When I Don’t Get What I Want

Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems life would be so much better if you had that.

There would be more happiness.
More contentment.
More fulfillment.
More satisfaction.
More peace.

We can envision ourselves with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn’t God give us this longing of our heart?

Because He wants us to willingly release it to Him.


Not the answer we want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He’s certainly able. But when He doesn’t, it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.

It’s easy to get down when we’re constantly let down.

We hope this thing will happen … we’ll meet this right person … we’ll get this job … we’ll finally be healed … we’ll get that chance … we’ll see that family member turn their life around. Time and again it doesn’t happen. That’s when it’s easy to slip.

We can so easily slip into feeling a little distant from God because we feel hurt by God.

That’s what happened when the man I thought I was going to marry told me he met someone else. That’s what happened when I didn’t get the job I was so certain was going to be the answer to all my financial problems. That’s what happened when my son didn’t get into the charter school we were so certain would have been perfect for him.

But, in each of these things, I eventually had to make a choice. I could either be consumed with my unmet longing or trust the plans of our loving God.

As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

Not give up as in a discouraged surrender. But giving up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”

The Scriptures promise He rewards those who honestly seek Him: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Sometimes I get so consumed with seeking my unmet longings, I don’t earnestly seek Him. But then I miss out on His reward. And His reward is the only thing that will fill the void in my heart.

Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.

But not as much today as I did yesterday.

And that is good. Not easy. But good.

Learn more about trusting God’s plan instead of ours with my book, The Best Yes. I’m giving away 5 copies today! To be entered to win, leave a comment below with what unmet longing you’ll be releasing this week.


  1. Vickie Jameson says

    Appreciate your comments. I struggle each day with my husband’s cancer and wanting so much for God to say yes to healing him. Even knowing that no matter the outcome my husband is going to be okay. But the knowing doesn’t make it any easier and giving my husband to Him and trusting is so hard some days. It is a constant testing of my faith.
    Thank you for this post.

  2. B smith says

    You encourage me so much. For a month now I have been praying your prayers out of made to crave devotional. I surrender lord

  3. Loren says

    I am longing for peace and joy and to know my purpose Lately, it just seems like nothing is going as I want it to. My relations, career, finances, and I could go on. I trying really hard to stop and have faith that my God is working it out. But in the mean time I can’t shake the self pity. Just feeling defeated.

  4. says

    I have Tarlov Cyst Disease in my sacral spine. I underwent surgery in January 2010. This was after years of pain that affected most parts of my body (head to toe). By the time I was diagnosed and God lead me to the only neurosurgeon in the U.S. with the expertise and know how to help me, a great deal of nerve damage had already occurred. I suffer with daily pain. The only relief comes from pain meds and sleep. I have just recently found a wonderful physical therapist who trained in Australia and helped me immensely several years ago with an old neck injury. I had lost touch with where he was working now. Praise God! He led me back to him through an Internet search. I have to believe this is God’s hand at work. I am so weary of pain having so much control over my life. At any rate, I am giving this over to God. I have no doubt He has a more perfect plan for my life; however, I know in my heart that OUR time of reference isn’t necessarily God’s. I believe in my heart that there is a reason and a message to be found in my suffering with this. I am resigned to live with my pain if this is God’s answer to many prayers.
    God bless you.

  5. says

    My physical pain. My father, mother, brothers and sisters, and mostly my daughter and her family. I know that God calls us to him. I’ve been praying for them, waiting. I know it’s in His hands. With my own bodily pains, God has healed them. I know this to be true. I must believe it though. Yes, If I walk with the Holy Spirit in me, and am a new creation, then he’s healed me, inside and out.

  6. Crystal says

    I love how God leads me to reading the right things just when I need them. I’m letting go today of the unforgiveness I feel for myself. A very hurtful past that has contributed to the broken relationship between my daughter & myself. I’ve heard Lauren Daigal’s song “How can it be” several times on the radio, but it wasn’t until recently that I really payed attention to the words of that song. It brought me to tears, realizing that when I should have been condemed he was there to make my wrongs right and plead my cause. Today I am going to let go of these feelings. Allowing God to come and heal me, change me & mend the relationship that is broken.

  7. says

    I’m giving up the desire to find the right one. I’ve been a devoted disciple of Jesus for 8 years now. Doing mission work, denying myself, inspiring others and living the hardest life out there yet the most rewarding- being a christian. I figured that with proving my faith trustworthy and myself a reliable servant of Christ… that God would have given me this desire long time ago. But perhaps God sees this desire as becoming an idol. And he strongly dislikes other masters being involved. I’m learning that he has 3 answers- yes, no or not yet. In the moment it seems like a no but perhaps it’s a not yet. But either way I just have to let it go and if it happens it will be a pleasant surprise and if it doesn’t not a bitter disappointment. So amen. Reminding myself to going back to being fully devoted to my only husband.. Christ.

    • Yvette Williams says

      You are right, Yinet-God does not want us to make desires into idols!Thank you for sharing your experience and insight.

  8. Carol Anne says

    Giving up my unmet desire for my daughter to find true Salvation and completely turn her life around for God to have the full glory.

  9. GG says

    I don’t get to my emails as soon as I would like to so that’s why I’m just getting to this today. My “longings” list is quite long. My husband and his relationship with me and God, my young adult children (25, 23, 21) and their relationship with God (most importantly), but my oldest daughter who has had a desire to be married and/or out on her own since she graduated from high school-neither has happened and it doesn’t look like it will any time soon, my middle daughter who has moved out but is sharing a home with her boyfriend of 9 yrs and his sister (we don’t really think he’s the right one for her but that’s not our call and we’ve prayed for them about various things but “no change”, my son and his job situation which I truly believed that God laid out perfectly (partly because all three of my children started their jobs on the 25th day of the month-thought that was a sign) but now he hates his job. MY job/job situation-long story here. I hate it, I’m miserable, It’s awful. We own our own business (25 yrs.) and I work with my in-laws and we are also dealing with some legal issues. Again, long story, too long to explain but I’ve pleaded with God to do something; change me, change my circumstances, change our situation, change my perspective-something-but nothing has changed. Financial problems-personal and business. And I’m sure I could keep going. I want to release these things (longings), and I thought I had but my heart aches.

  10. Catherine says

    I am midstream in my transformation, at least in this latest stage:) God has given me more peace, joy, love as I’ve never known before. (I was born 3days shy of 1961:) which gives everyone a clue as to my age:) Before it was crushing depression, grief, loss and shame….years of autoimmune illness and CFS. Still healing, but learning to pick up the sword…to rejoice and fight. My promise is on the other side. Renew old skills and learn many new, dying to the old and embracing a new life. Oh, how hard the flesh dies. Here’ s to new life:)

  11. Angie S says

    I’m releasing my unmet desire of paying off debt, having peace in my family. I know in ALl things God’s will always is done.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  12. Alyssa says

    My unmet longing is for the life I want in my head versus the life that is currently in front of me. I have a feeling God wants me to surrender to Him and say yes to Him here but I just don’t like it here and am afraid if I say yes I’ll get stuck in this place that doesn’t look anything like the place I want to be… 🙁 Help?

  13. Kay says

    I have struggled long and hard with laying down my desire to manage my husband’s time and priorities. When I’m not doing well in this area it causes so much tension between us and he feels like a failure for not pleasing me. It’s not that I doubt his abilities, but it’s the when and how that I can’t seem to let go.
    Your post today comes at a time when we are in the midst of looking for housing and he is looking for a different job. High stress for both of us! I have been praying for him and trying to resist the temptation to nag him about both changes. You have just confirmed that I need to keep resisting my natural impulses and let the Holy Spirit be my husband’s guide.
    Can’t wait to read your book!

  14. says

    What a great post! Perfect timing for me. I find that it’s when I’m relying on myself that I get easily discouraged and feeling down. the reminder to trust God and His plan and His timing is exactly what I need! Thanks!

  15. Leah says

    This was like an arrow to my heart, thank you. I am releasing my unmet longing to be in a relationship and get married. After a decade of wishing and hurting and pursuing and wondering if God even has marriage for me, I want to let it go.

    I honestly don’t know what the future holds. He may have it or he may not, but I need to be able to say to myself: “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”

  16. Risa says

    I’m leaving several things in God’s hands…restoration for my family, including my adult stepchildren and unsaved siblings…our struggle in selling our current home and purchasing a different one…my son’s diagnosis of autism and adhd…the desire to become a stay-at-home mom to focus on my family…my own spiritual walk and growth in Christ. A favorite song from my childhood says “I put it all in His hands…no matter the burdens, or problems…I know He can solve them. I put it all, yes, I put it all, I put it all in His hands.” Thank you for this timely and much needed post. May God continue to bless your ministry!

  17. Angelica Berthiaume says

    I will be releasing the unmet desire of my mother being proud of the person I have become. I am beautifully and wonderfully made and I seek God every day. I want to grow but I have to grow to be good enough for God and not just my mom.

    • Libby says

      You are “good enough for God” through his son. He sent his son to make all of us “good enough.” The only one who really matters is God because he is the ultimate power. We all long for our parents to accept us for who we are, but sometimes parents don’t want us to be who we are. They may not have ever wanted us. God is the one who really matters when it comes to being wanted. God wants us to continually improve in putting on his character, loving him and loving our neighbor equal to ourselves (not more than, not less than.) With God’s help you will get there.

  18. Julianne says

    This post has perfect timing in my life, I feel so often like the discouraged surrender happens in my life. I’m choosing to joyfully trust the Lord with the sale of our house to purchase my mom’s house. It would be a safer environment for my 3 boys, especially my oldest that has Autism, more space for everyone, and better area or town. I’ve been struggling for 4 years since my son was diagnosed and I feel like everything I have asked of the Lord has not been met. My faith has been challenged and I am weary and frustrated.

  19. Jenn says

    I was reminded of God’s love in an unmet longing over 10 years ago. Long story short, I was down to the final two in an interview for a teaching position at the high school I had gone to. I knew the principal; I was confident; And I didn’t get the position. The other candidate was “more polished” than me. I was devastated! It was all part of God’s amazing love. A few weeks later I was hired at the most coveted high school in the area.

    Today I am reminded that God’s greatness shines brightest in our surrender. After the most stressful school year in my 10 years, I have gained 15lbs. This summer I have been tormenting myself about getting to the gym, eating this and not that, throwing tantrums when I go to put on my previously cute outfits only to find they’re way too tight . . . Today I surrender! God has me where I need to be. Enjoy life. Listen to his voice. And watch His LOVE unfold 🙂

  20. Ann M says

    Thank you for this Lysa. My unmet longing is for a job I applied for. I have a toddler and a 4 month old baby and I have been praying for this job since the salary, the schedule and the benefits seem perfect and fit for me and what I want for my children. I will be letting God take over this unmet longing as hard as it is on me.

    Thank you again. 🙂

  21. Lori says

    My longing to adopt from China. I have been talking to my husband for over 10 years about adopting–it is not on his heart. Accept that it might not be God’s plan for our family, stop longing and feeling sad.

  22. YDR says

    I will be letting go of all the fear and insecurities which hold me back in every aspect of my life. I will trust God and myself!

  23. Jessica Hauf says

    My husband and all his strongholds…especially alcohol and demonic influences (by choice). Also my overwhelming fear for our 5 young children who are all home and feeling rejected.

  24. Janel says

    I’m releasing wanting my husband to get a job that would provide us with more financial security and stability. Also, waiting for an open door into ministry and better living situation.

  25. Sara says

    The unmet need I am releasing today is a place to live. We have to move by the end of this month and we have been (unsuccessfully) searching and praying for a place to live… I know God will provide for this need in his perfect timing!
    Also I have such a desire to homeschool my children but am unable at this time due to financial and other family reasons. I pray God provides comfort during this time for me. And hopefully the ability to be able to do this in the future!

  26. Mary M. says

    I miss my beloved husband who died many years ago, but I give thanks for the time we had together. I pray for my children and their spouses every day. One of these is under the care of Hospice and I pray for the end of their pain and suffering.

    • Stacey Leach says

      My Son and daughter are addicted to drugs. My Husband is dieing he has infusions once a week. My husband gets very angry. very verbally abusive.

  27. Kelly says

    I don’t know how you do it, but when I need your posts to touch me the most they do. I’m chin deep in this struggle of trying to control a situation and get the outcome I want. I desperatly needed the reminder that it’s not for me to control. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for saving me today. #learningtounmother, #deepbreaths, #onedayatatime

  28. Michele Jones says

    My son Jared is 21 years old. His father left us when Jared was 11 years old. Jared has struggled with depression and rejection and feeling inadequate. He says that he is agnostic. I hurt and pray every day and sometimes throughout the day. I beg God to open Jared’s heart to see and hear and believe the truth that he is fully loved by an awesome God. I pray for him to believe in Jesus. This desire I have can consume me at times. I am choosing today to give this over to Jesus. I release it to him now! Thank you Lyssa

  29. says

    In the past month, 3 job opportunities presented themselves to me completely out of the blue. All were in the field of adoption, the field I have been longing to get into for years. I applied for each opportunity and prayed that Gid would open the door that would be best. Within the past week, one position was filled internally, another was decided by the board not to be filled and the 3rd closed without further consideration. I have felt discouraged and questioning God’s reasoning for all of these and the timing. I am struggling to learn how to be free to hope for things while not putting my hope IN them. Thank you for this reminder and I am choosing to place my desire for a job in this field, my desire for a husband and family in His loving hands.

  30. Elaine says

    It is funny how we wait and wonder and then are surprised when God answers. I have been praying for my son to come backvto his relationship with God and the first time I knew he was truly back, he sent me to his church’s site to watch 4 videos. After watching the first 10 or 15 minutes I texted him 4 ahas. It was such a joy. Now he is playing drums for praise andbworship when the regular drummer is out. God is good all the time amen

  31. says

    So many unmet longings that I try so hard to hold onto but can’t. A few would be my financial burdens, my irresponsibility, my husbands’ faith and trust with God and not going to church with me.

  32. says

    Returning to college, my head and heart have been muddled with worries about money, the future, classwork, my relationship, friends, my attitude, and so forth. Every little thing becomes an ordeal and I easily get so worked up, causing myself to forget that God has me. A recent Jesus Calling devo spoke about putting all of those worries to bed by trusting in Jesus and his mighty power. Those problems seem like everything now, but in comparison to the the plan I know he has for me, they truly are nothing to worry about. I give those worries to him today.

  33. Lisa says

    This is such a great reminder. I really needed this. I have an adult daughter who has walked away from God. This is not something that has happened recently, it has been going on for quite a few years now. I pray earnestly for her eyes to open to her need for Jesus in her life yet she holds him an arms length and digs her heals in. Recently she broke up with this man (not a believer) who she has been living with. I hoped that maybe this would help her realize that is not the life she was created for. Nope, she still chooses to turn to other things to help her cope or help her feel better. I have to admit I feel discouraged at times. I long for her to choose to follow Jesus. She was raised in a home where she was shown and taught to love God. Sometimes my heart just aches for her! Each day I have to physically lift my arms and hand her back to Jesus. This is where she needs to be anyway.

  34. Ann says

    It is so hard to trust God when I have prayed for what I want, conversion forgiveness and healing for my family members. I must trust God knows what he is doing on waiting for answered prayers. I must turn it all over to him in faith.

  35. Michelle says

    I am waiting for a potential job offer either today or tomorrow. I truly believe that God will present the perfect opportunity when the time is right. But I am human and pray that this nursing position is God’s will for me and my family. I really, really, really want to work in that department. now.

  36. Melissa says

    I had a recent “break-up” that I am currently dealing with. Long story but this is the same man I almost married 27 years ago. I have loved him….truly loved him for many years. I can’t explain my excitement to finally have him back in my life after all these years but more importantly….to have him back in church & getting his life back on track. I really felt as if God “gave him back” to me. Hmmmm…..Just realized as I typed that last line that he was never mine to have…..He’s God’s son…he belongs to God….for his glory! I am saddened to have him leave my life again but continue to keep my eyes on the “real” prize…..God’s purpose for my life. I know that he is still in control & no matter what……I will serve him!!!!!!! I release my love into his arms & trust God’s plan is far better than I can even conceive. Can’t wait to see what God has in store….I keep telling myself that I am “fearfully & wonderfully made”!!! The tears will end & my heart will mend as my knees continue to bend in his prescence! God Bless!!!!

  37. says

    I am releasing all my unmet needs today generationally, spiritually, physically, in my soul — my mind, will and emotions and in all my desires, heart longings and disappointments and ask Jesus fill the void in my heart as I trust in you today by faith in Jesus name. All things are possible with you. Amen

  38. michelle says

    I have have an unmet longing to make peace with the scale. I’ve let that number dominate my thinking for 38 years. i’m releasing this obsession today.

  39. Elizabeth Corey says

    To find a job and move to Houston. I now want to end up where God wants me, with the job he wants me to have!

  40. Jesica says

    I have found myself reading and re-reading this particular post/blog over and over again. It came to me on a day that was particularly hard for me. Long story short, like you, Lysa, the man I thought I was going to marry walked out on me (not because he found someone else, but the pain isn’t any less). To say the least, I have never gone through anything so difficult or painful in my life (and I have been through some very tough times). Its been extremely hard to just let it all go and completely give it all up to God, but I keep turning to your post to remind myself that I need to do so.

  41. says

    I love what you shared today as it impacted me personally. My heart agrees with every word written because I remember the days I sought the longings in my soul, more than I sought the lover of my soul. God spoke to me one day as I was ranting about the thing I wanted. I said “I want…” He replied; “I WANT YOU!” I was stunned, but now surprised. I was focusing on my want rather than resting in God’s Will and timing. I would be lying if I said I still do not desire the thing I asked for, but now I rejoice in knowing God’s plan is greater than mine, and when He deems it so, it will be. Thank you Lysa!

  42. Lauren says

    I know the Holy Spirit allowed me to “stumble” upon this precious post today! We just found out we’re having a second boy join our family this January, and I have been wrestling with feelings of disappointment. Today I was reminded to relinquish my desire for a daughter into the hands of my Heavenly Father. I know He can transform this barren place of unfulfillment into a sacred space of joy if I will trust His heart and let Him have His way in my life.

  43. Mom2em&coop says

    I struggle with financial instability. I try to lay it at the feet of Jesus but then always seem to pick the burden back up.

  44. Cynthia Solis says

    I would like to release the struggle of being financially challenged. All my adult life has been that a struggle as,a single mama. I am a very hard worker and do not shy from working to make the money to make ends meet, but I’m tired. Lord through you, everything is possible, your known my hearth aND my needs, i trust in you.

  45. Maryann Scopaz says

    Just like one of the previous posts, I struggle to let go of the life I want that is in head vs. the life in front of me. so many unmet desires and so many longings of my heart.

  46. Yvette Williams says

    Thank you’Lysa, for discussing the subject of unmet desires. I was reminded of Proverbs 8:11 which mentions all the things we desire can not be compared with wisdom. Perhaps it is the lack of wisdom about our desires that leaves us feeling empty?