In 1974, Burger King, the No. 2 hamburger chain in the world with over eleven thousands restaurants at the time, launched its most successful advertising campaign and legendary slogan, “Have it Your Way.” It resonated among its patrons and propelled the restaurant’s popularity.
Since then, Burger King has tried a number of other campaigns over the years, but time and time again has returned to their vintage motto because according to many, it fits so well with the emphasis in pop culture on individuality, being unique and wanting things our own way.
I wonder how many of us have been deeply influenced by this “societally-infused” notion.
Has this mantra been so ingrained in us “to want (and often demand) to have it our way” we almost feel as if we deserve it?
Has this mode of thinking caused us to lose hold and even lose sight of what God wants for us and how He desires for us to live?
For those who don’t have a spiritual compass and aren’t trying to please the Lord, the task is pretty straight forward and even simple - live for yourself and seek to have it your way. However, for those of us who are truly trying to live a life honoring to and for the Lord in this troubled world, the mission can be difficult and quite challenging.
I often find myself in a struggle over what (I think) I want and what (I perceive) God wants for me. Even when it seemed somewhat clear, there have been times when I didn’t “feel like” considering His or anyone else’s view except for my own.
However, over the years, I have worked in a position where I have been responsible for “serving” others, not only in a “single moment of time,” but in a day-to-day twenty-four seven on the road traveling situation. Living and working together in the confines of a four-hundred square foot space away from home for weeks on end can be trying at times.
What this experience has taught (and trained) me to consider is “what would be best for the group as a whole,” not a “what I want for me” mentality. It has been a great exercise (of sorts) for me to “practice” putting other’s desires ahead of mine and to learn how to cope with not having my way all of the time, or even at all, while being accepting and compliant with it.
This newly found “attribute” has positively translated into my personal and spiritual life. Nevertheless, even as I show more patience for others and painstakingly seek the Lord for some clue, hint or message to direct my path, I still feel left in the dark at times, like David did.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall (Psalm 13:1-4).
Do you ever feel as if you’ve waited for what seems like a lifetime for a direction from the Lord and now just want to give up (or give in) and do it your way?
Have you tried to make something happen the way “you” wanted only for it to not work out and wonder what else you can do?
Most of the singles I know have experienced these feelings at some point in their journey.
Like many, what I had studied (specifically for) in college is a stretch from what I am doing today, but in the process I cannot look back and regret the path my life has taken since I have made some amazing life-long friends, traveled the world, had incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and been able to comfortably support myself along the way.
This is not the route I thought my life would have taken nor what I had planned, and in no sense would I consider I had it “my way.” Nevertheless, I am where I am. I can focus on not getting what I had wanted, never having been married (yet), nor having children to call my own, or I can rejoice over those things that could have only been of the Lord.
I cannot help but smile and be grateful when I think back over the years and consider the people who have impacted my life and the memories we have made. How can I dare demand anything more?
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8).
If I truly believe in God’s Word and trust in what these passages are saying, how can I continue to try to make MY desires come to pass over trusting the Lord to show me His?
If the Lord determines my steps and His ways not my ways, why do I rack my brains, get so frustrated and disappointed when things don’t happen the way I think it “should,” instead of just looking for His greater plan in it?
Is there anything in your life which you have been wrestling with God over?
Are you “stuck” in your thinking of how life needs to go in a certain direction?
Have you been unwavering in what your future mate should look like, be like or have?
When we reach that place in life where we can truly believe and live with the peace and understanding of Isaiah 55:8 we will begin to live freer.
David seemed to have reached this place, and it is my hope we all will.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on facebook and twitter.
Publication date: July 2, 2013