Thank God He Doesn’t Give Us Everything We Ask For!

Last week, I read a headline about accepting life as it is, especially when it isn’t what you expected. Since then, I’ve found myself thinking back to many things I’ve wanted, and for which I fervently prayed, that never came to be. And my reaction has been “Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for!”

Something I asked for…

I have a memory etched deeply into my mind. I was 11 or 12. I was on my roller skates in the street in front of my parent’s house. And I was in love. It was puppy love, but at the time, I didn’t know the difference.

There was a boy. He was new to my world, popular, and intriguing. I wanted to be his girl.

He was cute. He was my age, but he was already going places. I thought, if he would just choose me to go with him, I’d have it made.

Someone on skates and someone on a skateboard
Photo by RODNAE Productions on
Thank God He knows what’s best!

I desperately begged God to let me marry this boy. I was planning my future, right there on my roller skates. I had never prayed harder for anything!

Well, the years went by, and I did not marry that boy. I barely even had a whole conversation with him, and I eventually lost interest. I heard he married after high school graduation, had a couple of kids, and divorced.

God gave me something better…

In college, I met the love of my life! I’ve been married to my guy for over 30 years and I’m still madly in love! Thank God He said “No” my 12-year-old prayer!

There have been other instances where I thought I knew best and asked God to work things out my way. Most times, He has said “No”. In each instance, looking back, I’m so glad He did.

God doesn’t give us everything we ask for…

I was thinking these things and formulating this post, this morning, when my husband came to me with some difficult news. God had said “No” to a prayer we’d been praying. And it hit me like a sucker punch to the gut.

It was something I’d been convinced God was already doing. You could say I had “taken it to the bank”. But now it was final and the answer was “No”.

My husband and I were both deeply disappointed. We dealt with it in our different ways. We each go to Jesus, but my husband relaxes – lies down and closes his eyes. Me? I work my emotions out on the pavement.

My shoes bore the brunt as I cried out to God. There were words I needed to form so I could let them go. God was a patient listener while I ran and worked through the frustration I felt.

Do I really thank God?

As I started back toward my house, I could feel my peace returning. I’ve always been a silver lining person. When I hear bad news, I wrestle with it briefly and then lock onto the good, which God always reveals.

In this case, there were certainly positive angles to God’s decision. I began to thank Him for the provision in them. And then I realized how profound the timing was.

I was about to write a light-hearted “Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for” post, and He had just made it real. He had put me through it and reminded me it isn’t easy in the moment. It can be painfully hard to be told “No”.

In everything give thanks…

Even in my disappointment, there was much to thank God for. Hadn’t He already prepared me for this “No” answer by reminding me of those past requests I’m so glad He denied? Hadn’t I just been ruminating on how He’d delivered even better things than I’d asked for every time?

He had also added depth to this post I was about to write. Maybe someone else is in the throes of disappointment and will be encouraged by this very real and timely example.

Roller skates on the grass.
Photo by RODNAE Productions on
Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for!

God says “No” when He has something better in store. I can’t wait to see what it is in this instance. I’m sure I’ll look back one day and see it clearly.

Bottom line, I believe God’s ways are higher than mine. And my emotions are real. Both can be true, but one has to win. I have decided that, in my life, God always wins. And you know what? I haven’t regretted it even once.

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Leslie B. Tucker

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thank God He doesn’t give us everything we ask for! Our desires would lead us into all kinds of trouble. Can you think of examples in your life where you’re eternally grateful for God’s “No” response to your prayer?


Drill Down to The Depths with a Simple “Why?” Game!

Have you ever had a child repeatedly ask you “Why?”? I was walking with my granddaughter the other day and she was playing this game.

Me: “Look at that boat out on the lake. I think people are fishing off it.”
Her: “Why?”
Me: “A lot of people like to fish. They find it relaxing.”
Her: “Why?”
Me: “Probably for different reasons. I am usually relaxed when I’m by lakes and oceans too.”
Her: (Giggling) “Why?”
Me: (Now realizing this is a game) “Because the water is beautiful and the sound of it on the shore puts my heart at rest.”
Her: “Why?”
Me: “It’s a peaceful sound.”
Her: “Why?”
Me: (Cutting the game short, picking her up and tickling her) “Because I love you and Jesus loves you and that is all.”

The “Why?” game helps me drill down deep.

I had a week-long visit with my granddaughter. That “Why?” game happened daily. I noticed when we drilled down as far as we could go, God’s love was at the heart of everything.

The second to last answer was either “Because God said so.” or “Because God made it that way.” When “Why?” was asked to either of those statements, the final response was “Because He loves us so much!” That was the end because I couldn’t fathom why.

Playing this childhood game can be tiresome, but the concept is extremely valuable. I think the Holy Spirit has been playing it with me lately too. He’s helping me drill down to the depths of some important matters.

Depth of Focus

I have the tendency to plow through life content to see, hear, and think about the obvious. My focus is often on the surface stuff. And that is to my detriment.

For instance, I’ve been thinking and reading about anxiety. My last post was a result of learning that I treat anxiety as a problem to address, when in truth, it is a symptom of my problems. I can focus all I want on calming my anxious thoughts, but if I allow the circumstances which cause them to continue unresolved, I can’t ever expect to be free of anxiety.

Depth of Belief

The habit of drilling down to the depths of matters is crucial for deciding on my beliefs as well. Many ideas sound solid on the surface, but if I apply pressure, they give way. I must push until I find a foothold that stands.

The Holy Spirit showed this to me by bringing a past conversation to mind. I had posted on social media about my excitement to meet a baby who was due to be born any day. A young Christian had challenged my celebration because, in his words, this young mother was unwed, and her pregnancy was a sin. (He took a stand.)

He had his facts correct. This was an out-of-wedlock, teen pregnancy. It had come about through sin. But the pregnancy was not a sin. It was a consequence. (His platform did not hold.)

A warning sign posted on a wooden pole.
Photo by Skitterphoto on
Secure footing is important!

I explained this to the young man and assured him he could join me in celebration. Not only was the sinful relationship repented of, but the full-term pregnancy was also proof that this young mom had decided virtuously among her options. And new life is always a gift! (A sturdy foothold.)

I think we’d all do well to drill down to the core of what we believe and why. It is crucial with political choices, religious stances, and cultural issues. We may not like the conflict we create when we ask ourselves “Why?”, but until we unpack it, we won’t be able to reconcile it.

Depth of Thought

These things keep reverberating through my mind as I contemplate my internal dialogue. I need to pay attention to my thoughts. And as I drill down to the depths of them, I realize I’ve adopted some ideas without completely thinking them through.

When God looks at us, He sees all the way to the core of us. He pays attention to our thoughts, not just our words. He notices the intentions behind our actions. He knows we can act and speak rightly, but not be righteous inside.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7b

We will be accountable to Him for what exists in the depths of us. I think the Holy Spirit is helping me to go there. He is shining a light so I can explore what I find inside. He is asking me “Why?” and then asking it again as we’re drilling down.

Depth of Conversation

Playing the “Why?” game with my granddaughter showed me that my casual comments and observations were insufficient. They weren’t untrue, generally, but they were shallow and left a lot unsaid. Having to answer “why?” after every sentence made our conversation incrementally more meaningful.

I sure would love to be present enough in the depths of myself to speak from there at the onset of a conversation. Wouldn’t it be great if everything that came out of my mouth was only one step away from “because God made it that way” or “because God said so”, and the only other place to go was “because He loves us so much”?

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.

1 Peter 3:15

Dear Lord, I have a lot to sort through as your Holy Spirit helps me drill down to the depths of my words, thoughts and intentions. Thank you for the simple “Why?” game, which has highlighted my need to speak and act from a more meaningful place. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14
Emotions Recommendations

How Anxiety in Your Life Indicates Sure Fire Reasons for Alarm

Do you know what anxiety is? How would you define it? I’ll admit I hadn’t really stopped to examine it until recently.

In this post, I hope to explain how anxiety in your life indicates sure fire reasons for alarm. At the same time, I expect you’ll find it reassuring. I understand that sounds a bit contradictory, but please, read on!

Quick disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. I have no clinical expertise. When I refer to anxiety, I am talking about symptoms common to most of us when we feel anxious.

Anxiety – what is it?

I read a book called Redefining Anxiety, by Dr. John Delony. It was eye-opening for me, and I’d recommend it for anyone. In that book, Dr. Delony described anxiety as an alarm system in the body.

He had a great analogy, I thought. He wondered if I/we/you would hear a fire alarm and spend our time and effort to shut it off? Or would we immediately run to find and fight the fire?

Anxiety is a symptom, not a cause.

How I, and likely you, typically respond to anxiety is to relieve it however we can. We do breathing exercises, turn to coping mechanisms (praying, eating, napping, exercising, etc.), and self-medication. We consider ourselves successful when we’ve quieted the anxiety.

But anxiety is a symptom, not a cause. If it indicates we have stressors burning somewhere inside us, silencing its alert only allows the real issues to rage unchecked. The alarms will soon sound again with increasing urgency.

High-Functioning Anxiety

In a recent feature piece, Dr. Delony introduced another relevant phrase, “High-Functioning Anxiety”. You can access that article here. I think many of us have become accustomed to the deafening ring of this alarm.

High-functioning anxiety, as Dr. Delony presents it, describes the phenomenon where someone is successfully living their life while experiencing consistent symptoms. They can be loving spouses, great parents, responsible employees, and community servants. Their anxiety is not debilitating, yet they struggle to set boundaries, don’t sleep well, worry constantly, and (this one caught my attention) often feel their hearts race.

Although it feels burdensome, anxiety is a gift. It tells us we’re in a precarious place and must take action quick. The last thing we should do is suppress our alarms and go back to business as usual.

Anxiety – what to do about it?

If we fail to address the stress causing our anxiety, the alarms escalate in fervency. To continue the analogy, our lives fill with smoke. We might find ourselves struggling to breathe, impatient, making rash decisions, desperate, or worse.

Identify the cause(s) of your anxiety

Are you anxious today? It may be time for introspection. Can you identify some core problems? How can you put those issues to rest?

A Bible verse on a picture of the sky.
God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.

God knows you inside and out. Enlist His help. Ask Him to show you where the fires are and then surrender them to Him. He has the expertise and the tools to put them out.

Anxiety as an opportunity

My friend, let me encourage you to fight your fires. You may find forgiveness, a conversation, apology, or some other thing you can accomplish will put those flames down.

Or you may need to seek trained help to get there. Just don’t put it off any longer. As Dr. Delony says, “You deserve to be well.”

Anxiety in your life indicates sure fire reasons for alarm. If those sirens are sounding, you have a fantastic opportunity! Instead of focusing on our anxiety, let’s address the issues that cause it and stop those alarms for good!

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.”

Psalm 94:18, 19 Thank you, ManetteKay for sending this verse my way.
Emotions Reflections

Where Do You Turn To Feel Better When You’re Anxious?

Hi there!  How are you today?  Are you hanging in there?

In my last post, I mentioned feeling anxious about a medical procedure and it seemed to strike a chord.  Many of us have anxiety, related to all kinds of things, so let’s talk about it!  When you’re anxious, and want to feel better, where do you turn?

More about my recent experience: 

I’m at relative risk for skin cancer.  I’m blonde.  I’ve gotten too much sun on many occasions.  And there is history of skin cancer in my family.

I couldn’t get an appointment with dermatology when I lived in California.  But when I moved to Arizona, my new primary care doctor referred me right away.  And they suggested a blue light treatment for my face.

Blue Light Therapy

When the dermatologist explained the procedure, she said they’d apply a chemical cream all over my face, and only the pre-cancerous cells would absorb it.  For an hour, it would soak into worrisome patches, even those too small to be seen.  Then, they’d put me in front of a blue light for 16-17 minutes, which would activate the chemical, and treat all the pre-cancer spots at once.

She said I’d need to stay indoors for several days after the treatment and the date they suggested (this week) was relatively clear on my calendar.  I left there feeling grateful.  Finally, someone was going to take care of the spots I’d been concerned about!

They prescribed a medication to take, starting the day before my blue light treatment.  I think that’s where the trouble began.  One side effect I noticed was a racing heart.

Quest for Information

You know how you can get a whiff of a fragrance and you’re suddenly whisked back to a memory?  I think my heart palpitations worked the same way and recalled some past anxieties.  In response, I turned the wrong direction. 

I went to the internet.  I aimed to arm myself with information.  I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen to me in front of that blue light.

All I found was clinical information.  It said I might experience burning, itching, and stinging during and after the treatment.  It said my skin could swell, turn red, blister, and crack.  And usually when a medical professional says, “this might sting a bit”, you know what that really means!

So, I looked for more personal story.  I wanted to hear from someone who’d undergone this treatment.  There must be some accounts out there, but I didn’t find even one!

Feelings of Anxiety

With my heart already racing and my breathing shallow, I felt anxious.  I began to wonder if I’d be able to sit through the duration of time I was scheduled to be in the light. 

What if the burning was excruciating?  And what if I couldn’t work while my face festered all week?  (Thankfully I work from home, because at the very least, it promised to be ugly!)

My turning point:

And then I realized I’d gotten way off track.  Instead of turning to God, who knew exactly what lay ahead for me, I had taken my anxiety to the internet. 

In essence, I knelt at the altar of information instead of taking my worry to the cross.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life of turning to information.  When I get anxious about unknowns, I study to understand them.  Armed with knowledge, I feel stronger.

If you could schedule 5 minutes with someone who knows everything, would you take it?  What would you ask?

I don’t remember where I heard it, or what the exact words were, but I remember someone asking if I would take advantage of an opportunity to sit for a few minutes with someone who had everything figured out.  Talk about valuable information!  I would absolutely take that opportunity and could immediately think of topics to fill hours of conversation. 

Of course, the point was that I have 24/7 access to God, who knows everything.  And yet, I often neglect my prayer time.  How foolish!

I hadn’t yet taken that lesson to heart.  My anxiety and subsequent turn to information had proven that to me.  So, I did an about face. 

A Bible verse on a picture of the sky.
God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.

I turned to God, to whom nothing was unknown.  He not only knew my anxious thoughts, and the offensive way I had taken, he knew what I would endure during my blue light treatment and after.  He was going to be there with me, in the dermatologist’s office and at home while I healed.

I prayed Psalm 139:23, 24, as I shared in my most recent post.  And peace came flooding in.  My heart was still racing from the medication, but my mind was able to rest as I trusted God to lead me to and through what I was facing.

I suspect I’m not the only one in the habit of turning to information to make me feel better.  When I exclaim about how foolish that is, I’m speaking to myself.  Maybe it hits home with you too.

Information can be valuable, sure.  But I don’t want to worship there.  Do you?  How much better to go directly to God, who created all things, understands all things, and from whom nothing is hidden!

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

What are you anxious about right now?  Do you believe God has the answers?  Have you placed your hope elsewhere?  Do you find confidence in information before you turn to God?  I think we can do both, but there is a correct order and I, for one, have been getting it backwards.  What about you?

Please join me next time to discuss the general topic of anxiety.  What is it?  How should we handle it?  I expect it will be a worthwhile conversation for us all!

Once I am on the other side of this whole blue light therapy experience, I will share about that too. Maybe it will help the next person who wants to hear from someone who went through it.

Emotions Reflections

Are You Holding Tightly to Things which Make You Anxious?

Hello Friends! How are you? I underwent a minor medical procedure today. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I had some anxiety about it. I plan to tell you about it in the coming days.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this verse, which was meaningful to me in the hours before my appointment. Psalm 139:23, 24 is applicable in many circumstances. I hope you find it relevant today.

A Bible verse on a picture of the sky.
God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.

This verse is a treasure because it reassures us that God knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. He knows the reasons for our anxiety. And He will lead us past them.

Are you anxious about something today? Are you holding tightly to control? I get it! That is our normal tendency.

I encourage you to do the opposite. Let go and let God, as the saying goes. Let Him have it all. Follow Him in a better way.

I was tempted to hold tightly to the thing which made me anxious today. I prayed this verse instead and God came through for me. He will do the same for you, my precious friend.

I had people praying for me today. I know it helped. If you need prayer, please reach out. I would love to support you in that way.


Flee Or Fail: One Lesson To Be Learned From This Beautiful Buck

This is Buck. It’s not an overly creative name, I realize, but that is what I call him. Isn’t he beautiful? God taught me a relevant lesson when Buck failed to flee. It happened like this…

My husband and I were out on a trail. We came around a tree and saw Buck standing only a few feet away. He froze. We froze.

This has happened many times. I don’t think I’ve seen Buck before, but there have been other deer. Typically, they freeze, we freeze, and then I move for my camera. As soon as they see my motion, they flee.

A buck posing perfectly still.
Buck froze and stared. So did we. But even when we moved, he did not, except to follow us with his eyes.

I’ve never had a deer stand for a portrait until we happened upon Buck. When I moved toward my camera, he wasn’t fazed. To use my husband’s term, he just kept mad-doggin’ us. I took photos to my heart’s content.

Finally, we tired of the staring game and slowly started to walk away. Buck didn’t move, except to follow us with his eyes. When we resumed talking, even our voices didn’t scare him away.

Once home, my husband posted my photos and there were many responses. These are not exact quotes, but the sentiments were akin to the following.

  1. Oh the wonder of God’s Creation!
  2. What a beautiful buck!
  3. Look at that velveteen rack!
  4. He looks to be in his prime!
  5. Wow, where was your shotgun?
  6. Look at the meat on that boy!
  7. That head would look great on the wall!

Some people valued him as a beautiful living creation. Some saw a sporting challenge. Others desired what they could take from him.

And God began to speak to my heart.

Buck didn’t know us. He had no idea what our intentions were. He should have fled.

Lucky for him, we were in awe of His beauty. We appreciated the opportunity to study him. We marveled in the splendor of His creator.

We did not intend to harm him. But Buck couldn’t have known that. Why did he fail to flee?

A buck in a clearing.
This photo looks just like the others, you say? Yep – that is because Buck did not move! Even as we walked away and resumed our conversation.

What was he thinking? Was he feeling strong, in the prime of his life? Had he placed his confidence in his impressive antlers? Had he simply grown accustomed to danger?

I don’t know. But I have to admit that sometimes I am over confident like Buck. God has told me to flee from certain situations and, at times, I am prone to linger and stare instead.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, [wo]man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”

1 Corinthians 6:10, 11 [Brackets mine]

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18

“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

1 Corinthians 10:14

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

2 Timothy 2:22

God has told me to flee. The devil desires to destroy me. And sometimes I feel strong enough to stand and stare him down. In my arrogance, I expose myself to danger.

I shot Buck several times. Thankfully, I was only carrying a camera. If I’d been hunting, he would have been easy prey. God used him as a warning in my life.

My takeaways, beyond the beauty of the impressive creature were these.

  1. Don’t be like Buck. Don’t mad-dog a predator.
  2. The defensive tools God has given for my defense may not support my defiance.
  3. As strong I think I am, I can’t even conceive of the weapons my adversary might use against me.
  4. No reason for staying put is worth the risk. When God says flee, I need to do so immediately.

Even if I withstand Satan’s most tempting suggestions, I still sin if I fail to flee.

As Christians, don’t we sometimes get caught up in wanting to prove our spirituality? Doesn’t it feel more “studly” to stare down the enemy and make it out unscathed? To say we battled the devil sounds much more admirable than saying we ran away from him.

But it isn’t about us. It isn’t about the stories we live to tell. It is about God. It is about our obedience. He told us to flee. When we don’t, we fail. Simple as that.

You may be thinking, “but God gave us preeminence” and “there is power in the mighty name of Jesus”. I had those same rationalizations running through my head. But isn’t that what Satan does – gives us scripture out of context? It worked on Eve, but it did not tempt Jesus.

Yes, the Spirit of God in us has authority. But we aren’t walking in the Spirit when we’re being disobedient. God told us to flee.

If the enemy gives chase, we may have to engage, with every piece of spiritual armor we’ve been given. But that is another topic entirely.

What an amazing God! He taught a relevant lesson through this beautiful buck. Have you been standing a little too still, my deer friends? (Pun intended.) What have you been mad-doggin’ that you should have run from long ago? Don’t fail to obey any longer. It is time to turn and flee!