Can you imagine what it would be like if all your prayers were answered? For those who don’t pray, how about if all your wishes came true? Sounds good, doesn’t it? however, if you stop and really think about everything you’ve ever wished for, yearned for, prayed for, would that really be a good thing?
I was mulling over the various things I’d prayed long and hard for over the years. On the bright side, answered prayers would mean I’d be completely healthy, wealthy, and wise. I would have energy, and I would be able to cope with anything, and get things done. So far so good.
However, I would be in a relationship with a narcissistic jerk (but I thought I was in looovvve!!!) Two members of my immediate family would be dead, not to mention sundry acquaintances (it’s amazing how fervently you can wish for that kind of thing when you’re angry.) Not to mention I’d be famous (is that so bad? I’ll get back to that.)
What we pray for at one stage of our life we won’t want later. Human beings are ruled by our emotions, and we want all sorts of stuff based on emotion and immaturity. The child you wants to play, so please God I don’t want to go to school. The teenage you is so sure that you will love certain people forever! Please God bring him/her back! The adult you may realise that education was necessary and the love interest was an idiot, but injury and anger can still have you wishing ill on those who hurt you. When your anger wanes, you understand that you might be furious, but you don’t really want any person to come to harm. However, we continue to long for validation at any and every age.
On the third point, I think we are very influenced by our environment regarding the need for approval. When you’re young you think the only people worth anything are the popular people, the outgoing people, the ‘life of the party’ people. That’s what you aspire to. It took me years to work out that my introversion was not a crime, or an aberration, but a perfectly normal and acceptable part of me.
I wanted to be a famous actress when I was young. I enjoyed acting, and I did some amateur theatre. Now I think of what famous people go through, with all the scrutiny and fickle cruelty of the media and the fans, and I shudder. It must be hideous to feel that you can’t go out in public without being perfect, and to be fearful that even in private someone may be peeking, looking. Can you imagine eyes always on you? Some people seem to thrive on attention, but I have never been one of those people.
I suppose if there’s a moral to all this, it is that what you think you want is not always what you need. You need to trust God (or the universe, or chance) that those desires that don’t turn out for the best will not be fulfilled. This can be confusing when you are longing for something that you can’t see would be a bad thing (better health, in my case). I try to trust (and I struggle with this) that there is a reason for everything and God knows what He is doing.