During my first year of college, I hung out with a guy who put the Rolling Stones on every mix tape. I love the Stones as much as the next girl – probably a tad more, but there was one song that always stuck in my throat: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need

I’d hear the opening of the song – a choral arrangement of child vocal hell – and cringe. Because I was about to get bombarded with a hard truth – one I still struggle to swallow: you can’t always get what you want.

We’re bombarded with this lie that we can do anything we put our minds to.  If we just try hard enough, if we do all the right things and jump through all the hoops, we’ll get what we want. And it is a lie. A big. Fat. Lie.

Some of our dreams just aren’t meant to come true. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t get what we want. But I have found that more times than not, we do get what we need.

The past several months have been great teachers.  When I lost my job in February, God provided a much better situation. I got what I needed.  When I’ve struggled with a strong-willed toddler, I’ve been given the grace and patience to make it through the long days (and nights).  I got just what I needed.  Life looks so different from the way it did last year – different from my reality and different from my plans for the future – but I’ve been given exactly what I need for this season in my life.

I have been slow to learn that God has a greater plan for my life than I have for my own.  I’ve been slow to learn that the things I want and the plans I make for myself, are not what I need.  But I serve a good God who is gracious enough to say,

“I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

And tonight I feel particularly thankful – for provision for my needs, for a gracious teacher, and a hard lesson I’m beginning to learn.