We want what we want, but the important question is, are we willing to let go of our desires when the circumstances require it?
I currently own four pairs of Vibram Five Fingers shoes
thanks to Zullily's sales
. Yeah, Vibrams are the shoes with toes. Many years ago, I walked into my chiropractor's office
and the staff was wearing and talking about these shoes. I was intrigued so in the following trip to visit my mother-in-law in Florida, I decided to buy my first pair of these odd minimal shoes and a pair of black toe socks to go with them.
Now, I only wear this unusual pair of toe shoes, even when I wear a suit. While I came to value wearing them, they were quite expensive at over a hundred dollars per pair. Thankfully, I quickly came to discover a store nearby (Sun & Ski) that would sell them on clearance once per year. All of their stores in the area would send any leftover shoes at the end of the retail seasons and they'd have a flash sale for a few weeks. For a few years, this was how I was able to purchase them at 40-50% off the retail price.
In 2013, we decided to take a sabbatical year in the final year of our owning our marketing company
(before we knew we would end up shutting it down
). As a result of this year of rest and release, our income became sporadic and unreliable. We had to cut back all of our expenses, sell things, and trust God to provide for us during this year. Unfortunately, my pair of toes shoes wore out during the Sabbath year
and I had to replace them. In our financial state, there was no way we could afford the full price of these shoes.
I had worn these toe shoes exclusively since I bought my first pair and I didn't want to go back to normal sneakers. With a hope and prayer, we drove to this store wishing we could find one. On the drive over, I prayed to God. Lord, I want these pair of shoes to be there and on sale, but if they're not I will purchase a normal pair of inexpensive shoes. As much as they became a part of who I was and my love for wearing them, I let them go and asked God to provide a way.
To you, this may seem like a silly or pointless prayer, but to me, it was super important since God cares about us and what we care about. I didn't hold back in expressing this to my heavenly father. I was hoping he would provide, but I was completely content not getting what I wanted.
So, we arrived at Sun & Ski
and after foraging in the clearance section, there was a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers. In fact, they were in the size I needed at the highest discount they ever gave, sixty percent off. Gratefulness filled my soul as I was so happy to get something I didn't expect to happen. And while you may think it was simply a coincidence that one pair of these specific shoes were available for me to buy, I've experienced enough of these moments that however God orchestrates it, he makes it happen quite often to those who ask and obey. And, if it was simply a coincidence, it was still a meaningful moment for me.
The Contrast Between Not-Having & Having
There is something about the contrast of a hopeful heart to an entitled expectation. If I had expected God to make this happen and not been willing to let it go, it would not have been as personal and meaningful to me when He did provide.
When we moved into a rental before buying the house we're currently in, our refrigerator had a water dispenser that was painfully slow due to the water line pressure. Unfortunately, it was not something easily fixed and the landlord was not willing to correct it. But, we were willing to use it as is. It meant filling up a cup of water could take an entire minute instead of ten seconds. We accepted it and used it. We also had to go without a microwave in that house and learn how to make nachos in the oven (which by the way, are heavenly). When we moved into our current house with a functioning water dispenser and microwave I appreciated them so much more than I ever would have if I had not gone without them for a season.
In a similar vein, this is true with my current car. I've got a 2003 Hyundai Elantra with 230k miles. It's fourteen years old and I've owned it since 2003. It's been a terrific car, and we could go out and buy another newer, fancier, more reliable vehicle but we don't want to jump into more debt so we've chosen to drive it as long as it lasts. I pray it'll last another three years which will give us enough time to pay off all of our debts except the house and give us time to save up for a replacement. When that time eventually happens, I'm going to appreciate this vehicle because I'll have gone without it for such an extended period of time.
Ultimately, there are two principles I've garnered from these stories. First, I must be willing to let go of my desires when appropriate and trust God to provide for me when I can't do so on my own. The lesson here is learning to live in seasons where we don't get what we want or we get a lesser version so that when we are blessed with the end result, we can appreciate and value it.
What about you? Are you okay not getting what you want? Are you willing to accept a season without so you can better appreciate a season with?