Sunday, December 26, 2010

God won't let me have what I want.

A blogging friend asked if I was going to church yesterday for Christmas. I explained I hadn't attended mass since I last blogged about it.

"Why keep praying for the same things over and over if He won't let me have what I want anyways?" was my reply. "He already knows what's in my heart, why constantly repeat myself?"

Maybe sensing my frustration, the fellow blogger suggested a way of expressing it.

"What would that look like?" he asked. "How would you draw that?"

Reflecting on it for a little while, the only solid thing that came to mind weren't images but words.....

"God won't let me have what I want."
Ink pens and marker in Moleskine journal - (NFS)

All I had hoped and prayed for was written within the cross. How fitting that the background words obscure it making everything I asked God for become illegible.

Close-up detail

After finishing this piece and giving it some thought, my initial reaction was rather childish.

Perhaps He won't let me have what I want but is giving me what I need for right now instead.

Ahh, things to ponder.....

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Christmas!


Unknown said...

I like the way you processed that for yourself with art words! Wishing you a great New Year Dean, the best one ever!
A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings
& Levonne's Pretty Pics

Anonymous said...

whats that country song..."Thank God for un answered prayers."

cheers friend

Melancholy State said...

I can fully understand your frustration. I feel the same way, but then I never says you get what you want, it says you get what you need.

Trust me, not getting what you want is a feeling I know all too well, especially when it is what I also feel I need.

Joey said...

My dear friend,

As I read through your art, I was so saddened to see all that you have been feeling and going through!

I won't sit here and try to preach to you. (It is not my style, nor am I very good at it.) I will say that I have felt much like you in the past, and I still do at times.

Life has not been easy for you. I can empathize with you. It has not been easy here either. There were times in my life where I felt like giving up on God. There were times when I did walk away. I can even recall a time a few years ago when I would be standing there yelling at God. I would yell until I went hoarse.

For me, I had to finally let go of trying to direct my life. (For an over-achieving, OCD, type-A personality, the prospect of letting go of the control was not easy...still isn't at times.) I realized that there was a plan for me somewhere, and I had to let God tell me what that plan was. I still wonder what that plan is at times.

I love your line that "Perhaps He won't let me have what I want but is giving me what I need..." I have the same thought at times.

I don't know where I was going with all of this, but I felt the need to say it.

You know there are those of us out here who love you and will be here for you. We will help to take care of you when you need us most.

(Perhaps I think of Him the same way...He is there when I need Him most!)

Take care, my friend!

BB said...

Very deep!! Does give you something to think about doesn't it?

Unknown said...

I think this would be awesome as a painting or at least a much bigger piece. It's very powerful now and I'm sure it will be AWESOME on a bigger scale. Thanks for everything and hanging in there with me Dean. You're blessed with artistic and writing talent...things that other people pray they wish they have. hugs.

Holly said...

I have thought the same thing for a long time. I gave up praying for myself because I figured God had forgotten about me or that He just had more important things to take care of. But I have since had a change of heart and although I still struggle and I'm sure a lot of people looking from the outside would think my life is pretty pathetic, I am now rejoicing more than before for seeing how much God truly cares for me.

naturgesetz said...

A very insightful post.

Thanks for the good wishes about our Christmas. Mine was good — Masses at 4;00 Christmas Eve, midnight and 11:00 a.m.; Christmas dinner at my 91-year-old aunt's with my brother and four other people; phone calls with my other brother in Tokyo.I hope you had a good Christmas too.

There are passages in the gospels where Jesus speaks about the importance of praying. He asks who would give his son a snake when he asks for a fish or a scorpion when he asks for an egg. The basic point is clear: God does not give us bad things when we ask for good. But I think we can turn the questions around. What father would give his son a snake or a scorpion when he for it, rather than giving something good like a fish or an egg? God knows what is good for us, far better than we do. If what we want is not good for us right now, God will not give it to us right now. If we were God, we would understand why what we ask for isn't what we need.

In Luke's gospel, Jesus asks, "Will not the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?" Snakes, scorpions, fish, eggs are relatively good or bad for us, but the Holy Spirit is absolutely good, and that self-gift of God himself is the best he can give us and what he most wants us to give.

This world is imperfect. We have to live in hope of the perfect world beyond this life rather than pretending that all can be well here and now. As you suggest, God is giving you what you need.


Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

I predict a series of angry comments on this post. (none from God of course. I strongly suspect there is no God).

Either way, we all should do want we can to improve ourselves and our world in general.

Doing is being.

Liz said...

I love this. It's really rather simplistic, but I think it's more thought-provoking that way. Thanks for posting!

david said...

i think the white spots within the yellow cross look like tears....
be of good cheer mister.... the world has been overcome before and you are indeed loved...

~ cheers.. david

k said...

Dear Dean, I love reading your blog. You are a breath of fresh air. Your honesty is refreshing. I feel as if I know you when I haven't even met you. I have been praying for you from my heart. Pardon me for being so bold but it appears to me that God is reaching out to you. God loves you, not because of what you so or what you don't do, but because of who he is and what he has done for us through Jesus. Perhaps you are at unrest because your soul is searching for truth and meaning. You are a good person, but that is not enough. For God to set you free you need to trust in Jesus. I don't know if you have done this or not. If you are not sure I strongly suggest you visit this web site for more information.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Love Karlee, a 23 year old housewife who Jesus has saved from, well myself really.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Dean - I don't think - and I'm not being facetious now - that God is like Santa and 'gives us what we ask for'. I think he/she allows us to have grace in our life. I think you are being given a LOT of signs from God. My dear mom used to tell me : God doesn't close one door without opening another. Just don't stare at the 'closed' door and miss seeing the newly opened one..." I have found in my life that if I ask for God to just 'be with me' it does happen, and I receive comfort. I'm sending good thoughts and prayers for you... for you to feel comfort in your life and see the great things that can happen for you. You are so loved!!!!

snobby brit said...

I like you have turned my back on God. The words that "he gives you what you need which may not be what you want" are so trite. When you are in pain you just want that pain removed, how difficult is that? for an Omnipresent being probably not very.

The Cool Cookie said...

Glad to know that you made it through the holiday. Its a wonderful piece of art, and I'm just not saying it to just say it.

If I may be so bold as to suggest two things:

1)Perhaps the gift that God has given you is the ability to voice your inner feelings through art. I for one would love your ability to create in the abstract; but for me, my art is always rooted in representation.

2) It's not always about what one wants, or what one needs, but what one has that comprise the gifts that a higher power has bestowed upon us.

As I grow older, the truth that I find is that the satisfaction in receiving gifts grows less and less by the year, while the joy of giving through sharing the gifts I have grows exponentially. Or [put another way, sometimes you have to empty the well, to replenish it with fresh water.

The Cool Cookie said...

Can I ask one other question?

What if you repeat the excercise, lay down the cross in yellow again, only this time put the negative into the space of the cross and good things on the outside.


Because in Christ's Crucifixion we place our burdens, our pain and our fears so that in life we can live better.

Just an idea.

Shopgirl said...

This is a wonderful post and I quite like your drawings. I think I may just have to try that myself. I asked those exact same questions, actually I still do quite often. But I read a great book on the subject by Phillip Yancy which got me to think about it more than ever.

Dean Grey said...


I hope you have a wonderful New Year too!


David Allen Waters!

Never heard of that song, I'm afraid!

But why be thankful for unanswered prayers?


C. Alvarez!

Then we're in the same boat!



Joey, it's not that I've given up on God just sort of stopped expecting anything from him.


Bouncin' Barb!

Yes, it does!



You're quite welcome, girl!



So there's hope for me yet, huh?



I'm glad your Christmas went well!

As always, I knew you'd have words of wisdom on this matter.



No angry comments yet!



Yeah, I really wanted it to be elaborate and full of color and images but all that came to mind were the words floating around in my head.



Looking over the illustration again, I now see the tears! That wasn't my intention though.

Perhaps it was a subconscious thing?


The Mother Experiment!

I was raised Catholic and still consider myself to be one (just not always a practicing one).

I appreciate the prayers, Karlee!



"I have found in my life that if I ask for God to just 'be with me' it does happen, and I receive comfort."

I have never done this before but will give it a try the next time I pray, Kelley!


Drama Queen!

You must've misunderstood my post.

I haven't turned my back on God (and hope you don't either).

I'm more or less frustrated that my prayers appear to be going unheard and unanswered, that's all.


Ask the Cool Cookie!

I agree that God has already bestowed gifts upon me and perhaps I'm overlooking them because I haven't gotten all that I want.

As I said, rather childish of me.

I think your suggestion about doing another cross with the burdens on the inside to be quite unique and I might just give that a try!



Illustrating it helped give those feelings a voice so definitely try it for yourself if the need arises!


Everyone's input on this subject is very much appreciated!


Randuwa said...

Dean, can't really help you here, my friend. I don't believe that there is a God, at least not one that is knowable. And humanity has been on this quest since some longing soul painted his or her hand on a rock in the Australian outback 40,000 years ago or a buffalo on a cave wall in southern France 32,000. The collective "we" wants meaning. BIG meaning like "God-sized" meaning in our lives. But what if it isn't there? It's not the end of the world, quite to the contrary, it's a wonderful beginning. Because meaning, BIG meaning is all around us. It's in the hearts of those we meet everyday, in the gifts we give to one another no matter how humble. In the grace that we extend because grace is a very good thing, indeed. And it's especially real when we engage in acts of altruism, like forgiving others who have hurt us. Or receiving the ideas of others that we do not agree with gently and with an open enough heart that says it's okay to live as neighbors even though I see the world differently. When you find a church that preaches those values, I might even tag along with you! Until then, be yourself. Love yourself, and when it's hard to do that, feel the strength of the love of others for you. Faithfully, r.

RoseRed said...

What a great way to express your emotions. We are so very much God's children and try as we might, we will never see or know all the he does - we just don't have the parent's view of things. So we do have to trust that he gives us exactly what we need. Even when it's not what we want.

WOL said...

As I was reading your post, I thought of that thing about the footprints in the sand where your footprints and God's go side by side along the beach, and then only one set of footprints, and you rail against God for abandoning you, and God says, "The reason there's only one set of footprints there was because that's where I was carrying you."

I think one reason you are in so much pain is that you have so much ungiven love that it's filling you near to bursting. Find some way to start giving it away. Some kind of volunteer thing maybe? The "cast your bread upon the waters" thing.

And another thought. Maybe God is answering your prayers, only you're not looking for the answers in the right places -- not being able to see the forest for the trees kind of thing.

And one last thought -- ever heard of art therapy? Art therapists are caregivers who help people deal with life through art. You might look into that. Your art is so perfectly expressive of your feelings -- you could help people work through things with art the way you do.

AutumnBoy said...

Dude, how profound. I just love how you take your thoughts and emotions and pour them out in art and come to conclusions

your correct that God knows our wants and desires and indeed he knows us initmately better than we know ourselves

he knows what we want
and he knows what we need even if we dont know what we need, or want it

the trick is excepting Gods will in all things he has in store for us whether or not we like it, think we need it, or even want it

the second trick, even though we know God knows what we want and need, is excepting that he is waiting for us to get on our knees in humble prayer and pour our hearts out to Him, to just ask and believe

in those two things is were the difficulty lies i think, excepting His will in all things, and humbling ourselves before Him

i know these things are one of my biggest down falls, even though i know these things i am still stiffnecked and hard headed and hate the world and my life at times, as i do now often

your a great guy and have a wonderful spirit and i believe our Heavenly Father has great things in store for you



Anonymous said...

I didn't go to mass either, and I don't feel guilty cause I know he is in my heart.

He doesn't give us what we want cause then we would have everything too easily and not fight for things we really care for and want.

n.lea. said...

so beautifully touching.

I want you to know that you are deeply loved. You may not know the one that loves you so deeply but you will find peace when you believe it. You may be only one person in the wold but to one person you are definitely the world. It always helps me when I feel unloved , alone and forgotten that Some one loved me enough that he gave up his life and died for me.
Not trying to be preachy or anything like that, Just trying to give to you what you seem so willing to give to others. Love, Encouragemen and a shoulder of Friendship.

Be at peace my friend.


you may be onto something that he is giving what you need right now. but when you pray, try pray knowing he has answered the way you want it , you just haven't seen it's fruition yet.

Bill said...

I find it interesting that everyone expects God to give us whatever we want. He wants our obedience, but people refuse to give him that. They go do whatever they want, and then expect him to bless them anyway. Why should he? God says he does not approve of the gay lifestyle, but people ignore it, and then blame God when they are dying of AIDS. It isn't God's fault. People blame God when someone they love dies fighting in a war. They say God needed another angel. That's a bunch of bull. Jesus taught us to love even our enemies. But people ignore that. It's their greed and their thinking they are better than anyone just because of the country they were born in that brings war. If they were obeying God's law not to kill, they wouldn't be over there where they could be killed in the first place. Man has brought all of our problems on ourselves. None of it is God's fault.

Sorry. I'm sure that is not the stuff you want to hear. I told you my background before, so I'm speaking from experience. All the terrible things we are going through now is proof we are living in the time Jesus foretold that would occur just before God finally brings an end to all of the injustices being done. The churches don't teach what that really means, but the Bible does.

No, I'm not expecting you to put this on your blog. But when someone comes to your door talking about the Bible, you could ask them what it all really means. You need some answers, and you won't find them by listening to people like the ones posting on this blog who have given up on God, when in fact God has given up on them because they refuse to do what he wants.

Oh my. Nothing like writing a book!

Love from someone who cares,

stanw said...

What you said I think is right on - "Perhaps giving me what I need for right now instead." I was thinking and struggling with a few similar things just today so when I read your statement I had to say the same to myself. I guess also that believing when I ask God for something is just leaving it in His hands, fretting seems to blind me to what I have right now. Anyway, thanks for sharing this and yes the idea of the drawing is great, very thoughtful.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well.


Stacia said...

Just want to hug ya! Good thing to do, and you are so going to get what you want. Keep the faith!!

pathetic prophet said...

Do you know that the one thing Solomon asked for was wisdom? Somebody told me once that he already had it;he was wise enough to ask for it. I kind of think that all the things you wrote in the yellow space are already in you but they're hard to see in the brightness of the color and hard to feel in the emotions that you (we) feel.
That said, I'm 68 years old and way to ancient to make a pass at you, but every time I see your picture and hear about the compassion, caring, way you act and the wisdom you show in your answers to other people, I want to know you more. You're the boy/man I see as the ideal I could fall in love with. You treat everybody with respect, you answer them with encouragement, you show them love.
All the things that are in the yellow space (the light?) come out in your artwork and your relationships. Maybe you don't need to ask for them because you already have them.
If I were 40 years younger, I'd be in Chicago trying to win your heart. But this antique fag can only sit here pondering 'what might have been' while he's enjoying what is more and more.
Love you and God bless.

Neha said...

i am a Hindu..i believe in goddess Saraswati..i dont know if you have ever read anything about the Hindu mythology..She is the goddess of wisdom...whenever something wrong happened in my life, i just asked her," Ma, how come you let something like this happen to me?" And the answer i believe always is that She wants me to learn,She wants me to believe in myself and survive even in the most toughest of situations...and She never gives me what i want the most..probably because She knows exactly what's right for me...just like you have written...
and there was nothing childish at all about your drawing...i think i have seen something that good after long time...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't believe in God. But say that there is one. In that case I don't think it's up to Him to make anyone happy, or to give people what they want. He's given us all a Free Will, so it's up to us to make ourselves happy. Not despite of life or circumstances, but through it, and maybe even because of it.

All the best,

Doomed But Cheerful! said...

I have stopped 'doing' religion for now. It seems to be the root of so much distress around the world, and I can't get my head around it.

I am glad our friend helped you to find a means of expression. I was deeply saddened by what I read there, but if it is the path to self-healing, then I applaud it.

Happy New Year =]

Jonah Gibson said...

Very interesting approach...meditative art, graphic prayer. You should do this some more. All prayer is not meant to be petition. You have achieved the beginning of enlightenment. In the middle somewhere you begin to recognize love affirmed within requests denied. This is the beginning of happiness.

Cynthia said...

You obviously have a gift for finding art in different places. Bravo! Thank you for sharing. Keep the posts coming. :)

LightChaser said...

My position on faith and religion is “If it works for you, good for you.” The necessary corollary is, “If it doesn’t work for you, kick it to the curb and don’t look back.”

I don’t spend a moment considering the wishes of, or beseeching, the Pope’s god, or Pat Robertson’s god, or Buddha, or Thor, or Jupiter, or Othello, or Wonder Woman, or Atticus Finch, or James Bond, or Sir Harry Paget Flashman, or Oliver Twist, or the Red Queen, or SpongeBob SquarePants, or any other fictional character. (BTW, if you must choose, Atticus Finch and Wonder Woman are the most reliable in the list.)

The most liberating moment of my life came when I decided to stop believing—or more precisely, stop trying to believe—in mythology, superstitions, the supernatural, and any other sort of magical thinking. When I put behind me such idiocies as “I am not worthy” or “You have no right to be wrong,” I found the strength, courage, and desire to engage and enjoy the real world and real people. Layers of BS that choked my existence simply vanished and everything in my life got better. From a walk in the woods to my work to my friendships to making love, everything got better. Everything.

jason said...

well, I'm praying for you here too, just in case.

wishing for you that this next decade will be the best ever for you!

Dean Grey said...


Interesting point of view. But what if the acts of grace you mentioned were actually glimpses of God coming out from within us?



"We just don't have the parent's view of things."

I like that way of looking at it!



Good points here!

I think God has answered my prayers in some ways but perhaps I'm too stubborn to admit it.

Art therapy as a profession is always an option but I'd have to go to school for like six years for that. Not sure I want to go through all of that trouble.



I'll make a point of those tricks!






Thanks for that, Nikki!



But if you read most of these comments I think you'll find most of us have NOT given up on God. We're just struggling to find our way and the answers, that's all.



I'm glad this post got you thinking!



I appreciate the hug!


pathetic prophet!

Yes, perhaps it's within me already but is being covered up by all the shit and pain.



It's nice having another religious aspect added to the mix here!



It's up to us!


Doomed But Cheerful!

Happy New Year to you as well!



"You have achieved the beginning of enlightenment."

I have?! I'll have to think about this some more.



Why thank you!



I'm glad it seems to have worked out for you, Dave, but I just don't think I can give up on the idea of God or denounce my Catholic upbringing so easily.



I appreciate the prayers!


Thanks to all of you for your thoughts on this!


Randuwa said...

Dean, then no harm done, for grace is nothing if not omnipotently forgiving. For me, for now, your faith outweighs mine, little brother. And my integrity and intellect find no reason to believe otherwise, or cherish life differently! Happy New Years!

adri said...

Sometimes what you want is not what's best for you, so he looks out for you by not giving it to you ;)

Dean Grey said...


Happy New Year, Randy!



I can agree with that!


I appreciate you both chiming in on this!


Anonymous said...

Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd. Thought you'd wish to know. This is a great write-up nevertheless, did not mess that up.

- David

Dean Grey said...


How does it appear odd on your phone, David? You mean the images aren't showing up correctly?



Anonymous said...

Why would God need me to be penniless and desperate? That doesn't sound like something I need, I'm not a drug addict, I don't spend rashly, I just want something other than table scraps once in a blue moon.

Before anyone says "God helps those who help themselves" I have done that, for many many years, and have done so heavily. This isn't what I need, I know that more than anyone. And obviously doors aren't being closed to open new ones because it's been many many many years of this. At some point the only conclusion to make is that there is no other door opening.

Dean Grey said...


Thank you for visiting this older post!

I'm sorry to hear you're having a hard time at the moment.

You hang in there for something GREAT may be coming your way soon and you'll never know unless you're still around.

(((HUGS))) to you because you need them!


Unknown said...

I don't know if I believe anymore in God, at least the God I was taught about by my parents and at church. I hope God is real. I still pray to Him, though I usually feel like I am talking to the wall.

Dean Grey said...


I hope He is real too.