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Whitney Johns: Unmet Expectations, Unfulfilled Desires

SpiritualityMurfreesboro, TN – In the past year, I graduated from college with a four-year bachelor’s degree, moved to a new city, and began applying for jobs. I quickly realized that four years of college means nothing in most cases, seventeen is the preferred number of years of experience most employers want, and the only jobs I was qualified for were Lyft driving and folding clothes at Old Navy.

Yes, this sounds incredibly pessimistic. But let’s be honest here – anyone over the age of 22 has experienced this in some way. And if you haven’t experienced this in the business world, you still know the feeling. It is the heartache of unmet expectations, the sorrow of unfulfilled desires.

Whitney Johns
Whitney Johns

While I did eventually find a part time job that I have grown to love, that pays the bills, and that is teaching me much about my character, this longing for a desirable ‘real’ job still occasionally creeps up onto the throne of my life.

I use the metaphor of the throne of my life intentionally. In episode 35 of Hunter Beless’s Journeywomen podcast interview of Maggie Combs, author of UnsuperMommy, Maggie uses this same metaphor. She speaks of the many desires of our heart that should rightfully sit at the foot of that throne. She says that Jesus belongs on the throne, and all of those desires are meant to submit to his good and kind authority. In her case, the desire that has gone unfulfilled in her life was the deep yearning to have a baby girl.

It is good to want a good job. It is good to want children. It is good to want to be married. It is good to want your children to know the Lord. It is good to want to be healthy. The list of desires could go on and on. Fill in your own blank. It is good to want good things. But sometimes these desires go unfulfilled.

A good job is not promised. Children are not promised. Marriage is not promised. Health is not promised. But one thing is promised: The Lord fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them (Psalm 145:19).

God has made us to be desirers. But notice David says that the Lord fulfills the desire, not the desires, of those who fear him. We were made to want God.

Maggie says in her interview, “If we were given everything we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world, rather than for heaven.” The second part of Psalm 145:19 says that God hears our cry. We can go to him in sadness and cry out to him that we have desires that have gone unfulfilled. We can be sad. We can mourn. But we must go to Him. Maggie says that this holy discontent is a kindness from God that keeps us longing for more of him.

John Piper, a pastor, author, and founder of DesiringGod, says that there are two kind of loss. The first kind of loss is that of those who had something precious and lost it. The second kind of loss is that of those who hoped for something precious and never had it, or still haven’t gotten it. When dealing with unmet expectations and unfulfilled desires, we are dealing with the second kind of loss. And there is a place in loss to allow for sadness. To this, John Piper says, ““Occasionally weep deeply over the life that you hoped to be. Then wash your face. Trust God, and embrace the life he has given you.”

It is good to want good things. However, we must watch carefully where our desires sit in relation to the throne. If our desires are not sitting at the foot of Jesus, bowing in submission to his rightful seat on the throne, we are treading into the clutches of idolatry. If utter devastation is our reaction to unmet desires in our lives, it is evidence that it is no longer a good desire, but a full-blown idol that needs to step down from the thrown and bow in submission to the goodness and kindness and authority of God.

No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. We can trust our God that he has not withheld anything.

He gives us the desire of our heart; he gives us himself.

Whitney Johns
Whitney Johns
Whitney (Robertson) Johns is a Clarksville native who now resides in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband, J.J. Johns. Whitney is a recent graduate from Tennessee Tech University, where was a student-athlete, competing for four successful years on the women’s golf team. While at Tennessee Tech, Whitney became involved in a campus ministry called Campus Outreach, where she learned the reality of the gospel and she grew to love and follow The Lord. Many of her writings involve real-life examples of how to practically apply truths of the bible to our everyday lives, something she and her husband are very passionate about sharing with others.

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