Thursday, March 20, 2014

When God Doesn't Pick You

While I knew moving to Colorado was the resulting answer to our prayers, I still felt a bit miffed that (from my perspective) God had chosen to give my husband the desires of his heart, rather than giving me the desires of mine. I acknowledged that because our desires were different, God couldn't very well give us both what we wanted (or so I thought at the time), but I still didn't like the outcome.

As I stewed about God "choosing" Devin over me, a poisonous shift happened in my mind.

I allowed my wants (or "desires" if I'm trying to sound spiritual and not spoiled rotten) to morph into a need - and entitlement settled it's fat rump smack dab in the center of my heart. My prayers were no longer a petition of, "God, could you please maybe give me the desires of my heart?" but rather, "God, how could you be so cruel and withhold something I need?"

I wasn't just "a bit miffed" about the move anymore, I was angry with God and jealous of my husband. God had uprooted our life to give Devin want he wanted, and had ignored my needs. (Naturally, I had only converted my wants into needs, while Devin's wants conveniently remained petty wants.)

Even when I started to enjoy my new life in Colorado, this attitude shadowed my walk with God. And it got darker the more I held on to it - becoming a fearful, sinister accusation of, "God chose Devin over you. You don't matter enough to Him." It was a horrible place to be and caused me to keep God at arms length. Even when He was the only One I felt I could share my emotions with, my prayers were full of confusion, distrust, and often bitterness.

So when Devin announced at the end of last year that he wanted to move back to Arizona (and was actually excited about the idea), I was skeptical. Part of my suspicion in the ernest of his declaration was due to the fact that this man whom I knew and loved had told me from our earliest acquaintance that he absolutely never wanted to live in Arizona. But much of my avoidance in even discussing the topic stemmed from the fact that I didn't trust God. Since I had convinced myself that God didn't care about my needs, the prospect of moving back to Arizona didn't line up.

I'm starting to see now that while it appeared God was giving Devin's desires priority over mine, God was actually allowing both of our desires to be met. When the possibility of moving to Colorado was first seriously discussed, we prayed God would align our hearts on where we should live. Our desires were at odds, our reasons for staying-or-going weren't compatible, and we knew God was going to have to change our hearts so we could start guiding our family in some kind of direction. (It's difficult to settle on a job, or buy  a house, or invest in community or ministry, when "but what if we move?" is constantly on the table.)

This impasse would have likely continued to debilitate us had God not clearly told us to go to Colorado (or rather told me specifically, "Go with your husband"). Through our move Devin was finally able to experience the city he always dreamed of living in (and we ending up having a lot of fun discovering said city). We were provided many opportunities for growth personally, professionally, and in our marriage and family life. And at the end of it all, God chose both of our desires.

I never expected that this was the round-about path we'd have to take to align our hearts in this area. And I assumed it would be my heart that would need to be changed in regards to where we'd live. Ironically, by the time Devin made his declaration, I felt like my heart was starting to change and that I could actually like living in Colorado permanently. Perhaps this is why I felt so confused when we moved back home (and I still do at times when my heart misses our friends and our life in Colorado).

I know this isn't how God always works. There are a lot of times when a want-turned-need isn't what is best for us. Or when it feels like God is ignoring a need when really, He can just see a bigger picture. Sometimes, this life is unjust and though God walks beside us, we still get caught the the crossfire of this messed up world. And sometimes, our desires don't get met because they are not aligned with what God desires for us.

I didn't love moving three times in one year. I hated the homesickness. It would have been much easier had God changed Devin's heart before we moved from Arizona to Colorado and back again, or if had He made me really excited to move to Colorado in the first place. But He saw a bigger picture - ways my heart also needed to be changed (that wouldn't have happened had we stayed in Arizona), ways we needed to grow as a married couple and as a family unit, and ways we needed to experience community at a level we never did during our years in Arizona.

I'm learning so much through this process and can see now that God was never choosing Devin over me, or vice-versa. He was moving us both through the challenges, joys, and pains we needed at the time. It just looked different for each of us. And frankly, I listened to lies when I thought God didn't care. When I look back at the intricacies He wove through this last year, I would be blind and stupidly selfish not to gratefully acknowledge that He did in fact care, and had a purpose all along. 

Honestly, there are still residual doubts and struggles I'm working through as a result of my "God doesn't care" mentally, but I can at least see now that there was a purpose in all that happened through this move (some of which is still to be discovered). And this assures me that God does in fact care. I matter enough to Him.

If you are feeling like God hasn't "picked" you - please, please don't let bitterness and anger set in. He's got something in the works for all who love Him and it will be for a better purpose than the one you can see now, because it will be for His purpose. "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). It might be painful and take a really long time, but if you listen to the lie that God doesn't care about you, the journey will be horribly lonely and so much harder.

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