Prayerfully Speaking

Hope from the Truths of God's Word

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

a guest post by an incredible friend, writer, thinker, and laugh generator; Sam Hoover

A year ago, my wife and I felt like the timing in our life had come to a point that we were ready to make a big change. Some close friends had asked us to consider being involved with the church they had planted in Ohio three years prior and after some hard conversations, we decided to take the plunge. We sold our house, moved in with her parents, and began planning for our new life.

But something kept our dream at bay. As we started to understand this reality, we tearfully released what we thought we wanted. The next day, we were presented with an opportunity to serve at a church in the Denver area. After a month of planning, priming and packing for our new-new life, I left my family last weekend to start preparing our place in the Rockies.

This transition has been easy one minute and hard the next. The roller-coaster of emotions range from gales of laughter to whispers of, “Oh my God. What are we doing?” to a lot of ugly-crying. So here are some things that have inspired me to arrive at this point of the transition and that sustains me as I’m still going through.

1. Humor – I’m sure you’ve learned the proverb is true: Laughter really is the best medicine. Somewhere between the misery of perpetually “What if” questions and the incessant barking of the neighbor’s dog, I didn’t get much sleep my first night in Colorado. I opened up my laptop and let the comedy genius of Garrison Keillor, Car Talk and Bill Simmons calm my heart.

2. Reality – I know the Bible teaches “Do not fear” but the Bible also says that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” I think a healthy dose of fear is the definition of the word “reality.” The reality of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. His realness in its many forms motivates me to do what I’m supposed to do. The reality is that if I don’t do my part and put in hard work, I have only myself to blame for the results.

3. Nature – At 7000 feet above sea level, our front window looks like the front a postcard. Plus Denver gets 300 days of sunshine so I’ll be bulking up on my Vitamin K. However, I’m a little uncertain about some of the parks in this area. Elephant Butte? Elk Meadow? Lair O’ the Bear? These are the names they picked for me to play with my morsel-sized children on the playground equipment? Yeesh.

4. Community – My greatest connection to the world I am most comfortable with comes through conversations and relationships with my friends and family. They have been our biggest supporters and I could not even imagine going through this experience, or life in general, without them. Thankfully, my wife’s sister and family lives literally next door so we’re arriving to some familiar faces.

5. Scripture – My memory verse for this entire experience has been Psalm 37:4.

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

My wife heard a speaker teach that this verse may not mean what many of us have been taught to mean. Many people believe this verse holds some promise of wish fulfillment. If you do A and B then God would give you C.

Maybe that’s not what that verse means at all. Instead of God giving us what we want, maybe God gives us the wanting of what we want. It’s possible God places dreams, goals and inspirations in our hearts without a guarantee of fulfilling them. While that doesn’t sound quite fair on the surface, maybe God’s desire is for us to go through processes that are joyful, painful, victorious and down-right confusing so we become not just better people, but more like him. More like Christ.

The philosopher Aesop wrote a fable about a dog who received a discarded bone from a butcher. As the dog ran home, he crossed a bridge over some water when he looked in the water and saw another dog carrying a bone bigger than his own. Being greedy, he dropped his bone, lunged in the water for his adversary’s only to be swept downstream with nothing in his grasp. As he swam to safety, he was grieved thinking about the good bone he had given up.

Like Aesop’s dog, inspiration can come from very broken and humiliating results. For me, I identify with the dog easily when I look at other people’s stories of success and wish I had what they had. But rarely do I need someone else’s outcome. I need my own. Something that’s unique to me.

The things that inspire me won’t necessarily inspire you in the same way. Looking for inspiration itself can lead to a dead end. I think the key for me, my family and for all of us is to let inspiration happen however it happens. Be thankful when it does and ride it out as long as you want. Stay focused when it doesn’t but don’t be afraid to do something else while you wait. The rest will take care of itself.

Have you experienced the waiting, wanting and adventure into the unknown Sam has described? I’d love to know how you got through those times. Please share in the comments below.

About Jennifer O. White

I’m a simple wife who has discovered God’s amazing gift of prayer. Here at Prayerfully Speaking I share my journey of unwrapping this gift. God invites us to ask Him, but His enemy works diligently to keep that from happening. I hope to offer you encouragement to believe God is ready to pour more into your life than you’ve ever imaged.

8 Replies

  1. Louanne Dietrich

    Great post! Thank you Sam! I am happy for you! God is giving you what it takes!

  2. Angela Jennings

    I love the last part about riding the inspiration wave when it comes, and stay focused when it doesn’t! That is a good dose of wisdom right there! Great start to my morning thank you!

  3. Pamela Spears

    Just what I needed this morning Sam! Thank you for your vulnerability, humor, and blind obedience!
    Praying Psalm 20:4-5 for you and Katie!

  4. Ted Burden

    Grateful to hear when God has led you in your journey. One piece of deep, spiritual advice: chapstick, baby! Love you guys.

  5. tkfertig

    This was so timely for me today. We have been so discouraged, wondering which direction God is taking us and then getting frustrated when He doesn’t seem to be taking us ANYWHERE. In fact, right before I saw this post, I told Todd on the phone, “This is exactly what happened to the Hoovers. They thought they saw the clear plan, but it didn’t go that way.” Thanks, Sam & Jennifer, for sharing.

  6. This comment just hangs in the air for me: “It’s possible God places dreams, goals and inspirations in our hearts without a guarantee of fulfilling them.” My husband desperately wants to buy a farm and I desperately do not want to. There is also the problem of the home we are in–we owe more than we could sell it for, assuming we could sell it. My husband, a wonderful man who tries hard to follow God, wants to just walk away and foreclose, assuming we could get a contract-for-deed on a farm. His frustration turns to anger and despair and at times he sees me as the #1 issue holding him up. 🙁 I know this is a “heart issue” and I have desired greatly for God to turn our marriage around–to turn BOTH of our hearts inside out. I have prayed that God would take the desire away from my husband or else grant it. And it seems like God doesn’t seem to want to grant either of our desires at the moment. On the other hand, I have just started reading John Piper’s revised “Desiring God” and this seems to fit in perfectly. I have been struggling with a desire to snack constantly on chocolate (not overweight yet–but I know that’s where it will take me) and a good friend brought the new book “Made to Crave” onto my radar. It seems as if these are road signs popping up to tell me something!

    Thank you for the whisper of hope!

  7. Angela Jennings

    Thought as I am going to bed… Inspiration comes from God right? We can do our best to “create” and “find” it but the good kind is solely His doing and often comes when we can’t predict. That helps me take the pressure off myself and also the guilt. Okay I am done. 🙂