I’d get frustrated cause I felt like I was doing everything I could to meet a man but it wasn’t working and the girls that did everything “wrong” got the man. Then I realised how obsessed I was with marriage – like you said I made an idol out of marriage. I’m Catholic so I went to confession and the priest was so amazed at how God had revealed this to me and that I understood what God was telling me. At that moment I truly knew how much God loved me – He made my sin clear to me and I was able to move on from it. Now I rest in knowing that God has me where He wants me to be. If He wants me to get married He will make that happen. I’ve learned to distinguish between obsessing over marriage and desiring marriage. I can pray about finding the right man, hope to be married but I don’t worry about it. By trusting in God and striving after Him alone I will never be disappointed and it also allows me to genuinely feel happy for others when they get engaged/ married and I don’t feel like I am lacking in some way or missing out. We are only truly satisfied in and by God. Thanks again 🙂

    • Rachel Rhode

      Thank you for this post Anna! I don’t normally comment on these things, but I feel like this blog and your comment really struck me to my core. I have the exact same feelings as you. I myself in my mid twenties am experiencing similar situations. People my age look at me like I’m nuts that I don’t join dating apps or actively seek out a guy to fill what they see as a void. What they don’t understand is that God has a plan for each of us and that plan is different for me than it may be for someone else. I’ve learned to accept the fact that if the situation ever presents itself then it was meant to happen not because I forced it but because God willed it. I’ve become much happier knowing this and have gotten used to the reaction I receive from other women. Once I accepted this fact, it was like this giant burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I’m no longer ashamed to be admit that I think God may or may not present someone to me when/if the time is right. Thanks so much!

      • Anna

        Hi Rachel,
        Thank you for replying to my comment. It’s so good to hear other people experiencing the same thing. I totally agree with you about realising that God has individual plans for our lives and that we follow His plan not the culture’s. Also, I liked what you said about allowing things to happen in God’s time – if it happens it will be God’s will not my interference. We have to remain confident in God and not let society waver us! Best of luck. I’ll be praying for you 🙂

  • Val

    What really helps me in this is reminding myself no one owes me anything: wanting marriage is a good desire, a legitimate one, but it is not a right, is a gift 🙂

  • Lauren Ulrich

    This post was a great reminder not to allow our flighty feelings dictate our view of God and our circumstances. I appreciate your transparency and heartfelt reminder that we can trust God with our heart’s desires. No season of waiting is wasted in the unfolding of His plans for our lives!

  • Thank you for writing this. I have been going through this very thing but in a different way and it has been probably the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. It felt like I could not survive. Its amazing to hear the good state of your heart with such a difficult thing. Prayers and love. <3

  • Sarah

    This is beautifully written. I was crying by the end of it. I was literally just talking with someone about a desire that I have, something that I want SO bad, and asking them to pray with me about it. I then got online and saw your Instagram post about this blog and decided to read. It “hit the nail on the head”. It definitely made me think and realize that, even though it is a perfectly normal and good thing to want, that perhaps I am unknowingly making this desire an idol in my life. Thanks for writing this in such a way that it puts it into a different perspective :))


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