Many Christians have been blessed with a godly marriage once they stopped trying to find a spouse. Many people found their dream job once they decided to just be content at their current place of employment. And many people actually got back together with their ex that they still loved once they decided they had to let this person go.
Is this what God is telling you to do? Does he want you to let a desire go and then he will give it to you? Maybe, or maybe not. I don’t believe giving up a desire is always the way to receive this blessing from God. But sometimes it is needed.
So in this article, we’re going to talk about 4 situations where you have a much better chance of receiving a particular blessing from God once you stop trying so hard to get it. But before we do, let’s first clarify that God doesn’t always work in this way.
You Don’t Always Have to First Let Go of Something to Then Get It
God isn’t going to be fooled by reverse psychology. I’m definitely not saying that we need to trick God because he only gives us the opposite of what we want. Many people have this unbiblical belief that our desires are always the opposite of God’s desires. Therefore, when we want something, we assume God doesn’t want that for us. Thus, to get what we want, we need to want the opposite of what we want – so this logic goes.
This is nonsense. Throughout the Bible, we see God often giving people the desires he wants to fulfill in them (1 Peter 4:10-11, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 36). God put it on Peter’s heart to serve the Jews (Galatians 2:8), on Paul’s heart to serve the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8), on Titus’ heart to serve the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:16), and he led Apollos not to visit the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:12). And then God let each of these men do what they desired.
Sometimes God just gives you a desire, tells you to pursue it, and then blesses your efforts with exactly what you want. So don’t legalistically think the only way to get what you desire is to not want it.
With that said, there are times you do need to first sacrifice this desire before God will give it to you.
1. When You Think This Blessing Is the Source of True Joy, God Will Often Only Give It to You Once You Stop Wanting It So Bad
God loves us too much to bless us with an idol. You can always know what you truly worship by examining what sits on the throne of your desires. Whatever you believe has the power to give you the highest joy, that is what you are worshiping.
Thus, in love, God will oftentimes withhold good gifts from us until we first embrace that God himself is the ultimate gift we crave. For example, Psalm 16:2 states, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” But now notice what David said in the very next verse, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).
At first glance, this seems contradictory. First he says God is the source of all the good in his life, but then he instantly talks about how much joy other people bring him. What David was really saying here is that until he first was fully satisfied in God, only then could he enjoy other blessings too. When he said “I have no good apart from you” it means we can’t enjoy other blessings properly until God is filling our hearts fully. But when we are full of joy through Christ, then we are able to enjoy other blessings as God intended.
So one reason God often waits to give you what you want until you don’t want it so bad is because he knows if he did give it to you when you thought it could make you totally happy, you would ruin that blessing and be unable to enjoy it anyways.
2. When You Stop Trying So Hard to Get What You Want, It Causes You Let Go of Your Expectations that Oftentimes Are Holding You Back
Expectations are often limiting beliefs in camouflage. For example:
- If you expect to meet your future spouse at church, you may be limiting yourself from meeting your future spouse through online dating.
- If you expect to stay at your current place of employment forever and work your way up that corporate ladder, you may be limiting yourself from the career advancement God wants to give you by leading you to switch companies.
- If you believe your current boyfriend or girlfriend is the one even though there are numerous red flags stating otherwise, you may be limiting yourself from finding the person god actually wants you to marry one day.
Therefore, when we let go of what we want, we are also letting go of the expectations we had about how God would give us this blessing. Sometimes we get what we want after we gave up wanting it not because we were idolizing that blessing but rather because we were limiting ourselves in “how” God wanted to give it to us.
You should pray for what you want, but you don’t get to demand how God wants to give you that blessing. Ask God for what you desire, but leave the “how” to him. Be open to receiving that blessing in a way you did not expect (Ephesians 3:20-21).
3. When You Let Go of What You Want, It Allows You to Take New Roads in Life Which Often Lead to Where You Really Want to Be
When we let go of the things we want, we often start living our lives differently, which often leads us down new roads that bring new opportunities into our lives. For example:
- When you stop looking for a spouse at church, perhaps you start spending more time serving in a ministry outside of your church. Perhaps there you meet someone new.
- When you give up trying to be promoted at your current job, perhaps you start spending more of your energy on your hobbies. And perhaps one of these hobbies actually opens up a much more satisfying career door for you.
- Or perhaps once you stop trying to marry your boyfriend of girlfriend who doesn’t seem to want to marry you, they then feel less pressure from you and actually want to marry you too.
Is not this what happened with Jesus himself? For example, in Luke 24, two followers of Christ were depressed because Jesus had died. So they found themselves on the Emmaus Road. On this road they did not expect to be on, Jesus met with them. They expected Jesus to be the Messiah, but they thought he would save them through military conquest or through earthly means (Luke 24:21). Only when they let go of their former expectations did they then realize Jesus was their savior through his cross and resurrection (Luke 24:25-27). But if they kept trying to make Jesus into something he wasn’t, they would have missed the gift of salvation that he did want to give them.
Likewise, sometimes you need to give up on what you thought you wanted so God can fulfill that desire you have in a way that you did not expect and in a way that is even better. By letting go of our desires, it leads us down new roads in life which often lead us to the very thing we thought we would never get.
Of course we have no idea what might happen if you give up your expectations and start living differently. Perhaps you never get that one thing you really want. But sometimes, God does want to give you that blessing but he’s going to give it to you in a way that you did not expect.
4. Sometimes We Need to Pass the Test Before Getting the Gift
People often get mad when I say that God tests us. They say, “God never tests us!” But I’m not the one saying this. The Bible says this. For example, once Abraham finally received the son he desired, Genesis 22:1 then states, “After these things God tested Abraham . . . .”
You know the story. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and only after Abraham showed that he was going to obey God did God then tell him not to do it. Genesis 22:12-13 states:
[God] said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.”
Likewise, sometimes God will only give us what we desire once we are able to pass the test of obedience (James 1:12, James 1:25).
But how will you know when God is testing you? Here’s an article called 3 Signs God Is Testing You.