Some real life examples (I have no problem being a good bad example): Back in '08 I was stoked out of my mind about my killer plans to move back to Paris. It was exactly what I wanted. I had a job set up, place to stay, practically a perm-a-grin just thinking about it. Well, long story very short, I got my patriarchal blessing, did some praying, and got a very clear answer to serve a mission. Wow. Cue the tears. It was not what I had in mind. Not what I had planned. And yet in hindsight, I will forever be grateful that Heavenly Father told me to serve a mission rather than be entirely selfish and run off to France. I met people that I love with all my heart, love and understand the gospel so much more, learned a lot about service and hard work...the list goes on and on but the point is, His way was better than my killer plans.
Or (another good bad example) there was a bit in my mission when I had a rough time in a particular area. I prayed frequently expressing how it was wearing on me and my desire to be transferred. And transfer after transfer...I just kept on staying. I remember after receiving every transfer call that told me I was staying, I couldn't wait for my prayers that night because I really needed to talk to Him about it. haha It was not what I had planned you see. I'd had hopes, expectations and...they'd not gone the way I'd already decided they should.
So pretty much anytime you already have things "figured out", decided, an expectation, assumption of how things "should" be, etc. and those things don't work out...at least for me, I sometimes feel frustrated, confused, and wonder what it is Heavenly Father has in mind because...there has obviously been a miscommunication somewhere along the way right? haha The one thing that appears to always be consistent, is I look back on the experience grateful out of my mind that I didn't get what I wanted. Weird right? The thing that I'm bothered that I don't get, is something I'm later thanking God He didn't give me. My mission, changed my life. Staying in that area for 6 MONTHS, taught me lessons and strengthened me and my relationship with God in a way that never could have happened if I had gotten my way and been transferred. So here comes the parable:
I feel like life can be like heading into a restaurant. We sit down, we get our menu (although we know exactly what we want) and we order. I tell the waiter, "I would love some right nice minestrone soup." Yup. It's my favorite. I know that I like it. It's what I want.
Well...I wait for a wee bit, soooo stoked about my soup because I've been thinking about it and how ridiculously delicious it's going to be and... the waiter comes out with this:
Errr....hilarious but seriously...not funny. Lobster? Come on. I don't like fish. This is not what I ordered. It's not what I want. The waiter says some comment about how the chef insisted I try his world famous lobster. Okay...but he could just as well brew me my minestrone soup right?! haha Well I obviously want a word with this chef because I'd appreciate some sort of explanation. The chef comes out and tells me that he didn't give me what I ordered because he wanted me to try something new. And most likely, in my trying this new dish, I'll discover a new favorite food or a passion for a new spice or vegetable. It's a discovery I never would have made if he'd just always bring me my minestrone soup. He's trying to broaden my horizon--show me new favorites.
I don't know if any of this made sense to you at all but it has really helped me when I find myself in situations when I'm getting served Lobster and all I wanted was minestrone. Yeah, God doesn't always give you what you want when you want it. And let's face it, in hindsight we're always grateful that He didn't. We'd be spoiled, "picky eaters". There's always a purpose behind what He's exposing us to. Always a lesson to learn, we're being strengthened, He's showing us a different a perspective, introducing us to new "favorites", helping us acquire new personality traits, be compassionate toward those around us, and I've noticed humility and patience are two of his favorite side dishes to serve free of charge. :) As frustrating as it can seem in the moment--when things don't go as we'd expected, His way is always, always better. I'm so glad He doesn't always give me what I order because I have learned to love so many other things because of it. That is all. :)