When We Can’t Have What We Want

girl pouting in cornerYou’d think that people of faith would know how to deal with basic disappointments. We have been trained to think in the long-term and welcome ordinary hardships that provide character-building opportunities. But, alas, most of us aren’t skilled at remaining calm and positive when we don’t get what we want.

Those of us in first-world situations have bought into the culture of consumerism and instant gratification. We expect fast Internet service, medications that will make every symptom go away, professionals who are correct and efficient, machines that won’t break down, and just the right food and drink at precisely the time and place we want them. We even want friendships that work into our schedules conveniently.

The desire for instant gratification has seeped into religious attitudes too. Often we feel that God owes us a happy and stress-free life: “I’m faithful and a good person; therefore, God should be blessing me.”

Other issues come into play when we don’t get what we want. For instance, many of us have resources to cushion the knocks of hard times. Many years ago, in my first U.S. teaching job, I had to strategize to buy food through the end of the month. Even then, I didn’t go hungry; I simply didn’t eat the way I wanted to eat. Other times, I have fallen into the credit trap; rather than going without something I wanted, I borrowed to have it. Thus, I protected myself from being denied, although the way I did it brought more trouble down the line.

Peer pressure prevails. If we attend a church, work for an organization, or otherwise belong to a group in which many people are rather comfortable financially, we will put ourselves at economic risk rather than stick out as the ones who can’t afford a nicer car or spend money on concert tickets. I remember a friend commenting, when both our husbands were unemployed, that not having money changed a person’s social life; we simply couldn’t participate in many activities because of the cost. This feels horrible and depressing, and we do our mightiest to avoid this feeling.

Jesus proclaimed—in stories, sermons, conversations, and actions—that we should not worry about stuff and not put our hopes in wealth. The early Church certainly understood this. Across the world, a lot of Christians understand and live it. But it’s so tempting to tune out the Jesus story and scramble back to anxiety, greed, and competition.

Then, there’s the fact we’ve forgotten about kairos time. I don’t have what I want today. But “today” is a limitation that a person of faith can live without. In God’s eternity, and in my ongoing formation as God’s creation, time is presence, and it is quality. If I must wait for something, what is that? Do I not encounter all riches in this moment with the Divine? We’re not well-practiced in this way of thinking about and experiencing daily life. But this is crucial to the life of faith.

Of course, there are bigger and more consequential wants that plague us.

We want the bullies to stop bothering our child; we want our marriage to heal; we want some bit of success after years of working and trying. We want God to fix this mess. When that doesn’t happen, it’s just a short jump to disappointment, and then one more jump to despair. We are so accustomed to equating God’s love with a happy life. We can find Bible verses that seem to promise this. And everywhere we turn, people talk about how blessed they are when something goes well. Blessing is from God, isn’t it? That person is blessed because her house didn’t get carried away by the tornado. So it seems that all those folks whose homes are wreckage must not be blessed.

Our use of terms such as “blessed” deserves an article all its own; perhaps I’ll write that one before the year is out.

Does God pick and choose whom God loves and takes care of? Does God rush to the aid of this person but make that person wait for decades, or seem not to arrive at all? These questions, really, are at the heart of our restlessness when we don’t get what we want. We understand that every day won’t be rosy, but we also know that sometimes the suffering and the waiting go on and on. This is the fear that causes all our spiritual twitching and pacing. Will it be me this time—the one who must endure disappointment for years? We can find Scripture for that, too: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NIV).

I think the Ignatian principle of spiritual freedom is useful here. In the case of not getting what we want, can we be free to unclench our fist? If I cling to the hope of what I want, can I recognize what I have already? Can I be free of demanding certain conditions before I am content? Can I give God permission to love me as God chooses and not as I imagine? Can I refrain from schooling God on what I need and what should be done about it?

This kind of freedom touches me at the core of personal will. There’s a place in my soul in which I make foundational decisions, such as will I forgive this person or not? Will I choose to be grateful and stop complaining? Will I let go of hurt and take hold of the next good thing? Will I believe Jesus’ life and Scripture’s sacred stories and the Holy Spirit’s communication to my deeper mind and heart? These are huge, life-changing, and deeply interior choices that only I can make.

When I’m still wavering on those foundational decisions, of course I will fret when I don’t get what I want. And I can make the right choices today but go back on any of them tomorrow, or even by dinnertime tonight. So, constantly, my life circumstances are testing my deeper state of soul—which means that, when I’m agitated because I can’t have what I want, that might be a clue that my foundation needs attention.

This was a tough post to write. And it goes to the heart of my own struggles. So forgive me if it’s not entirely clear or helpful. But let me know your thoughts, whatever the case.


  1. I love your deliberate, thoughtful, peaceful writing style. Always thought provoking while stimulating important reflection. Thank you making the effort. I’m sure it’s benefiting many.

  2. You have really hit a key issue for many people judging by the number and detail of individual stories. May I also recommend two Christian evangelical authors who have boosted me spiritually with their down to earth honest realism and great writing – Philip Yancey who wrote “Disappointment with God” and John Ortberg whose most recent book was a tonic to me also “I’d like you More, if you were More like Me”. With these authors, I cannot put their books down till I have read them through. The book by Philip Yancey is topical to this feedback and I pray that all of us as in Bertie’s touching account will discover God is closer than we think and very much at work when he is in fact carrying us. Thank you for your article, which has helped people to try to make sense of their difficult and painful situations.

  3. Beautiful post Vinita, reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila´s poem: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things, whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices. Many thanks,

  4. I am in the same position as Judy… I’m 72 now and spent most of my life being disappointed with God for not giving me what I so badly wanted when I was young. Somehow He hung onto me and continued to teach me the lessons I needed to learn. The disappointment taught me not to bother making plans for my life because I felt it was a waste of time but now I’m grateful because I’m not often bothered by not getting what I want. I thank Him daily for this grace, as I now see it is. Also, for many years I didn’t actually ask Him for much…probably why I had to wait so long for my life to change! But change it has. I can honestly say that the past 4 years have been the best of my life. My relationship with God is growing all the time and I can see why I didn’t get what I wanted. I am at peace and am profoundly grateful. Fortunately I am an introvert with a small family…the fact that I seldom see them doesn’t bother me. In God, I have all the company I need!
    You may have found this article difficult to write but clearly it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  5. Dear Vinita,
    I look forward to your reflections. You seem to be able to sense exactly what I need to “hear” at this specific moment. If Ignatius says that I’m a “loved sinner” and I really try to do God’s Will, then why can’t He answer those prayers of mine that are in line with His plan of Salvation: bring my son back to the Church, heal my granddaughter of her self-destructive tendencies, help my daughter deal with my granddaughter’s depression. And then I remember that God’s very Son died on the Cross as part of God’s plan of Salvation! So who am I to whine about not having my prayers answered?
    Vinita, I hope you give me permission to print this reflection so that I may read it again and again, especially the paragraphs on making foundational decisions. This is something I need to know and do.
    I continue to learn so very much from you. I can only thank you by praying for you which I promise to do.

  6. Sifting through the responses here gives rise to the quality of your post. It is one I will keep, cherish, and most definitely share with others. It is spoken from the core of your heart and that is why it was likely a difficult one to write. It’s not a place we always want to go – there’s a fear of what we might find. You found a treasure to share. I can’t wait for your article on “blessed” when that time is right. Thank you so much for sharing what always inspires me to move beyond where I am. God bless you Vinita… you are a gift of incomparable measure.

  7. Vinita, do you remember the Weavings article called, “The Spirituality of Waiting”? That’s what came to my mind as I read your words and the replies. In fact, it seems some among us have intentionally embraced that as a spiritual practice. It certainly helps me during this “Year of the Unknowns”.

    When I think about that designation, I wonder, “Haven’t we always been waiting? Haven’t we always lived with unknowns”? I’d love to know if you have an article you have written addresses the basics of The Spirituality of Waiting.

    I have a copy of almost all of the Weavings Spiritual Journals in my bookshelf. My personal electronically re-printed copy of the article “The Spirituality of Waiting” is well-worn, annotated in the margin with question marks, comments, heart icons, and a touchstone in my life. God anointed you as the Anam Cara for many of us, Vinita. God Bless Vinita. ~ Carol

  8. Dear Vinita, I just went on the LP website, and was wishing I had known about the Ignatian 31-day readings stuff…. and so just pressed on today’s reading, to start up, and voila, it was YOU. Made me so so happy. This piece was remarkable, dear friend, and really touched me in many ways. I love the way you think and your non-jargony way with words, and your honesty, and the way you point us always back to the Lord – our only hope, no? I know this kind of writing is not easy, but keep doing it. Sending love from New Hampshire

    • Sending love right back from Chicago, dear friend! Thanks so much for posting. Writing for this website keeps my honest, I must say.

  9. Vinita, I loved your article and fully agree with it.
    Its easy t say you are blessed when things are going fine, but we need to understand that God is always there, next to us in our path, and not faraway planning things to make us suffer or challenge us.
    The gift of freedom is what makes our life whole and give us the opportunity to experience good and bad times.
    We should be grateful for both, maybe mor for the bad times, because what does not kill you makes you stronger and makes us leave our comfort zone.

    I like to think like Maria in the sound of music, “when the Lord closes a door, somewhere, He opens a window.” And I hace experienced that views from the new windows usually offer us a brightful and more beautiful experience.

    God bless you and peace be with you.

  10. I will look forward to your thoughts on Blessings. I too struggle with one who is blessed because of such and such but how about the others who would be “unblessed”?
    Sending real blessings your way and thanks for your wonderful insight.

  11. This is touching to the core… It’s like I am on a retreat!! God prioritises, as my Father, He knows best. He knows what I need better than me. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”.. I have learnt to trust in His Divine providence, no matter the situation.

  12. Your post certainly resonates with me. In particular: ” Our use of terms such as “blessed” deserves an article all its own; perhaps I’ll write that one before the year is out.” Please write it!
    Thank you.

  13. …” These are huge, life-changing, and deeply interior choices that only I can make….”
    So profound. Thank you

  14. The most difficult part of my prayer whenever I ask God for something are the words that I always end my prayer with. And the words are “God, not my will but Your will be done.” The first couple of times I said these words, it was very difficult for me to actually mean it. After all, I was not asking for something bad; what harm could it do if God granted my prayer? Why would He choose not to grant it!

    God granted some of my prayers rather quickly. But some of my prayers were granted after more than a decade. And some of my prayers God chose not to grant and are now moot because what I was asking for is no longer relevant.

    I will never understand God’s ways and God’s timing, or why some of my prayers are granted and some are not. What I do know is that God knows what is best for me, and that I should trust Him 100%, no matter how hard that can sometimes be.
    So now when I end my prayer with the words “God, not my will but Your will be done”, I am at peace knowing that I have put myself and those I pray for in God’s hands.

  15. Vinita,
    This is probably the 5th time I have read this article. Each time I read it, it gave me new lessons, new reminders, new way of handling my challenges.
    It is for this purpose that I bookmarked this article so I can keep on going back to it when I am down.
    Thank you for all the articles you write.

  16. Thank you for this beautiful and heartfelt article and so many wonderful responses. It brought to mind that prayer “ come as you are”

  17. On the contrary it, your writing, is right on time and speaks directly to how I struggle today and yesterday to always trust and believe in “Gods Will” for me and not the other way around. The last lines rang within me and truly helped to remind me that God is doing his part and that ‘he needs me’ to do my part in building the strongest foundation I can build and he’ll be there to help me build it. May you be blessed.

  18. I got something from this piece that hit at a time I needed to read it. You can’t fight not getting what you want alone. I’m reminded of the saying:”Let go and let God.” We all must regularly remind ourselves to trust the Lord to help us. Then, there is far less of a fight to cope with the disappointments of life. Life is hard, if you’re paying attention. But we don’t have to encounter it all alone.

  19. I don’t usually reply to articles, but this one struck me deeply. I have saved it and printed it for future reference. It needs repeated meditation and reading. This is so to the core of what it means to trust God. Thank you.

  20. I trust God’s Will in the world AND in my life. It is I whom I do not trust to recognize and accept His concomitant GRACE to KNOW and to LIVE HIS Will. The only child in me too often questions, “why?” , NEEDS to understand, and fails in TRUST, in FAITH. There is too often a deep chasm between RECOGNIZING and LIVING His Will – even when we BELIEVE that it is the ONLY Way.. It is not ALWAYS
    the way to happiness on earth. How MUCH “longer than TIME is ETERNITY? Beyond our comprehension…FAITH.

  21. Many thanks for this post, Vinita. In fact it seems a lot of us is coming through a similar experience, judging by the overwhelming response, but let me tell about mine:
    Until three years ago, I had a rather good paying job, some savings, I could afford to buy a rather nice car… but a strange chain of events forced me to leave the organization I worked for (hint: I didn’t want to be mixed in some legal problems that could arise from management behaviour), my father died in an unexpected way, I had to do freelance work for some abusive customers (which at the end didn’t pay), and age is taking its toll and my health is not what it was (nothing too serious thanks God, but it takes a toll on my productivity). Well, the fact is that we entered negative cash-flow mode, so we had to cut on all non-essential expenses, to the point that eating out seemed like a indecent luxury and buying new clothing is something that must be carefully considered before proceeding. To say nothing about having a weekend holiday or traveling.
    Things seem to be (slowly) improving now, but in hindsight, I performed a review of our life during this strange period toghether with my wife, and we came to some conclusions:
    – We learned to put all of our trust in God. Not just a bit, or even an 80%. I really mean *all* of our trust. We found how fragile are our petty human securities, and how life can take a turn precisely when you’re most confident on your own abilities.
    – We never prayed as much as now. And that’s a very good thing! Also, reading and meditating the Bible. I would say that everything that can happen to you is there.
    – When I compare myself with who I was before this turmoil, I wonder how could I be so stupid and worry about really unimportant things. Hopefully, I’m a bit less stupid now.
    – I came to think that all bad things that happened to me are not even a 1/1000 of what I’d deserve for all my sins of the past – and present, and only God’s mercy spared me from more of their consequences. I know that’s not a popular view nowadays, but if St. Ignatius saw himself as a “sore that suppurates sin”, for sure that I’m no better than him.
    – I learned to be thankful. Yes, I was already familiar with the examen, but now I’ve found that God’s blessing are not the “big” ones we crave for, but others as simple as the morning coffee, a walk by the seaside, reading a good book, or a chat with our kids. They’re for free!
    – All in all, I believe that I wouldn’t be complete without these hard experiences. There’s a lot of things you cannot understand unless you get a ride on the rough side of life. I know that, just by human condition, there will still happen many things, good and bad, but I hope to be better prepared for them from now on.
    Well, there would be a lot more to write, but this was supposed to be just a comment and not a full post.
    Again, many thanks for your insightful writings, and God bless you!

    • Bertie, thanks so much for posting. I cringed as I read all that you’ve been through, knowing that such things can happen to anyone at any time–and I still fear not having money! Your example, though, gives me encouragement, and I’m sure it will encourage other people, too. Hard experiences produce good results only when we choose to respond to them with openness to grace. Such events could easily make a person bitter and fearful. Thanks for walking us through some of what you learned–we need to hear stories like yours. Peace to you, Vinita

  22. Vinita,
    Thank you for a wonderful post. There is much to think about. On a personal level, it shook me because our family has been through some financial struggles. I promised myself that I would give my gratitude list to God daily, even if I felt it was a short list. It is very hard some days, but open hands receive God’s love so much easier than clenched fists!
    Professionally, these ideas are also challenging for me. I teach junior high in an affluent Catholic school, and it is very difficult to retrain the “entitled” mind (even though I don’t think you ever used that word in your reflection). Teaching children to persevere through hard work and effort is difficult especially when the results don’t come right away or if our efforts are for “the good of the cause”. Many of us have been taught that work is more rewarding and builds character when we have done it ourselves and not necessarily the easy way. That is a hard thing to help kids appreciate.
    Thank you for your insight. You give me inspiration!

    • Wow–you’re a teacher! I admire you already. It’s a real struggle to figure out how to teach certain values and attitudes to kids who are otherwise overwhelmed by a self-serving and impatient culture. Ultimately, kindness will speak to them. But I do believe that children pay attention to people who are honest with them and who challenge them. Blessings upon your sacred work!

  23. This is very well written and both clear and helpful. You have gone to the root of our mindset and motivations in our daily living. I can’t wait to read your article on “blessed.”

  24. Always insightful writing and sharing Vinita. But this one is absolutely amazing and I believe it has the power to touch so many of us as evidenced by the large number of comments. I can’t wait for “blessed” like everybody else. Thank you again for touching so many lives in such a “blessed” way. You are a gift to many.

  25. As usual I find your post deeply insightful and a gift. How could these issues not be hard to write about. But you do so honestly, clearly and with deep connection. I am reading the gift of the prodigal son. How often are we like the older son? Feeling entitled, that life treats us unfairly, full of resentments and anger. This is of course our humanness, our brokenness. I try to choose every day to return to my Father when I choose the path of the world. I know He always is waiting with open arms despite my stumbling over and over again. You, Vinita Hampton Wright have touched me so much with your writing. What a gift God has graced you with. He speaks through you even when you may have difficulty finding the words to express what He wants you to say. I pray for you to continue to hear His words and share them with the world. God bless you.

    • Bless you, Tamara, for your encouraging words. So often, I write these posts quickly because this is but one task on my editorial desk. I review and revise, but I trust that the Holy Spirit works with the time I have and not the time I don’t have. So it’s helpful to know that at times it hits the mark. I so appreciate that you let me know this. Peace and grace to you–Vinita

  26. It is good to read so much honesty in these heartfelt replies to your post, VInita. They make me feel better . Just knowing other’s have their doubts and struggles helps me to hang on in there.
    My brother who has PTSD has suffered greatly for over 30 odd years. He must have had thousands of prayers for healing. He is such a gentle soul whose kind acts of charity are more Jesus like than I could ever be.
    I DO believe greatly in the power of prayer so I do continue to ask for a miracle for him.
    Peace to all. X

    • Katy, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. It is so difficult when someone we love needs help for years and years. I wish I knew why God allows this to go on, especially when we pray for healing and trust God for help. I do believe that, whatever shape we’re in, the Holy Spirit is communing with our spirit, and that holy interaction happens deep in a person, underneath the outward troubles and symptoms. Your brother is held in Divine love, and I hope and pray that he soon will experience more awareness of that love, that he will know that he is enough, just as he is. Thank you for continuing to love him; I’m sure this in itself is a comfort to him. Peace to you and your family–Vinita

  27. Vinita,
    This piece offers much for prayer, thought and contemplation. I am always eager to read your thoughts as your words resonate on many levels. Discernment – a process, a prayer, a path in relationship with God and with others. Thank you for the gifts you share and the words you write. Peace be with you.

  28. Wow,3 days ago I read a devotional and the writer was talking about how she was struggling in dealing with knowing that God is able to do all things but yet her requests not being granted. It gave me a perfect definition of what I have been feeling lately. And reading this today made it complete for me. It’s not easy knowing that God is able but yet you lack. Honestly,there have been times i felt abandoned,unloved…that maybe God has forgotten me… Feeling my prayers not being answered when I’m encouraged to just keep on praying. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s because I am sinful or whether God has decided not to answer or if my prayers reach Him at all or maybe I should just ask for something else and forgo that which I’m asking already… how long will I have to wait. It’s terrible and sometimes I feel so so sad. There are times too I have wondered what it would be like to seek help from somewhere other than God… but then I have never been able to that. Find it difficult sometimes to be truly grateful for what I have now… in spite of these ups and downs of my emotions, there’s that hope to just keep on praying, to keep on asking… like Peter, I have no where to go. I believe in God alone,and even though sometimes my questions/doubts are greater than my faith,I will hold on. I will wait. I know that God will help me… Clinging fiercely to this hope.
    It might tarry,it might take toooooo long in coming,God,please keep me till then. Never let me depart from you. Amen.

    • Veronica, I have felt the same way you describe: forgotten by God, unimportant to God, and so on. And I end up in the same place every time: where else, or to whom do I go? Sometimes I tell God, “You’re stuck with me, and I so you have to listen to what I’m going through.” Psalm 55:17 puts it this way: “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice.” So I’ll keep practicing gratitude, but I’ll keep crying out, moaning and complaining, too. Jesus told us not to give up on our prayers, and throughout Scriptures we are urged to turn to God. May we all continue engaging with God, even if it takes the form of tears, anger, complaint, and repeated requests for help. Peace to you–Vinita

  29. Thank you so much. this definitely hit a chord in me. I struggle with disappointment daily and I need to look inside. this journey is tough.Yet I have so much to be thankful for.

  30. One of the best, most insightful posts I’ve read on this site. It touches core issues & values in 21st century culture.

  31. When read your post, I went to find the Thomas Merton prayer I read yesterday…
    “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing. I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost or in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

    • Mary, Thomas Merton’s soulful prayer resonates with me deeply. It’s been a long time since I prayed this particular prayer. Each sentence is a prayer-within-a-prayer. In fact, each sentence is a worthy journal prompt. Thank you for reminding to re-visit this prayer in my daily efforts to stay connected to and living in the Present Sacred Moment. ~ Carol

  32. Good, good words, Vinita. I have enough and i do enough and I am enough but I keep wanting more. It’s a big job to control my own thoughts and desires.

  33. Another wonderful, thought-provoking reflection. So many things you said touched a core of my being. I will be 81 yrs old on Sunday. One can’t change the past and Jesus is my constant companion (or so I believe) . All my children (Adults) do not live near so I am lonely for family and have become a different person; I used to be happier, even under much pressure, now I am very sad lots of the time. I am looking forward to your article on BLESSED, we hear people keep saying it all the time “Oh I am so Blessed”If it is said to ME, I ask them how they spell it. Blessed OR BLEST?? there is a difference! However I live in Australia not America, so perhaps English is spoken differently. A.M.D.G.

    • Meg, I’m sorry for your loneliness at this time in your life. I’m grateful, though, that you recognize changes in yourself, that you can name your sadness. I hope you direct it to God, to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, a saint or two. This may be a time for deepening your friendship with God. It may also be a time for deepening your friendship with yourself. Time by yourself can lead to the deeper wisdom hidden in your life. I believe that God rejoices in who you are, just as you are right now. Can you rejoice in who you are? Can you recall the love you have given others, the gifts you have offered, the hard times you have survived, the beautiful desires that have lived in your heart? Of course I don’t know you, but I’m just throwing out a suggestion or two. I pray that you sense Divine presence in your life and around it. Thank you for posting! Peace–Vinita

    • Hello, Meg, from faraway Texas — yet you are a Kindred Spirit with so many of us here, regardless of age, place, time, or circumstances. Vinita’s guiding suggestions call to me, too, to reflect on the very sort of meaningful spiritual life skills for daily meditation or reflection. I’m going to try each of her suggestions this way: I’m going to list them in a spiral notebook on my kitchen table. Then I will reflect on one each day. During the day, I will touch on each one lightly and for only as long as I can hold space for the first rush of my words of reply. Meg, my grown children live within 15-45 minutes away, but they might as well be in Australia. Yet, by praying a Universal Prayer following the Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. teachings: “Trust in the slow work of God.” Then I will pray my suffering will be Divinely transformed into love for you, for moments of our awareness of God’s Presence even if for a nano-second, and a for an unbroken Cosmic Spiritual Connection among us. Be well, my friend. Dive deeply into the abiding love you carry within you. ~ Carol

  34. Thank you for sharing your thought. I havê two adults children living at home, which is quiet normal in South Europe. They havê both qualifications my daughter is a psychologist with 27 and my son a designer of product with 29. They are good children and I raised them by myself, their father left home 18 Yeats ago and hás another family. Sometimes I feel they are too hard on me : I am a working mother , I paid their studies in a catolic private school, then I país the psycholi studies in Catholic Private University and the boy inna good private school Also, I cooked and try to speak to them when we have dinner together, almost every day, and they are hard with me demanding expensive trips, correting me in public , I feel só sad. I am 55 and something I start to be confused and tired. My work is very demanding and I feel that some times I AM not that the best way. Can you give me a clube?

  35. I’m in this battle right now. The struggle that I can’t seem to shake is when what appears to be feelings of consolation and desires I’ve had since I was a kid (about being a Jesuit and wanting to be a priest) don’t match what I am actually able to do (I am a woman).

  36. Thank you so much for this article.
    If only I could reach the point where God alone suffices!
    Thanks for your spiritual guidance.
    Peace be with you.

  37. Really good reflection. I am almost ninety now, and lately I have found that for myself the true answer to a lot of these deep questions is “I don’t know.” I trust that God understands.

  38. I am grateful for your honesty and insight. Thank you. Your words resonate with me on various levels and times in my life. Yes, it’ can feel at times a constant battle not to sulk at God.
    VInita, is it that we don’t” trust enough?”

    • Been asking myself this question lately… how much of it do we need… a little faith is all I have. Reminds me of a song…

  39. I find all your posts full of wisdom, Vinita, so this was no surprise to me. Now, as an old woman, I can see that I have staggered from disappointment to despair throughout my life by obstinately clinging to my own desires and what I believed to be the fulfilment of God’s gifts to me. I was mistaken, and now I have learnt to refrain from “schooling” God, he has blessed me with the insight to repent and rejoice in his promise of forgiveness and ultimate peace. Deepest gratitude for your post, and please write your article on “Blessed” as soon as you are ready!

  40. I think you have touched on a universal condition that touches everyone’s relationship with God. When we feel in control, all is well. When things reach our “tipping point”, then fear and panic take over. I will copy this and keep it at my “prayer chair.” It’s good to know I share this trait with others. Satan tries to convince me I am the only one!

  41. Thank you! You have touched the hearts of many, including mine. I thank God for you, your truthfulness, wisdom and clarity. May we see God in all things!

  42. It is SO good to read an article that well articulates a struggle I certainly live with. To live in the world and yet not be of it is to live in the tension that requires God’s strength for any kind of balance. Thank you for this reminder of living and waiting in God’s love.

  43. Very interesting and challenging post. I struggle at that fundamental level with 20 years of severe depression which has taken away my job. my ministry, my God given gifts and left me empty and alone. How do i find God’s presence? Job managed it but i’m not that holy! Thanks for all your spirutual insughts and generosity in sharing.

    • Rosie, I wish I had answers, especially when it comes to this very difficult arena of depression and other debilitating illnesses. We have experienced this in my immediate family, and I know that people with severe depression rarely “solve” the problem, although therapy and medication can make a difference. People in this situation have a conversation with God that is quite different from the conversations a lot of other people have. I think the best we can do is bring to prayer exactly who we are and express ourselves honestly. I think, too, that our cultural concept of being personally productive–whether through job or ministry–can make it seem that those incapacitated by serious and ongoing illness have failed somehow. We can offer only what we have. I believe that this is always enough in the Divine view. Unfortunately, we and the people around us find it difficult to see ourselves as “enough” when we experience such pain and isolation. I pray that you fling everything you have–longing, hurt, frustration, anger, questions, gifts (you do still possess gifts)–right at the Creator. Do not give up engaging with God. I hope my words can somehow encourage and not discourage or seem to discount what you are going through. Peace be with you.

  44. This was absolutely one of my very favorite posts ever. I will ask my husband to print it out for me to share with others. I, also, will reread this many times. I do believe that everyone can relate to this as it is both inspirational and universal.
    Thank you so very much!

  45. Thank you for your post. Sometimes I feel alone in my questions and fears. Thanks for putting to words some of these feelings that I do also have!

  46. Love the painting at the top …who is the artist ? It captures for me your thoughts.I know that little girl well. For years I have been carrying around within Marcrina Wiederkehr’s ” take care to not wear the cloak of discouragement if you can’t wear enough emptiness to be free”. Thanks for your thoughts.

  47. Oh, my! Your eloquent sharing has traveled like lightening to my very core. Time is needed to reread and process the vastness of deep issues. Please, do write about the term blessed.
    Thank you for your spiritual incite and wisdom!

  48. Well said!
    We all struggle with this seeming conflict between spiritual and culture in our ” enlightened west”.
    As a youngster in my formative years I heard the advice as work for “it”; now it seems the message is “why wait”.
    Like today’s gospel that reminds us anger is the same as killing in rejecting the Lord, so too do we find understanding of blessing difficult.
    It’s an ongoing process, thanks for adding good food to the thought furnace!

  49. Don’t apologize for this at all. Magnificent, thought-provoking piece that stopped me in my tracks as I took a break to read it. You speak to the heart of the matter, and you ask me as the reader to get up off my “duff” and change my foundation. No more apology for that, you hear. It is clear that you’re asking me to grow up, head to a more adult spirituality that lets go of so much junk and holds on to what gives life, not only to me, but even more importantly to others. Anything else at this stage of my life would be petulance. Thanks again.

  50. Well done. I struggle with the complexities of the medical system my aging husband is caught in. His mental and physical capacities dwindle and there are constant pressures to agree to one more test; to purchase more expensive drugs just so he will live forever in this valley of tears. What is death? Going home to God is no longer the final destination but a curse to be avoided at all cost. Every morning I say my rosary and ask where is God’s plan for this man who has loved me so well. Do all these interventions really come from God? I accept my purpose to tend to my husband until he goes home to the Father and we live in a society that believes aging is a pathology and dieing is the ultimate horror not the door to the final resting place. The insanity in Canada now is that our system will keep him alive artificially and then will kill him when I decide enough is enough. I have no answers and there are very few that will even engage in this conversation.

    • Sandra, you are living the reality so many people face, and I’m so sorry for the suffering you and your husband must face daily. Yet I am grateful that you can ask these deeper questions, even as you are going through the valley of tears. God sees your hard heart-work. And I believe that your husband is tucked away in God’s big, gentle hands. Peace to you, Vinita

  51. Vinita, thank you. I think you’ve gotten to the root of a lot of the conflicts that we experience daily, especially in our very privileged society, which we often take for granted. There is a lot here. One thought: I have experienced a lot of loss and disappointment in the last couple of years but I have come to see that in all these instances, there is something that I needed to see, that God was trying to show me. We need the grace to see it and have the courage to then use what we’ve learned to transform our action (that’s the harder part). Please know that despite your struggles, you are doing great work. Your reflections are a blessing to so many.

  52. Oh, Vinta! From the very first paragraph, I was hooked on this post! It is very clear and helpful, and I got a chuckle out of a couple of lines.(I can just hear Jesus saying, “Thou shall not worry about stuff!” and picture you “schooling God!”) We do have to thank God for the blessings of the car not starting and a parent being angry about not being able to drive any more, as well as for being employed at a job we love. I look forward to that article on blessings! And I SO identify with the image of the girl pouting in the corner! Thank you for your post and God bless you

  53. Viniita~ thank you! “There’s a place in my soul in which I make foundational decisions, such as will I forgive this person or not? Will I choose to be grateful and stop complaining? Will I let go of hurt and take hold of the next good thing? Will I believe Jesus’ life and Scripture’s sacred stories and the Holy Spirit’s communication to my deeper mind and heart? These are huge, life-changing, and deeply interior choices that only I can make.” People get sick of me saying choices. It’s all about choices. BUT, I so believe that’s true. The big choices, yes. More importantly for me the little, moment to moment choices, where I choose to hold onto a grudge, a hurt, a perceived slight. I choose to spin my web of negativity OR I can choose to LET IT GO and move on finding something instead, for which I can be grateful. Even real worries about our closest loved ones which can be so deadening to our daily well being can be minimized by the exercise of accepting what we can and cannot change and then simply loving. I absolutely LOVE your whole article. I also love your humbleness of owning that this was a tough write even for you. I constantly feel the pressure from pretty much everyone that surrounds me to be beacon of peace because I have such a committed and active prayerlife. When I can’t maintain, I take myself for “a step away” to reframe my attitude and seek quiet solace with my loving mystery God. Sometimes my step away can be as short as an hour~ sometimes it’s as long as a few days but I know I can’t be of use to anyone if I am not OK myself. We are grateful seekers. Thank you. Kathy

  54. I love your posts and I could tell this one was difficult for you. You’ve hit a chord with me, as I am sure you have with others. As I read your post, I thought of all the surveys I receive…whether I get service on my car or buy a burger. Everyone wants to know how I felt about the experience and the product. I feel forced to have those opinions when I should just be thankful to have a burger to eat and a car to get me back and forth to where I want to go. And I love the reminder that when we are agitated about something, it typically means we have to look inward at the cause. Thank you for your thoughts and I look forward to your post on “blessed.”

  55. Your post hit a place deep within me. It is that constant struggle between trusting God and seeking my own desires. Trying to discern which of my desires are from God and which desires are from my own need for comfort and prosperity. I don’t think there are any clear cut answers. It is what we must wrestle with each day in order to fulfill our deepest desire to be closer to the will of God. Thank you very much for this very thought provoking post.

    • I can completely relate to and understand everything you address. Thank you; I needed this, especially right now.


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