You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I wrote this on April 28th and did not publish it because the negative emotions were too real. Now that I have “gotten what I need” and that involves having less time for blogging, it seems fitting to post.

I didn’t get what I wanted today. I knew that it was most likely that I wouldn’t get what I wanted. God and I have had an understanding for a very long time: I may never get what I want, but eventually, I might just get to be holy… and along the way I might be really happy to have things a husband1 that I never wanted.

But every so often I start thinking that I shouldn’t be so cynical. I should give God the chance to give me what I want. And so in addition to praying along with the Church as a whole, praying for my friends’ requests, and whatever other oh-I’m-so-holy-I-don’t-care-enough-to-doubt prayers I happen to have that day, I ask for something specific that I want. In this case I’ve been asking daily for over a month. And today it became clear that it really is not going to happen.

And suddenly I am 15 again. I can’t have what I want? Well then, I’ll just work harder. I will be perfect in every single area of my life, in every way that I can control, and then maybe I will eventually get what I want. Wait. You don’t see what this has to do with being a 15-year-old?

My parents didn’t exactly have the time or energy to figure out how to┬ádiscipline┬áme as a teen. So if I spoke to my father in a less than respectful tone he would quickly respond with the best punishment he knew: forbidding me to go to the library or something similar. I would be furious inside that I was not allowed to go to the library because I was misunderstood. A series of such incidents would lead to a breaking point and after a brief emotional meltdown in private I would resolve to be perfect. Not because I wanted to please my parents, but because perfection was the only thing that I could think of wanting. So I would clean and reorganize my room, start getting up early in the morning, stop eating, go for a run, and try to get ahead with schoolwork.

It is obvious to me now that that poor girl needed some counseling. After all, who responds to stupidly unjust punishments as a teen by seeking perfection? But she is still me.

And this evening I found myself wanting to go for a long run, despite the fact that I had already run earlier in the day. Because being in shape is part of being perfect, and if I can’t get what I want, then I can at least be what I want to be, right? And who would want to be anything other than perfect? It did not matter that I did not need to run, and that being in shape had absolutely nothing to do with what I wanted and could not have.

In weak moments, do you ever find that you are still a teenager? How do you respond to not getting what you really, really want?

1. Silly me. Every few weeks I am amazed at how wonderful Josh is and wonder why on earth I didn’t always want to get married! Thank goodness Josh was up for convincing me that I really did want to get married, even though I wasn’t aware of it.

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3 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. Jaime

    Ugh…so real, hard, true. It’s a hard balance though…between seeking perfection in holiness and dying to self when one doesn’t get what they want, and seeking perfection because it makes one feel more in control in some way when you have been in a situation where you don’t have control…this is my struggle.

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