Having Faith When You Get What You Don’t Want

The first time I talked to my husband I was at my parents’ house.

We hardly knew each other. We’d connected over Twitter and he’d commented on my blog a few times and we shared several mutual “friends” online but he also lived all the way across the country and I wasn’t even sure I knew his whole last name.

If you ask him, he’ll tell you he called me that day because he wanted to date me.

skype

If you ask me, I would say I had no interest in dating anyone, anywhere, let alone a strange guy I barely knew from the Internet.

I didn’t make a habit of talking to strange men on the Internet, but the reason I agreed to talk to him that day was because he found out I was trying to publish a book and told me he thought he could help me. And well, those were pretty much the magic words for me.

So we Skyped.

I sat at the island in my parents’ kitchen and told my mom, who was making dinner, I had to have a quick online business meeting. She agreed not to make too much noise.

So we talked for about ten minutes and exchanged stories and he told me how he thought he could help. We agreed to connect again later and I closed the lid to my laptop so I could go help my mom make dinner.

But before I could even get out a pot to begin boiling water, my mom said, “Hey, didn’t you say that was a business meeting?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Why?”

“It didn’t sound like a business meeting,” she said smiling.

Everything inside of me fought what I knew she was saying—that she had seen my interest perk up a little when I was on the phone with him. I don’t like him, I told myself. I don’t want to date him or anyone. I wasn’t ready. This wasn’t the time.

I even believed myself.

If you would have asked me that day, I would have told you I wasn’t interested in dating him and I never would be. In fact, in full-disclosure, at the time I would have told you I was in love with somebody else. But sometimes our hearts want things our heads don’t even know we want.

A little over a month after that conversation, I flew to Minneapolis to meet him.

Four months after that, we were married.

It wasn’t what I thought I wanted. It wasn’t what I would have told you I wanted. But at the same time, something deep inside of me—something I couldn’t quit put my finger on—wanted him, wanted to date him and be married to him, in a way my thoughts couldn’t say.

(Also, let’s be honest—he won me over. He’s pretty smooth like that).

I try to remember this part of my story every time something happens in my life that I don’t think I want. There have been a few things lately, a few instances where I think to myself, “this is now how I would have planned it! This is not what I wanted!”

But I try to remember that some of the best things that have ever happened to me would never have happened if I’d gotten exactly what I wanted at the time.

Sometimes we don’t know what we want.

Sometimes we want things we don’t realize we want.

Sometimes we avoid the things we really want because we’re not sure we’re strong enough to face them, or because we’re afraid of the work it takes to keep them, or because we don’t quite have the clarity to see who we are and where we’re headed just yet.

We’ll see, with time. We’ll get what we want.

10 comments on “Having Faith When You Get What You Don’t Want

  1. Allison! Everything about this piece gave me chills. Just this morning (or was it last night? these days start to run together, oy) I was sharing my heart with God. I had spent the last 18 months praying for something. Recently, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

    Quite honestly, I’m okay with it. I’ve made peace with the prayer remaining unanswered, but in my quiet time I remembered that in God’s own way He has given me the desires of my heart, but it’s always been better than I thought it would look like.

    Thank you for this article. It’s definitely reassuring to know God doesn’t over look our desires, but it’s also up to us to remain open.

    *High five to Darrell for winning your heart over*

  2. This line says it all for me – “Sometimes we avoid the things we really want because we’re not sure we’re strong enough to face them.” That is me 100{9ac618bfda39dd0c8c9a0232963cb9a2adfe54a7367c2d4954ad9e847b2e5305}, I have a fair amount of clarity in the vision of what I want, but what I am seeing seems so… unpractical and just plain purpose-less. So that makes it easier for me to say to myself, “well, it’s not the best idea anyways”. But really what I’m feeling is, “It would take a lot to get to that point – time, work, disappointing others, leaving things behind (including old limiting beliefs about myself and the world), etc. and I’m not sure I can handle all of that…” But I reeeally want to get there… So step #1 – work on my self-doubt and build some faith muscles 🙂

  3. This is a wonderful, insightful piece…and has appeared in my inbox right when I needed it! Thank you Allison.

  4. Insane story! I LOVE insane(ly awesome) stories like this!

    And I LOVE this reminder. So incredibly important to me in this season! Wedding in 2 weeks + business + moving hours away + traveling…and all that little life bits in between…. I’ve totally been a little sour at times that things aren’t going according to a neat little plan. But I have a lot of things like this to look back on to show me a little more faith about it all!

    Thanks so much for the reminder Ally!

  5. I love this for so many reasons. I’ve been reading your blog since before you two met, and I loved hearing how your story unfolded while it was still unfolding. It gives me hope that God is working through heartbreak and broken dreams of the things I thought I wanted.

  6. This is really powerful. It makes me think of Ephesians 3:20 which states that God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

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