mylifeplanb

What I Thought I Wanted, What I Got Instead

After walking away from my career and spending months trying to figure out what was happening in my life, I finally got hired and started a new job 7 weeks ago.  I’m thankful to have this job, but I applied and interviewed for jobs that made MUCH more sense to me, but I did not get them.  What I have now is NOT the job I hoped for, but it is the job that hired me.  It was NOT what I wanted, but it is what I got instead.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

The past 7 weeks have been a bit of a blur and a series of one hard lesson after another.  On almost a daily basis I come face to face with the deep-seeded entitlement that has been wedged in my heart for years.

Entitlement… It’s “what I deserve”.

Lately I’ve been trying to dig deeper into why my heart has struggled so much through all this.  The truth is, I know exactly why: deep in my heart I think I’m better, think I deserve better and think I’ve earned the right to not have to work this kind of job at this point in my life. I’ve “been there” and “done that”.  How’s that for honesty?

The idolatry of what we think we deserve is a thief, robbing us of perspective and truth in the moments God uses to deepen our lives.

There have been moments over the past few weeks when I’ve had brief glimpses of revelation and lucidity (bonus points for use of “lucidity”), but for the most part I remain clueless about where my life is headed right now.  Some days I find myself being able to embrace the uncertainty of this season better than others, and some days my heart feels like it is in an absolute free fall. There are days when my heart is full of fear, simply because it is more prone to reach for ANYTHING other than God as an anchor and source of hope and security.

The other day I was hanging out with my friend Wes, who has quickly become a close friend of mine.  I was sharing (er, venting) with him about how I felt about what all is happening right now, and I said (in frustration), “THIS just isn’t where my life is right now!” As if to say, “at THIS point in my life I should have THIS job with THIS income, THIS life…”  Wes’ reply? “But Grant, this IS where your life is right now.”

……….

Reality check.

He was right. Regardless of how I feel about where I should or shouldn’t be at this point in my life, and regardless of the expectations I have formed in my own heart about where I feel I’m entitled to be at this point, you know what?  This is exactly where my life is right now, and being frustrated, stubborn and ungrateful isn’t going to change that.

Sara Groves has a song called “What I Thought I Wanted” that beautifully underscores the heart of Proverbs 19:21.

Sara Groves - What I Thought I Wanted

I love the lyric where she says:

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful

I am learning A LOT about my heart right now. I am learning things about myself that I don’t know if I would have ever learned had the bottom not fallen out.

I thought I wanted a job… but instead I am getting character
I thought I wanted a check… but instead I am getting change
I thought I wanted my story… but instead I am getting His

I often wonder if I would have had the opportunity to see this deeply into my heart had I gotten what I wanted.  But I didn’t, and here we are. It is painful, but it is purposeful. Though the bleeding persists, I am grateful for the wound.

So, what I thought I wanted, and what I got instead leaves me broken and grateful.

Are you grateful for what you got “instead”?


Related Posts

Grant JenkinsWhat I Thought I Wanted, What I Got Instead
73 comments
AndreaHaro
AndreaHaro

Wow! I'm speechless. This truly speaks to where I am in life right now. <3 thank you

JamieReavis
JamieReavis

This is good. It's funny how some people battle with a sense of entitlement and others battle with a sense of unworthiness, being grateful for what that have, but not accepting the promises of God because of the shame of their past. Two opposite ends but the journey is still the same. God will put you in place that you never expected so that He can show you the truth... and the same scripture still applies. What is even more complex is that I went through both the entitlement and unworthiness. I thank God for change.

I know what I thought and insisted I wanted.......... AND I AM EXCITED ABOUT WHAT I GOT INSTEAD!!! because it changed my life.

Shelley
Shelley

I really enjoyed reading your post. It has definitely spoken to me and I am thankful I found it (and thankful you wrote it). Have bookmarked you and will be back again
My recent post Pete's Awesome Article

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

now that i've directed quite a few people from my world to your blog, i've found myself more hesitant to comment. weird huh.
this week i was tempted to go back to what i thought i wanted... big time. i made it through the itch without scratching and ended up celebrating the "what I got instead" part. but it was tough. really tough. and my celebration was half-assed until 3/4 of the way in. because it hit me... i may have lost what i thought i wanted, but the truth is "what i get instead" is still in development and by the grace of God it continues to grow and develop. I don't know if i even make sense. all i know is that i found contentment with a picture that is very different than what i had hoped for and i have found it evolving daily. possibilities seem a lot more exciting than compromises;)
My recent post interview with a covert conspirator…

@eleroo34
@eleroo34

Thank you for being so honest and open Grant. I am slowly learning job titles and bank accounts/things are not what are important in this life but instead it is relationships with people. But when we live in a nation that values these things it makes it difficult to accept that riches are not the tangible items in our lives.
My recent post Live Is A Vapor

swodeck
swodeck

wow . this opened up some unhealed wounds. about 9 months ago, i was "let go" from a staff position at the church we attended for almost 8 years. i was like...WTF. i've been around the block and had no desire to work at sbux or some other "starter" job. I got a family.

once i got over myself and moved on, i was set for new opportunities. never did find a job, just started a company with my brother and a couple other guys. it was scary as %$&^%$!

one thing i realized...it's not about achieving some ridiculous goal...it's about the journey. i began to just enjoy and appreciate the journey.

grant, thanks for being open. you are the man.
My recent post When and how to ‘friend’ your new bud online

@qblozano
@qblozano

Powerful blog man. I found myself in the same situation a few years ago, but could have never put it into words as expressly as you have. Thanks for sharing.

taylorphillips
taylorphillips

beautiful. thank you, thank you for being honest & raw about your journey so far. as i'm gearing up to graduate college next may & am evaluating where i am as opposed to where i expected/wanted to be, i will keep these words close by to remind me to be grateful for my "instead". :)
My recent post in spirit and in truth.

Leesha
Leesha

Thanx so much for this, Grant! There are days when I question why I am where I am in life...like earlier today...thank you for this perspective. I forget sometimes that God has to teach me certain things in a certain way in order to get the desired response...

Becky Miller
Becky Miller

I think I know what broken and faithful looks like. It is a daily struggle to achieve the balance.

@sabrina_lewis
@sabrina_lewis

Wow. Seriously, wow. This whole process started for me in high school when I thought I wanted (more than anything) to go to the Naval Academy... instead, I got accepted and ended up going to Clemson (where I did NOT want to go). But, as it turns out, God knew what He was doing. I thought I wanted to major in Mechanical Engineering, but what I got instead was a degree in French. I mean, really? Yes, really. And there is a super long list that I could continue with... But just those two things alone, Clemson and French, have taken me down a path that I never would have dreamed of and it's been an incredible journey. Because it's one that God mapped out. Love this post. Love this perspective. Love the God that's guiding this crazy adventure called life.

Lew
Lew

Really enjoying your blog G (is it really accurate to call it a "blog" at this point...seems like a different term is needed here) and this post in particular. Making me think about where I am and where I thought I would be. I'm not, ahem, the world's most introspective person so I really appreciate your insights and observations as a checkpoint to think about my journey.

Ani
Ani

I'm back because I heard a song and thought maybe an encouragement to you too? It's "While I'm waiting" by John Waller. Maybe you know it already. Bye.

Amy
Amy

Grant, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. You have such a wonderful way with words and I love that I can almost always completely relate to the things you write about. I must say this post is particularly thought-provoking.
In answer to your question: Are you grateful for what you got instead?...
I could write a book in response to this question, but the short answer is YES.
I wanted {and idolized the idea of} a perfect marriage. What I got instead was a HARD marriage that has brought me blessings I never imagined. It's taught me lessons and discplines that a "perfect" marriage never could.
A hard marriage has forced me to develop a stronger, more consistent prayer life. It has exposed my selfishness. It has taught me patience and how to love like Christ. When my husband and I choose to work through our differences by seeking direction from God INSTEAD of giving up and walking out, we are giving others hope for their own hard marriages. The list goes on and on :)

Jan Owen
Jan Owen

i can so relate. sounds like we are in similar places. and some days it's wonderful and some days i feel like i've lost my way entirely and am wandering around on some deserted road in the middle of nowhere. both feelings are reality........

everyday it's a choice. what do i embrace? and everyday i fail at embracing the right thing.......

God help me grow up to be like you!

Thelma Bowlen
Thelma Bowlen

I understand this season. I was a housekeeper and then a concierge in Florida and extremely miserable. I kept thinking: "I had a friggin' morning show! Now I'm cleaning toilets?!" A pastor friend of mine gently reminded me after I used the analogy that I was in Egypt and wandering through the desert, that Egypt actually resides in our hearts and we constantly need to drive it out of us.

What I got out of that time? My forgotten reminder that God owes me absolutely nothing.

Flash forward to today, He not only gave me my dream job, but so much more than I ever dreamed of.

This season of yours is a story just waiting to happen! Can't wait for the next chapter.

My recent post Last weekend, last year. . .

Ani
Ani

Ha! Eventually yes, but at the time I wasn't. I've been there. Worked at a place and branch I didn't want to. But He kept telling me to serve there. It was the hardest time I've experienced but I can say now it was worth it. Not only for me but also for my non-believing colleagues who saw a bit of Jesus. There was darkness and filth, I disgusted really I wanted to run away, but He showed me last year His light was shining there. My former colleagues are changed. One of them even accepted Jesus and two of them are asking questions. I've left the company. God made me stay and trust in Him while the projects stopped and they had to fire me and pay me a big amount of money. Now I'm again "waiting" for Him to move. I'm looking for a job but no luck so far. I don't know what He is in plan for me but I know everything He does has a reason. Also these days are for a reason. There are people in the Bible who had to wait many years but when they stayed faitful to Him He did big things through them and they inspire us today too. I know now He's making me stronger and teach me to rely on Him even more than I did before. It's frightening but it's a check of my heart every week. Because He has been there for me when life was good and He was there when life was tough and He will be there again for me today and tomorrow and forever. He is God and knows best. But there are days I feel the same as you. By the way there is no bad job or unworthy tasks in His eyes. You can be a witness at your work. Maybe people never see a kind person at your work, you could show kindness. I'm just saying, I don't know. He always uses us if we let Him. A good post, thanks for sharing. Praying for you.

Jessica
Jessica

What do you do that you know all these Great Songs?!?!?!?! Its hard to be honest with ourselves sometimes.But you are exactly where God wants you and it will only get better. :)

JennyRain
JennyRain

love love love this... ok 2 things

i am struggling from the OPPOSITE perspective... all of my prayers have been answered. I'm exactly where I prayed i would be. Now I'm wondering, did I pray too small? Were God's dreams bigger than my dreams?

I am learning... when God writes your story, whether you are a street sweeper or a CEO... If He is writing it... it is destined to be awesome... I promise:)
My recent post Electronic Encouragement: Technology and Community

Rodnesha
Rodnesha

so I just wrote out this well thought out comment and it disappeared! Anyway, to try to retrace my steps:

1. I'm so grateful God has placed you and your blog in my path. You are articulating everything that I am dealing with in my own life in this season adn it's so helpful!

2. I am striving to get my blog on your level! The way you write and present your material is so engaging. Keep it up!
My recent post Joy of Life

Andie Wright
Andie Wright

As a former Starbucks worker (1.5 years in college, .5 year after while job searching & 2.5 years at 23 after quitting the career I thought I was called to do) I can tell you it is a great place to be while you are examining life and looking for your next steps. After quitting my counseling job and sitting in a place of "what now God???" I met some of the most amazing people, who offered insight and guidance as I tried to figure out where I was meant to be. I know other Bucks workers who have had similar experiences. There is now even a book about it "How Starbucks Saved My Life" ( you can buy it on Amazon for $4.68 and preview it on Google Books).

I am most certainly not where I thought I would be. I have neither the counseling job for troubled teens I felt I was meant to do nor the Marketing job I thought was the right choice after that. For right now, I love working with these kids and while I am here I am learning an important lesson of having boundaries and putting myself first (or my job would swallow up my life). I have no idea what I will do when the kids are in school and I am no longer needed all day every day. I would like to hope that I will be married and having my own kid(s) to care for, but that isn't up to me. I know that when the time comes I hope to see what my next step is meant to be.

JasonWert
JasonWert

First, this is a top notch, kick ass posting. (Can I say kick ass on your blog?)

Now, to answer your question "Are you grateful for what you got “instead”?" No. I'm not. If I'm being honest I pretty much hate it. I hate not being able to serve in full time ministry like I did before my addiction came to light. I hate that I have small talents to write or speak or perform dramas & improv and no place to use them. I hate having to work ten hours a day just to barely pay bills and every time I've tried to get another job to help ease the stress it falls apart. I'm tired of God teaching me one lesson after another after another with no real idea why He keeps kicking the crap out of me.

I'm tired of dreading the next thing God does because I don't want to get hurt again. I'm tired of feeling the sense of dread that tells me my first thought from God is not a loving father who gives gifts to their children but a stern disciplinarian that keeps wailing away on me with one struggle after another.

I'm tired of the pride that I know even after ten years of lesson after lesson is still there. I'm tired of these desires within me to do things that just won't go away no matter how hard I pray for them to go. I'm tired of feeling like it's almost useless for me to try and change anymore because it's not going to matter or that it's futile to try and fight any longer.

Other than that, I'm pretty grateful.

Sarcasm on that line aside, I'm grateful for the things I have because I know things could be a whole lot worse than they are right now.

Now...sorry you asked the question for public comment? ;)
My recent post Phony and fake

Guest
Guest

Right on Grant. Thanks for this beautiful, poignant reflection on how God gives us what we need, not what we want. Peace, brother.

Sondra
Sondra

Wow... amazing post. Thanks so much for your transparency. I can identify with much of this. My parents also divorced 8 years ago, but instead of avoiding relationship, I put the (wrong) relationship I was in at the time on the fast track to marriage. (Trying to show my parents I didn't need "our" family, I'd just make my own)... very, very long story short, my husband filed for divorce in November, we divorced 3 days before Christmas, I spent 4 months re-grouping with some lovely friends in Illinois, trying to figure out the "What Next" in my life...and in March God began calling me to Nashville. I still don't really know WHY, but I do know this: I have learned through all of this that the most precious things in my life aren't THINGS. I have learned that God is faithful. That He still speaks. And for once in my life, I'm not worried about what is next.

Anyway... thank you again, you were able to express much of what I have been unable to put into words so far. I know I just need to sit down and write it out. So thanks for maybe prompting me to do just that.

Wes Howard
Wes Howard

I was with you until you posted song lyrics. Haha. Just kidding. You know, I only know your life as it is now. I didn't know the monetary successful Grant. Bro, I love this Grant. You give me so much encouragement and have taught me a lot so far through your story. Don't ever change dude.

Mela Kamin
Mela Kamin

So many can relate to this, Grant ... I know because I'm one of them. I went through a season where I kept saying/thinking/griping "I didn't sign up for this." I went into ministry because I felt called, nudged and pulled there. I naively thought it would be all sunshine and yet, this is the place I've experienced the most storms. I wrote a song called "I Need to Be" and it's about trusting God's plan. I often live as if I never wrote those words. Thansk for the reminder that I'm right where I need to be. So grateful you are sharing your journey - Bless You!
My recent post Memorial Day … what proud looks like

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

ah shux;)
so what are you, 80 now? "oldest brother"? surprise you didn't use your usual "the first born" tag, lol!

Thanks bro. you know the i will never give up the quest for truth... because without it, what do i really have? hmmm...
ok, let's not hi-jack Grant's blog.
talk to you later;)
My recent post interview with a covert conspirator…

swodeck
swodeck

for the record...I am very proud of you as well. I know sometimes the outside world may think the Swodeck family loves chaos...but it is not chaos we love, but truth. I think sometimes, that growing up in church, we were sold a bill of goods that was unhealthy and unattainable. The journey to know truth IS THE PLAN God had for us....the daily evolution and development of truth is what what builds relationship with our creator.

Your oldest brother,
Joshua
My recent post Left Out in the Rain

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

You're right. It is hard to be people of depth and substance in such a shallow and temporal culture. But the fight is worth it. Thanks for your comments!

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Dude, I really appreciate what you shared here. You are so right, it is all about the journey. My pastor said in his book, "Plan B", "the value in your shattered dream is more about who you’re becoming than where you’re going.” I have found that to be so true. Who we are becoming in the "middle" is much more valuable than any destination where we may find ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing this!

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

for the record... i am very very proud of you.
your sis,
Julia
My recent post interview with a covert conspirator…

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

absolutely, dude! Thanks for adding to the conversation!

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Thanks for your honesty, Leesha. I appreciate your comments!

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

You're right, Becky. It is a daily, and often HOURLY struggle.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

That's an amazing story, Sabrina! God always knows what He's doing, and it's amazing how He lets us "stumble" on it in His time.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Bro, can't tell you how much reading this means to me. I'm really glad you connected with this, my friend.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Great stuff here, Amy. It's amazing how if it were left up to us, of course we would choose the path of least resistance, but that is not what builds us. Thank you for your comments and your kind words.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

you are right, Jan. It is a choice every day. I once heard someone say they are learning to trust God in 24-hour increments, and I blogged about that recently as well. This journey is a series of choices... sometimes daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes by the minute. He is after our heart.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Great stuff here, Thelma. Thank you for sharing this. You are right, God owes us nothing. It's amazing how easily we drift from "thankful" to "entitled". Thank you for the encouragement.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

I always appreciate what you share here, Ani. This is no exception. Thank you so much for your willingness to share your life and heart with us on this side of the pond. :) And as always, thank you for your prayers.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

What can I say, I'm a machine! Haha! :) I know all kinds of music and songs... it's kind of crazy, actually. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Jess!

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

That's an interesting perspective, Jenny. You are right, if He is writing, it is destined to be awesome... it just comes down to whose definition of "awesome" that is. :)

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Thank you so much for your kind words, Rodnesha. I'm glad to know my words are finding a home in your life as well.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

I friend of mine was telling me about that book last week. I need to check it out. Thanks for your comments Andie, I appreciate you sharing.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Yes, you can say ass here haha. I appreciate your honesty here, man. I sometimes wonder if it's ok if we never really fully reach full on "grateful" for what we got "instead". I wonder if being willing to walk out the journey and uncertainty is enough. Hard questions. Not sorry I asked at all. Life is messy, grace covers it.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Sondra... wow. just wow. I can't thank you enough for sharing what you have here. It's all relative and the specifics of our experiences differ, but you are right, God is faithful. I am learning to let go on so many levels and it is so not easy, but it is so worth it. I'm grateful you were able to find some encouragement and a voice for your own journey here through what I wrote. That really encourages me. Saying a prayer for you today.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

I'll try to leave the song lyrics out next time so I don't break your flow. :) Thanks so much, homey. It's amazing and humbling to me how God could use MY story to encourage you, since it is YOUR story that has given me so much encouragement over these past several months. You are a valued blessing in my life, my friend.

Grant Jenkins
Grant Jenkins

Wow, thank you for sharing that, Mela. I really appreciate it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] God when things fall apart?”. Nice complement to his recent Plan B book. – Grant Jenkins on “What I thought I Wanted, What I Got Instead”. There are some honest thoughts […]

  2. […] been a bit off. This realization came, in part, from my recent reading of Jesus Manifesto, browsing other blogs, and in spending some time thinking through the following sentence and making a subtle yet […]

  3. […] I started blogging again, I think I’ve been pretty open and transparent about my story and this season in particular.  From sharing my story publicly for the for the first time, talking very frankly […]

  4. […] Those moments taught me how to pry my fingers from around what I thought I deserved. […]

  5. Grounded says:

    […] you’ve followed my story much, you know this year has certainly been the toughest I’ve seen in many ways. However, […]

  6. […] from months of being unemployed and uncertain to getting a job at Starbucks which, looking back, wasn’t about coffee at all.  Rather it was an operating room where God would deconstruct and reshape my heart.  This season […]

  7. […] What I Thought I Wanted, What I Got Instead (post from June 4, […]

  8. […] I previously had in Africa. But I’m ready. I want it and I need it. It’s the next chapter in my story, a narrative I never would have written for myself but am so thankful for.  I know this experience […]

  9. […] heart in a powerful way. That season was a significantly refining one that I’ve written about here and […]

  10. […] February 2010, at the beginning of what would turn out to be a completely life-altering year for me, I started this blog. I didn’t start writing because I had a deep well of answers to share […]