Can We Trust God To Give Us What We Desire?

What is your deepest desire?

Do you think God wants you to have it?

I think many people believe being holy means being miserable. That God doesn’t give us what we want the most because it’s selfish.

So we run from him to pursue our dreams.

Is that really necessary? Is God’s will found only in what we least desire?

St. Therese of Lisieux paints a different picture of desire. One that resonates to the core for me.

Is it selfish to ask God for your desires?

I once met a brother in a religious community who had a reputation for holiness.

He told me about his desires for the priesthood and missionary work. They were lofty goals, but I thought they were good ones. I remarked offhand that he better start praying! His reply was, “I never pray for myself.”

It struck me as odd. What did he mean by that? It’s like he was saying it was too selfish to ask God for what he desired…even something good. Did he think it was too presumptuous and bold to ask for himself?

God puts his desires for you in your heart

Fr. Michael Scanlan, the former president of Franciscan University, once told the story of how he hesitated to become a Franciscan.

He just knew that if he did, God would send him to Africa to be a missionary, and he hated that idea. He strongly desired to be a Franciscan, but he really did not want to go to Africa.

Finally, when decision time came, he confided in his spiritual director. The director told him not to worry. If God wanted to send him to Africa, God would put Africa in his heart.

In other words, if God’s desire was for him to be in Africa, that would become his deepest desire as well.

“He makes us desire, then grants our desires…”

St. Therese expressed something similar. She was supremely confident that her deepest longings were, in fact, what God most wanted to give her. She once told her sister that “the good God never gives desires that He cannot fulfill.”

In fact, for Therese, the desire itself was a sign that God wanted her to have it. It meant he was preparing her to receive the gift. She said, “He makes us desire, then grants our desires…”

For instance, it was Therese’s deepest desire to become a Saint. So, as her logic went, since God put that desire there, he had to see it through.

Therese had an intimate relationship with God and her trust in him was boundless. She boldly asked what she wanted, and God granted her desires because he was captivated by her audacity and trust.

The place of renunciation

Obviously, there is a place for renunciation in the spiritual life. Sometimes our desires need to be purified.

Sinful desires only take us farther away from God and the blessings he longs to lavish on us. Because of our fallen nature, sometimes these get in the way. We have to mortify them–put them to death.

However, those aspirations that are good, noble, and lift us toward God when we dream about them–those are a different story.

Spiritual Takeaway

God doesn’t want you to be miserable. You don’t have to give up what you most desire to follow him.

Our desires come from God. They are what he wants most for us. They speak to our mission in the world, the part we play in furthering the kingdom of God.

What is your deepest desire? Talk to God about it! Don’t be shy–be bold. He wants you to tell him your feelings, desires, hopes and dreams. Honest, transparent conversation with God is how you match up your desires with his desires for you.

Ask him how you can follow your dream and also grow in relationship with him. I think these are interconnected.

Do you pray for what you want? Do you think it’s selfish to pray for yourself? Let me know in the comments!


Subscribe and start receiving free updates via email.
I guarantee your email address will never be shared.


  1. Marc, great post! When I was attending some Theology of the Body talks, our pastor commented that when he has a need, God seems to intensify it, and then He fulfills the need. Much like God does with Adam in Genesis 2, where God knows that Adam need a companion (hence it’s NOT good that he’s alone), but instead of just bringing Eve to him right away, He first brings all the animals to him. When God finally brings Eve to him, Adam rejoices! After hearing that, I find this happening to me all the time!

    • Wow, that’s really wild! And you’ve noticed it too? I don’t think I ever have before but I’m going to look for that now.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • John McKevett says:

        Wonderful post, Marc. But I need much prayer from others, as I’ve suffered too many losses and crosses in this vein. I want to move to the U.K. so as to be with the British, who were for me when no one else was. And I’ve had this deep desire for years. However, because of a seeming endless stream of disappointments for unapparent illegitimate reasons, I’m not sure. I’d like to think God gave me this desire to live among the British, preferably the U.K., but when failure and disappointment for some reason just won’t quit, I just have to wonder if God really wants me to have any deep desire at all. I’m sorry. My story is just too sad to tell.

        John McKevett

  2. Excellent brother. makes me think of a quote from Gerald May, M.D. who says that “True freedom is not being able to do whatever we want. It is being able to do what we most deeply want.” So often I play around (with God and me) on the surface of my desires whimsical and passing though they may be, while God urges me to, “Put out into the deep.” …the deep place in my heart that desires God–the place in my heart and soul where God dwells. I can’t help but think that this is what the psalmist was referring to when he prayed “deep calls to deep.” Ironically, it seems that it is when we are in the “deepest” water that we can trust God the most.

    Thanks for sharing (and continuing to develop) your gifts brother!

  3. I was just sharing Ps 37: 4-5 with a group of women this past weekend:

    “Take delight in the LORD,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    Commit your way to the LORD;
    trust in him, and he will act.”

    Indeed, the dreams God plants in us are the spiritual inspirations and intuitions that can bring God glory, and that certainly captures our imagination. I think God plants many more dreams than we can possibly accomplish, but that just shows us that there is a wide variety of paths to walk and serve Him in… it’s never boring! But I know you are right, Marc, the relationship with God helps us qualify and discern his will and direction.

    • “I think God plants many more dreams than we can possibly accomplish…” That’s a very interesting thought Pat. I bet you’re right. It kind of boggles the mind really.

      It’s similar to something I’ve heard before that says God has many, many graces prepared for us but we usually never get them because we don’t ask for them. It kind of makes me think, how much more could we accomplish if we asked for more from him? Again, sounds presumptuous but not if you consider Therese.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Helen Schirmer says:

        I disagree. We do not influence God’s will.
        He has already decided what will happen. We just have no way of exactly knowing as he is silent. There are so many confusing opinions about this matter. I know all the prayer scripture, while seeming simple and straight foward actually is not. According to some, there are so many things about outselves we have to change in order for God to take tangible action. I do not see Christian men praying before they seek the opposite sex for budding relationships either. They are just like non believing men, wanting the hottest women they can find. There testimonies are weak by how they live. Porn use is rampant among Christian men because it is very easy to hide from the church congregation at large.
        It actually causes men to lose sexual attraction for real live women and weakens the purpose of dating intentionally with
        marriage in mind. for It is so easily available to secretly access. Not only are men so heavily into porn, they are not even attending
        church. I know a number of women of various
        ages, single, widowed, and divorced that want husbands, but there are no men who will even ask them out. Many are against marriage. I don’t see God doing anything to mitigate these circumstances. And we are told repeated women are not to pursue, with all kinds non Biblical reasons. So we have men not pursuing at the same time women are being told they should not pursue. Unless God breaks the stalemate, things will just get worse. At the end of the day, God tolerates so much and we will never know why. No matter how lonely and depressed it makes us. Then the church starts rolling out the “gift of singleness”‘ to explain the enormous amount of women facing prolonged and unwanted singleness in church. Why God does not step in? We have no idea. His ways are not our ways and he remains silent. So the crisis goes on.

        • I he was much of what you have written. Men and women in Church go about finding a mate the same way the secular people do. Women in church still want the same characteristics in a man as in society. Tallest, most sucessful, best etc, A Godly man is many times too kind , nice, tame, and overlooked…let’s face it, The church will not admit you have sex appeal you can get someone if you don’t as much , you won’t….. The church is afraid to actually have The church is afraid to actually have sex discussions about this….not all men are after porn as some people seem to think……some men in the church I just considered friends because they’re not considered attractive a some men in the church I just considered friends because they’re not considered attractive enough, The church could do more to help all ages of Godly singles get together than saying read verses and you are then on your own, best of luck……

    • Helen Schirmer says:

      He will not give you what you desire, but what he wants.
      So don’t be tricked in thinking he works that way.. This scripture has various conditions to be met. You have to give up your free will desires so you end with his desires. He views your desires as selfish snd threatening. Do be prepared to be disappointed.
      You have no choice in the matter.

      • This statement is such a downer.
        No choice, I thought God gives us free will?

        • Yes, God does give us free will. We determine ourselves and our path. We can choose to love God and be in relationship with him, or choose to reject him and his plan for us. Any relationship has certain conditions and responsibilities. You act differently when you’re in a relationship. You consider the other person and not just yourself. In a relationship, you bind your path to another. A relationship doesn’t mean two people walking separately in more or less the same direction. It means two persons deciding to walk together. That takes you in a different direction.

          The ultimate use of free will is to love God, trust him totally, and follow him. You have plenty of choice along the way.

          What St. Therese teaches us is, being intimately close to God purifies your heart to the point that your deepest longing for yourself is also God’s deepest longing for you…and that brings happiness beyond imagination.

      • Why should we be disappointed? It seems from reading here, and on other sites, that nothing really changes , only your perspective on things….. so, if this is what it means, and please help me here, you might never get what you what, or your situation doesn’t change as you want to, but eventually you don’t care about it.

        • It’s not that you don’t care about it, but you embrace it and see the hand of God in it. I’ve had great struggles getting over some desires and many linger, but I’ve come to recognize that it’s better things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I see how God moved me in other directions and in the end things turned out much better. Have you ever heard that country song where it says, “Thank God for unanswered prayers?” It’s kind of like that. I think that’s the kind of “looking-at-things-from-above” perspective you need to develop. That’s the example the Saints shows us.

          • Wow Marc that is awesome. That was for me. Have you ever gone through a silent season?? How do I get through this

        • Helen Schirmer says:

          That’s right. I prayed for 3 years asking God to help restore love and companionship into my life again after betrayal, adultery, and divorce by my husband of many years. God has remained steadfastly silent and there is no change in my circumstances. My hope is gone and Bible promises not fulfilled. Is this asupposed to tell me this is somehow my fault and I need to search myself for sins and faults? The shame and scorn I feel from the rejection is unbearable. Now God’s rejection. Why did God create us with sexual desire and need for human companionship, affection, and love from other other human beings if he leaves us alone and in perpetual prolonged and unwanted singleness? I don’t care how you spin it that is not a display of God’s compassion and loving concern that has provoked him to step in and take positive action. That is aloofness and ignoring desperate pleas for help and deliverance. Then, defenders insist on saying no matter what happens God is in charge. Like that is supposed to be a comforting statement. We are clearly surrounded by despair and hopelessness. Then God’s timing is brought up as being perfect as another excuse for his silence and inaction. Yet, people every day get overwhelmed by these very same things and take their own lives. Yet we are told God is fair. Character is determined by conduct and behavior not measured solely by nice sounding and flattering words describing someone. That is all we have to go on. Then if someone shows us kindness, and we sre it is not them being kind, it is God. My God does what humans are NOT able to do. My God does the impossible when it needs done. My God hears our cries and responds timely, not years later when it no longer matters and they are destroyed emotionally. My God takes his own actions that are clearly initiated and displayed by him alone and not to be confused with human effort. He does not delay in order to frustrate and generate fear. Then find fault because we gave up. This is what is going on around us on all sides. God’s unpredictableness is not reassuring in our daily life. He is known to be inactive and silent and we have no idea why. This very often goes on for years. It is truly defeating. I am living the defeat daily.

          • God is not silent. He has spoken in His word. It is our ignorance or our misunderstanding of what He has spoken that causes us to judge Him. Perhaps we are not willing to embrace the answer we have been given? I bet you there is something about this heart breaking relationship that should have been questioned from the very beginning, Was God the one that put you two guys together? Was Gods word or warning violated as you stretched for deep desire instead of divine will? Was everything done Gods way to stay together? He does not force His will on anyone.. even if your partner left.. this loneliness is not called for. You have yet to get to know God the way He really is because He satisfies all the longings of our soul.. You make God sound like this person who walked away from you has a higher priority in your life. Perhaps he/she became an idol.
            He is not going to answer your prayer about being fulfilled if His presence does not fulfill you. First learn to make Him all you need, then He will become all you want.

      • There’s something you’re not considering here. God is a loving father and he gives the best gifts. His ultimate reasons for giving are our salvation. The goal of the spiritual life is to align your will with God’s will. That is holiness.

        It seems like you’re giving up your free will, but that’s your fallen nature talking. Since the Fall, our tendency not to trust God…to think he really doesn’t have our best interests at heart. That lack of trust has been with us since the first turning away from him. It’s Satan’s lie and it’s powerful. It pervades everything we think and do. You’re not giving up your free will. By following his plan, you’re tapping into the source of your ultimate happiness and fulfillment. But it can be hard to convince yourself of that sometimes, which is why we doubt God and turn away from him.

        God is certainly not threatened by your desires. He wants them to align with his perfect, loving plan for you. He doesn’t view them as selfish, just sometimes not rightly ordered. Do be prepared to be disappointed if you become determined to go against God’s plan for you. You’re going against who he created you to be.

        The spiritual life is all about entering into a deep, prayer relationship with God in order to understand where he’s leading you. That’s what it means to really give your life to him and love him. You give him control and allow yourself to be lead. Prayer helps you figure out where he’s leading.

  4. “many people believe being holy means being miserable.” Yes; although in my life, the nearer I am to holiness, the less miserable I am, esp. when the inevitable bad stuff happens.

    • Yeah, that’s exactly it! That’s what people don’t get. The more I live this life, the less miserable I tend to be. The deeper you get into it, the less things seem to bother you.

      Many avoid the Church because they think it will keep them from what they want, but their missing out on what will actually show them what they want.

    • Helen Schirmer says:

      That is what I have seen on the romantic front. I was abandoned by my husband of many years. He began an affair with a married woman and divorced me. She divorced her husband and they married each other. In addition, he no longer has a relationship with our grown son and daughter. I have not been made aware of any resulting pain for my husband. It is just felt by my children and myself. I met a man in church that was supposed to be a Christian, about 5 years older than me and I was attracted to.. I did some mission work with him and became very enamored with him. He knew I was attracted to him on several levels and enjoyed his company. We had much in common. I mistakenly thought God had brought us together. Boy, was I wrong. This man told me rudely he had no interest in me. He must have also found me unattractive as a woman too.Talk about being punched in the stomach emotionally. As a woman, I feel unattractive, uninteresting, and unpursueable.. I was rejected by my husband and now a so called Christian man. I wonder if this man who has been divorced about 14 or 15 years, just looks at porn and no longer has normal desire to seek women for marriage. God has not demonstrated to me in any way that praying about this has availeth at all. It has been 3 years of praying. I have learned that God is not to be counted on to get involved., Christian men are not better than non believing men. Without marriage being possible in middle age, why worry about sexual purity? That only worked when marriage was to be counted on happening. We are on our own to find A silent God is an absent God. His message is don’t count on me, if I ignore you long enough, you will realize you should give up. He must want us to give us,because he is not showing us a thing, except we are wasting our time to wait on him..

      • Hi Helen. I’m deeply sorry to hear about the pain you’ve been going through. I can only imagine what you must be feeling. I’m sorry I don’t know the answers to the questions that are plaguing you. I wish I did. I can say that, in my own experience, when God was silent it often meant what I was praying for was not the right thing at the time. It sometimes took me years to realize that…usually because something else came along that was obviously the answer to my prayer but not at all what I thought it would be. Or, my prayer being unanswered was the better solution to what I prayed for. I can’t tell you why a fulfilling relationship doesn’t seem to be what God wants for you. All I can say is, the closer you move towards him the easier it is to figure out where he wants you to be and what he wants for you. And, that’s where fulfillment and happiness lies. Is that single for the rest of your life and closer to him? It could be. I’m like you, I couldn’t see where that would be the best thing…but I’m not God. Could it be he wants you single to be able to do more of his work? I can’t say. I only know that the answers are found the closer you move toward him. Following his will for you opens doors when other avenues are closed. This is probably little comfort, but I hope it helps you some. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll pray for you.

        • Helen Schirmer says:

          Not helpful, but nice try. I don’t understand why we desires in us by design, yet no light at the end of the tunnel. The church does not support womens’ desires for marriage being expressed. They must be taking their cue from God to not act in a helpful manner. I fully understand women giving up and accepting the attention of non believing men after waiting patiently a very long time for a godly man who never vime forth. It clearly is not a priority to God. Women are told they are equally responsible and held accountable before God, but men clearly are favored. I guess God just lets the chips of sinfullness fall where they may when it comes to the fallout from sin in the world.

          • I know this is late in responding, but Helen the problem lies in you, not God. I know that is harsh and I’m not saying you will never marry again, but it’s obvious to me, looking from the outside in, that you have made your ex-husband and finding a new man your idol. It has created within you a desperate, needy and cynical spirit. Why did your husband betray you?….because he is a man, not God. If you keep putting your faith in God based on the actions of others, you will continue to be disappointed. People will let you down. Your husband’s betrayal is on him, not you, not God, you need to let the hurt and anger go and forgive him even of he doesn’t deserve it. Forgiveness is for your sake, not his. It is up to God to deal with him and up to you to let that go and no longer let it define you…. it is obvious it is making you bitter. As for that other man rejecting you and the understandable hurt you feel, again, you are looking for acceptance from a man as opposed to resting in the never ending acceptance of God/Jesus. That guy obviously wasnt the right one…thank God that He allowed that to end, He obviously has a better plan….it cones down to ‘do you really trust Him?” As the verse goes, “delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of thy heart.”……you are not truly delighting in Him…..pursue Him the way you are pursuing a man. You are basing your whole happiness around finding a husband and that is unhealthy. Let it go, use this time to ask God what He wants for you right now and hand over your desires, trusting that He will bring it about when He feels it’s best. Right now, perhaps God knows in order for you to be ready for marriage, there is some growing you still need to do. I, myself, wrestle with unanswered prayers, but I’m learning to trust God in the silent days, the days that drag on with no end, learning to give over my desires and dreams to Him and trust Him. God is just as concerned with your journey as He is your destination. My advice, stop focusing on your wants and focus on what you can give…. Continue to get involved in church, not to find a husband, but because you delight in doing God’s work. You may find that as you truly lose yourself in Him, you will find exactly what you’re seeking.

          • Jennifer Willet says:

            Helen, I’m sorry for the hurt you have experienced. I’ve had some similar heartbreaks but not at the level that you have. My deepest heart’s desire is to be married and I find myself questioning whether that desire will be satisfied as I get older. I knew a man whom I believed loved the LORD and who was my good friend. For years I found myself waiting for him, believing in my heart that he was who God had for me. Just recently I thought my desires had come true because this man expressed mutual feelings for me and led me to believe that he desired marriage with me only to begin a relationship with someone else just a few short weeks after that conversation. I was devastated and very mad at God. I’ve been where you are at, feeling as if God doesn’t care about the desires of my heart. That he is uninvolved, even cruel for giving me the desire for marriage but no fulfillment. But God is love, and he has shown me repeatedly that he cares about when the smallest details of my life, and even now in the healing process of my heartache I’m beginning to see how what I wanted, with whom I wanted it, would probably not have been God’s best for me, perhaps ending in a miserable marriage with an unfaithful husband even. I firmly believe that God gives me those desires for a reason, and if it’s His will for me to be married, he is preparing me for that now, perhaps even teaching me first how to be most content in him. I will pray for you, and I hope Good Will help you to see that He is a good good father, who loves to give good gifts to his children as His Word says. But even a parent will sometimes withhold something because they know there is something greater to come. Ask him to heal your hurt. He definitely cares for you in your pain and in your deepest longings!

  5. Great post and ideas, Marc. I read this yesterday just in time to use some of the ideas in a conversation started by my teenager last evening!

  6. I think you have to approach praying for yourself in the right way… if you are doing it with a selfish heart (as in, dear God, please let me have a million dollars so I can buy a mansion), then it is selfish. However, I’ve always thought and heard from priests that God wants us to pray for ourselves – He wants us to ask for the things we desire, and even more He wants us to pray for ourselves about the things with which we struggle (patience, chastity, etc.).

    • I think you are exactly right Liesl. I struggled with how to put that when I wrote the post too. I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I really do think God wants us to pray about those things we struggle with and those things we desire.

      It might even be a good idea to talk to God about really wanting a million dollars and a mansion because perhaps in doing so he can help someone to heal their selfish heart.

      Thanks for the comments.

  7. Allison says:

    Great post.

    Mostly I pray that I fulfill the purpose God has for me because I know it will be far better than anything I can imagine for myself. Still, I have crazy dreams in my heart (that He put there?) about writing for His glory. I do this on my nights/weekends, and I teach high school religion as a “day job.” It’s not as bad as it sounds – I promise I’m not doing it for the money! 😉 I love the students and the curriculum, but I’ll admit that I have dreams of sleeping in late, working in my pajamas and writing for people are so interested in what I’m talking about that they would even pay money to read it/own it a book, (as opposed to speaking to people who “have to be there.”) Maybe I’m just in the phase that Adam was in before he got a companion – You know, the part where God gives him the animals! ;0 Thanks for asking about my dreams!

    • I can so relate to this! I have the same dreams!!!

      I have said the same thing to myself–I know what God has planned for me is far better than what I can figure out for myself. So why do I keep planning? 😉 Seriously though, so far he’s led me to a very fulfilling life, but still I dream for more…to reach more people and be a true agent for change in the world in order to further his kingdom. It gives me hope that this isn’t just my imagination or selfish imaginings when I consider Therese.

      Funny comment about the animals! I have no doubt you aren’t kidding! 😉

      God bless and thanks for the comments!

    • Strange that I have also gotten thoughts of writing for his glory

  8. Sweetjoyjoysweet says:

    God is just trying to be mean that is all to it. I have asked god for something over thousand times he never gives it to me so i have given up on god. I am looking for somewhere else for help.

    • I know it can be frustrating. There are things I’ve asked God for many, many times over years and still they don’t come to pass. I never know why because they seem to me like good things but he doesn’t grant them. Still, I never give up on him.

      I feel his presence all the time and I know he’s with me. When I look back on events, I often see his hand in things, guiding me and guiding events in the best possible way.

      Yes, there are things he doesn’t give me. However, I trust him. I trust that it’s for the better even though, at the moment, I can’t for the life of me see how. I know that he knows me better than I know myself and knows what is best for me. I work out things to the best of my ability and then trust in him for what I can’t control.

      To me, in the end, trusting God like that is the key to happiness and fulfillment. To look at everything that comes from his hand as a gift, a precious gift that has sweetness and sometimes bitterness. That is a relationship. You stick with someone through good and bad. You are for them and they are for you. I’m with God now and I know he’ll take care of me. I hope you’ll continue to trust him as well and not give up on him. I think he’s the best thing going in this life. I really do!

      • Hi, I. Have prayed many times over years for a wife, tried on my own, asked for friends help, and still nothing. I am 58 and have lost hope in God and myself in this ever happening. What am I supposed to think? Does God think I don’t need to share love and life with a wife? Seeing others with someone just makes it more painful and at times heartbreaking…… I don’t believe it is all my fault I am single. God can’t hold my hand or talk lovingly with me, or other relationship things that a wife can with me.

        • This, I believe, is the hardest one to answer. I honestly can’t tell you why a seemingly holy desire is not coming to fruition. The readings last weekend addressed this. Habakkuk cried out to God because his promises weren’t coming to be. He was frustrated. All God told him was, you have to be patient, they will be fulfilled, you can trust me. Of course, it wasn’t fulfilled in Habakkuk’s time. It wasn’t until the fullness of time in Jesus. Our part is to be patient and trust and try to see where he’s leading in this. I hope that’s some consolation.

          • I think I understand me what you mean. I just want to know when in this area of life and in this life , my turn will come… At this age it seems if aren’t sexy to the other sex you are out of luck so to speak….or else God just doesn’t want me to have a wife… I want to know besides hearing cliches about this what I am supposed to do. …

  9. Yohanes Usboko says:

    Hi Marc, thank you for the article!
    For me, I try my best to carry out what says in Mt 7:7 and then surrender to our dear Lord Jesus to answer.
    Again, thank you.
    Yohanes Dili, Timor-Leste

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Nice strategy! Surrender is often a very hard thing to do but also the thing that brings the most peace in life. If you can allow yourself to want what God wants for you then you will be much happier in life. Don’t give up your dreams and desires. Ask God for what you want. He’s placed those desires in your heart for a reason. But don’t be upset if they don’t come to fruition right away or even if you have to wait a while. Assign yourself to live on God’s time. He knows what’s best in every situation. He knows what you need when. But, if you prepare yourself for when it comes, you’re all ready to accept his grace and let it shine.

      Thanks for the comment!

  10. Hello Marc! I have a question about career. I have a certain dream career in mind, ever since I was little. And now that I am an adult and old enough to pursue that career, I have prayed countless times for God to help me achieve it, but I haven’t seen any aid or guidance. I know that God has a plan for our lives, but I am sure he lets us choose our career paths so long as they don’t go against the bible? I wanted to ask if God already has our career, spouse, etc planned out for us and we have to pray to found out what they are, OR God lets us choose them, but we have to seek his guidance to acquire them? Thanks!

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hello Dorothy,

      Sorry it took me a while to respond. I’ve been traveling this week.

      I think God has a specific plan for our lives and we have to pray to figure it out. But he also lets us choose it. I know that sounds sort of contradictory, but it’s not really. It’s not like what he has planned flies in the face of what you want…like a bad parent that forces their child to be a doctor when he really wants to be an artist. I think God’s plan for your life takes into account all your talents and abilities, the spiritual gifts God infused into your souls at baptism, and your personality. He created you with these things for a specific purpose that would fulfill you, contribute to the world, and build up his Kingdom.

      So, your desire for a certain career is his desire for you. He places the desire in your heart so that you’ll choose it and fulfill his plan. Of course, all this depends on you being in union with him and seeking his will. You’re right, the path you want to choose can’t go against his laws and Church teaching. That would not be his will for you. So, if you’re praying, seeking to do his will, and in relationship with God, you can figure out where he’s leading you. And, when you’re close to him, your desire and his desire for you mesh.

      I also know it takes patience and often takes a long time to realize. Enjoying the journey helps. And, if you’re constantly working toward your goal, you can see his hand in everything and understand how all your experiences are stepping stones to the final outcome. You also have to actively work and do your part to make it happen. It might not just fall in your lap. I like that old saying and I think it’s true–God helps those who help themselves. I think God rewards hard work because that develops you and makes you grow. Are you actively working and taking steps toward realizing your career goal? I’ve often found that when I take the initial steps and move, that’s when God kicks in the extra help that moves me further along the way.

      Hope that helps. God bless you in your journey.

  11. Colleen says:

    Great article but I would like to say that don’t think all desires are from God some are from us coveting what others have. We need to search our hearts to make sure that what we desire is in line with Gods will for our lives.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Really good point Colleen. I think you’re right. What we desire is not always what’s right for us. We have to pass it through the filer of truth, beauty, and goodness. We have to discern if what we want is really in line with what God would want for us and whether or not it would lead us to deeper faith and conversion.

  12. Hello,

    I just stumbled on your article and enjoyed reading it. What I struggle with is knowing when a dream is not one that will be come to be and to focus on other dreams that God might have in store for me. It seems like a waste of time to focus on a dream, God might be showing you is not going to come to be. This question is a big challenge for me.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hi Mary,

      I’ve struggled with this question too. It’s really hard to know. Honestly, I don’t think you can always know right away. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and chase that dream and see where it leads. You can’t always tell a blind alley until you go down it and discover it doesn’t lead anywhere.

      The key is in the fruit. Does the pursuit of this dream bring you closer to God and give you joy? Does the thought of it still make your heart sing after a while. If it does then perhaps it’s of God. However, if you find yourself drifting away from him in the pursuit of it. If it becomes a burden or burns you out, perhaps it’s not the right path. Therese’s goals were firmly rooted in God. She desired his will for her, which she was sure of. I think she came across those desires through many hours of listening to God and fervent prayer. The hardest part is knowing if the roadblocks are God telling you to quit or the enemy making things difficult for you. I think, again, it has to do with the fruit and the disposition it leaves you in.

      Does that help? Thanks for commenting.

  13. This has been weighing on my mind for a long time. I think it has stopped bringing me joy, because I have lost patience and faith. Thank you. You have given me more to think about.

  14. I’ve asked for lots of things, but only for others, and I’ve got them, I did once ask for knowledge and did i get that, amazing. God is real, he’s as real as you and me, I’ve proved that much. If you really belive you get what you ask for. read the bible, all of it, then do what he asks and you’ll know he’s there.

  15. Christopher HenryI says:

    I agree with Marco.
    It seems the key is with fruits.
    There is no way you can be an instrument to produce spiritual fruits for yourself, your family and others, by choosing the wrong way.

  16. I’m glad I got to this site. I recently seperated from my bf that I love very much. I’m very heart broken and in this time only god has been carrying me. If it wasn’t for my prayer and devotaion to the lord I don’t know where I would have been. Previous break ups I have suffered from depression and it took me longer to get over them but I never prayed to god or asked for them back. I was usually just a wreck. Now since I have found god and this break up happend I turned to him and still it is sad and I get depressed at times, it is a lot better my emotional state. But becuase I love my ex so much, this is the first time that I’m asking for someone back. It has been my desire to marry this man and have a wonderfull life with him. I told god that I’m willing to give my all to this man. I was just wondering if it was selfish of me to pray that someone I love comes back to me?? Like the previous posts on this site for me it doesn’t feel like a sinful desire. I keep on praying and believing.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      I never think it’s selfish to pray for what’s on your heart. Honest, authentic, transparent prayer is telling God exactly what you feel and what you want. God wants you to relate everything you’re feeling to him in heartfelt, honest prayer. That’s the only way to really acknowledge what’s going on inside your heart and present it in the context of prayer. If it doesn’t feel like a sinful desire then it’s probably a legitimate one. The question you should continue to ask is, does that prayer lead you toward peace or discontent. If you continue to have peace with it then it’s probably the path you should be on. If it leads to discontent and frustration, it might not be where God is leading you. Of course, when your prayers don’t get answered the way you want them to, it becomes difficult to stay at peace. But, perhaps that’s God speaking to your heart as well. I can’t know, only you can decide. So, if it feels right, keep on praying and trusting in God.

  17. Hi Marc! Thank you for writing this! This is exactly what I needed right now. I have been wondering if it is wrong to really desire something. People say God does not always give us what we want, which makes me scared and foolishly think,”Oh no, that means this dream will not be realized. Maybe someday I will be punished because I want it so badly.” But your article answers all my doubts and worries! God must have put His desire into our hearts so we can start to make things happen! But sometimes it is indeed a long journey to find the will of God. And after finding His will and aligning our desires into His, does not mean our tasks are done, we have to keep surrendering, praying, and doing the best what we can until it is fulfilled. Amen 🙂
    Thanks Marc! This is really indeed a blessing for me. God bless!

    • So glad this helped Maria! I love the way you put that, God must have put the desire in our hearts so we can make things happen. That’s a perfect way to think about it. It’s definitely not the case that he doesn’t want us to be happy, really dream, or really desire things. But the important thing is always trying to align our will with his. God bless you! I pray God leads you to realize the desire of your heart and his will for you is done.

  18. Hi Marc! Thank you for writing this! Recently me and my bf had a problem. We love each other, we feel perfect for each other but his parents is forcing him to marry someone else for their own reason ( to clear the both families misunderstanding) and pressuring him with their age and health. My bf is a very soft hearted person and he had to agree although he is not too happy. I always had the desire that he is the one for me and that we will get married. Even till now after knowing all this. I been praying and fasting that GOD will help me to touch and change his heart and his parents heart. Am i being selfish? I dont know but i still feel i have faith and that GOD will never let this happen. And i wont lie sometimes i do have the doubt that my faith is my stubborn and that its over but everytime i feel that way i start to pray and i get peace. My question is, am i being selfish? Is this a desire from god? And is my faith is from god?
    Thank you

    • Hi Anita! Thanks for commenting!

      Well, that’s a hard one to answer. I’m not sure you’re being selfish really. You feel what you feel and that’s sometimes hard to change…especially when it comes to love. Is this desire from God? Again, it’s hard to say. Perhaps God really does want you to pray for this. After all, he could change his mind. I think it’s important to try and see God’s hand in whatever happens. If he does marry someone else, it means that wasn’t God’s will for you and he’s got something else planned. In my experience, it’s usually something better. Just don’t turn your back on God or your faith if things don’t turn out the way you planned or the way you think God is leading. That usually doesn’t go that well.

  19. The bible is very clear about our own desires. We have to be sure our flesh is not waging war against our spirit in regards to our own personal desires. Jer 17:9 says ” the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it???”
    For me personally the more I line myself up with Christ the more I become selfless, Rom 7:21 Paul says ” I find than a law, that, when I would do good evil is still present within me!!!”. So as Christians I would encourage all of us to be mindful of our personal goals and agendas, Let’s make sure that God gets all the Glory!!!

  20. Hi marc, thank you for your posts. I find your thoughts helpful in my journey of faith. Ive been struggling for the past 6 years on how to stabilize myself in faith. I came closer to God when I strated praying the great desire of my heart. I prayed for it for years that it also became the reason why I wanted to talk with God thru theblessed sacrament. For many times God has given me assurances that my prayers eill come to fruition that I took them as promises from the Lord. At times I think of these promised as my act of over interpretations, that makes me lose hope and faith because waiting on its fruition is yhe hard part. Now my dilema is the two opposites. Gof promised me that my prayers will be fulfilled but the reality now is opposite ehat I thought as a promise from the Lord that makes me think God as a liar, though I know that God cannot lie. How should I proceed from this?

  21. Hi,
    do you think that the dream I have – to have the best family, to show other people that there is always good around, that you can actually live a happy, joyfull life, to be positive and enjoy life in a good way, to motivate people to get their life better and dream…- could it be a God’s dream ? I have a lot of dreams – for example I would like to be an artist, a music producer, singer, writter, dancer and those sort of things. I would like to do it for God some day, but I’m so passionate about a girl I love…she doesn’t know it and she’s not a christian.. but I love her so much ! :)) And she may never find out… and that’s why I just need to make the music, and it’s my dream to write some lyrics, create good music and put it on the radio. 🙂 I believe it’s a way to start me up and this love is really giving me that fire to my heart, to my creativity. I believe God wants me to use the love I feel and put it into the music, because I think love is everything and nobody should give up on love. Never. (what kind of God would tell me that I should give up on that love ? It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever felt.

    I like positive thinking and I think it’s the best thing out there. Is it a gift, a thing from God ? I think that when you’re positive you can do absolutely anything you want. You can find the good where other people can’t. I have my dreams. And I know that I need to be positive, to be motivated and to really do what ever it takes to get closer and closer to my dreams. I think that God wants me to go that way, to fulfil my dreams …I once thought that the thing I had (and still have) (confidence because of canadian hockey players, US country…yeah I know it may sounds weird) the motivation ( I read motivation articles on the internet, not only christian, but everything I feel is right and is keeping me going forward and motivate myself)

    well I thought that these things were not from God (that was that doubting voice in my head, boy I hate that voice) but I now feel like it is the exact opposite. It may be a God’s way to help me, because I really hadn’t so much confidence a few years ago … You know, I’ve had not so much support around me… my family is kinda broken, I’m not attending my local church these days, but I’d like to; and there is practicaly no human around me to support me in these dreams…so that’s why I think it must be from God, that support I found in those things I mentioned above.
    Ï think people often don’t realize that God actually gives a tools or some power to us to make our dreams come true. (I just don’t believe that God would want us to be somewhere in the corner and have nothing to eat, nothing to dress, nothing to be thankfull for)

    I believe that if I’m dreaming and doing anything for my dreams, it’ll be everything all right. I want my life to be around family, LOVE and friends, and God. I just want to believe and need to believe in those things…God knows my heart and I feel that whatever I might write down here, it’s still not enough to describe what I feel. … 🙂

    I feel like God has given me some tools to achieve my dreams. I feel like I have a power in motivation and confidence. I have had a LOT of doubts in my life so far, but the motivation I have still keeps me moving forward and hoping for the good days. I’m gonna say this loud: I have my motivation in hockey. I love ice hockey (I watch the NHL) and I feel it gives me the passion, that enthusiastic feeling….well, it’s not only hockey. It’s Canada and the US too. I know it sounds crazy. And I really can’t explain it right now. But I just in my heart strongly believe, that this is the way I should go. And that it’s a God’s way, God’s dream….PS – English is not my native language, so I think I made some mistakes in my post 🙂 … thanks a lot for an answer, I appreciate it.


  22. Hi,

    Since childhood I had a small dream .My dream does’nt require me to put any effort its just a gift from GOD but nw since last six months so many circumstaces have arrived that I lost beleive that my dream will ever come true. The moment I feel that my dreams will be acheived ,the other day itself I get some negative indication. Its hard for me to digest that my dreams will never come true because its for my dreams that I live so somewhere down the line I am losing the hope to live……………………………….

    • Hi Sadiya. Thanks for commenting!

      I know this whole thing is very difficult and can be very frustrating. It’s important to remember that sometimes we have to remain flexible and open to adjusting our desires to fit God’s will. We always have to be open to that. In the Gospel of of Luke, Jesus promises that persistence pays off and God will give us an answer. However, he doesn’t say what that answer is. It might be no, or something a little different. We pray to understand God’s will for us and to understand if our desires match up with God’s will…not to change his mind. If we get our prayers answered, that means confirmation of our dreams and the understanding that we’re on the right track. If nothing happens then it might mean we need to adjust our thinking, the timing isn’t right, or that God has something else planned. The thing to keep in mind is that God’s always has our best interest at heart. He knows better than we do what we need. And, he’s always thinking in terms of our eternal salvation. Don’t give up hope in God. Just try to figure out what it means that your dreams are not coming to pass like you hoped they would. Pray for an understanding of the situation and what God wants for you. Then move in that direction and see where it takes you. Always look to do his will in everything though and you’ll find your happiness.

  23. Jonathan says:

    Awesome blog. Question:

    Giving up what we want seems not like the God I think of. It’s hard for me to just give something up, Because if he gave us the desire, I’m sure he wouldn’t purposely not answer or deny us and be mean. There are many people whose stories I’ve read that they do align or receive with something just as great or greater. I don’t know why I would need to give it up or anything good ya know?

  24. Jonathan says:

    * & why do we need to mortify them or put them to death?? That doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.

    • I’m not saying we give up or mortify our good desires. The problem is, our desires aren’t always rightly ordered because we’re fallen. Sometimes our passions rule over reason and lead us astray. You’ve got to discern that in your desires. We need to put those to death because they cloud our judgment and complicate an authentic listening to God. So God puts desires in our hearts, but not all desires are from God. And, perhaps there’s some admixture of selfishness or pride in what you’re asking that needs to be purified. But with authentic prayer, that can be discerned and you can appropriately adjust.

      • There is no reason to just give something up, that’s nonsense. No one except you and God knows if it’s good or not. That’s my opinion.

        • But isn’t that the point? You know it, God knows it, and it’s not leading you toward him…why would you want to keep doing it? And why would God want you to keep doing it? Now perhaps you don’t recognize that it’s not good for you. Maybe you think it is. God, by his answering or not answering your desire, can guide you in that. He can lead you to what you should be thinking and doing. You may have to tweak your desire. But if it’s good and it’s something that could lead you closer to him, you can bet he wants you to have it.

  25. Almost three years ago my ex-girlfriend and I parted ways; it was a mutual decision but I felt liberated, to be honest. I carried on with my single life and vowed never to get in a relationship again. I enjoyed doing things on my own (I practice Jiu Jitsu, too) without the hassle of companionship and life was pretty good, so I thought. However, two months ago I felt this strong desire that just hit me to my core, telling me I was meant to be with someone. I’m not even sure if it’s God’s plan or desire for me, but it started with a dream that startled me awake because I had a wife and child that I truly adored and it felt natural. It’s really bugging me, Marc, because I was firm in my decision and this feeling will not go away. I’ve prayed, read scripture, meditated and even sought counsel from god-fearing friends. It doesn’t make sense and at some points, I’ve asked God to take it away because the yearning is just getting too strong. I guess my question is, if this is truly Gods desire for me, where do I begin?

    • The best advice I ever heard about something like this is–sometimes you have to go down an alley to find out it’s a dead end. When it comes to discernment, you have to try it out and experience it. My guess is, you’ll have to try dating again to see where God leads. If you find peace and fulfillment in it, that may be where you’re called. If you find discord and trouble, it might not. But God’s desire is not for you to run away from a vocation. So it’s not his plan for you to avoid something. It’s his plan for you to embrace something. In other words, you embrace a vocation of priesthood and celibacy. You don’t avoid marriage. Think about it.

  26. Hi Marc,

    I’m 24 years old and I’ve the deep burning desire to get married and have kids ever since high school. I crave to be a good father and husband, and what I want most out of it is to love my wife wholly and raise my children to be believers. I really don’t think thats a bad desire, but I’m not really sure if God will give me my desire. I know I will need a job and my own place, and that’s why I am working towards them first. But even then, even those things aren’t coming to pass. The worst part I think is the waiting…and waiting…I try to trust Him, but sometimes I find it difficult, and even find myself thinking things like “maybe God cares for our needs, but could care less about our wants. I want to believe that He put my desire for marriage within me, and that He will let me have it, but I’m not even sure.

    • what do you think?

      • Rusty,

        I have to agree, there seems to be nothing flawed in that desire. It’s right on track with what God says marriage should be. I think you’re right that the worst part is the waiting. The best advice I’ve ever heard on this subject is this–don’t become stagnant in the waiting. If this desire was placed in your heart by God, he will fulfill it. But perhaps he has something else for you in the meantime. Perhaps there’s some lesson you need to learn or some task you need to perform before it is fulfilled. God always has a purpose, and usually it involves us learning some lesson. Don’t become so focused on this goal that you miss the journey. There are many things a single person can do for the Lord that become impractical once you’re married. Maybe God wants you to do something like this for his kingdom and the experience you gain will be invaluable for your married life later. I don’t have the answers. All I can say is continue to talk to God honestly and communicate your desires and frustrations to him. Then listen to what he wants to tell you and follow where he leads. It’s only by following his will that you can become who you were truly meant to be. That allows him to fill your desire and his desire for you.

  27. Hi Marc,
    I have a desire to serve God, I always felt its from God and its a deep desire i have. I prayed and prayed, I repented for all my mistakes and tried my best to handle situations which were actually not under my control.
    I agree i messed it all up. I am regretting for the mistakes and the times i took God for granted. I am still waiting upon the Lord. Please give me your inputs. Pray for me.
    At present my life and things are sooo messed up that i actually dont know what to think anymore.
    All i can say is I have surrendered all to God. I want Him to carry me.
    I know one thing for sure that when God gives you a dream He has set a completion date, I had actually had everything going good at one point of time. I was actually somewhat living that dream, But i messed it all up. I am asking God to have mercy and restore everything.
    I want to grow in Him and do His will.
    Awaiting your reply.

    • Hi Robin,

      I don’t know your specific situation, but I do know this–our God is the God of second chances. If you’ve sincerely changed and desire to follow him, I don’t see why he would refuse you even if you did mess up before. It’s hard to say about completion dates. Perhaps there was one for that particular situation but I don’t think it means there can’t be a reboot or another opportunity. It may not look quite the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as good or better. I know in my own case, I’ve messed up very badly too. I’ve found the Lord still cradled me, even though I turned my back on him, and never gave up on me. I bet he hasn’t given up on you either. If you truly want to grow in him and do his will, he won’t leave you. Just keep your eyes open and trust in his mercy.

    • What do you need as an opportunity? Did you know God wants you to serve right where you are? You don’t need to look for a special opportunity to life for God, or to do something for Him. You can do so by honoring him in what choices you make in life, how you love people, how you choose to put him first. It is not about doing something big it is about God being a part of even the small things of life. It is the art of loving that will be THE ONE GREAT WORK OF YOUR LIFE, just love the way God calls you to love.

  28. Well for a good man like me that really wanted a wife and family, it is very hard for me since many women today are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, and very greedy. And i am sure many other single men out there will agree with me too.

  29. It may be easier to think that there is a god waiting to fulfill your desires, but this is your delusion and not an actual, ontological law : ) Fulfilling one’s desires is solely based on one’s luck and conditions. You either get them or you don’t, this is the fact of life. The universe doesn’t give a flying beep about what you desire.

    Best wishes.

    • It may be easier for you to think the universe is completely random and everything (including your existence) is accidental, but this is your rationalization and most definitely not ontological law. Seeing luck as the causal factor of existence is a way of justifying sadness, disappointment, and resentment. Perhaps you should try seeing the universe as a place where you have purpose, meaning, and value. A place where you were planned and loved into being. A place where you are known and understood by a Someone to whom nothing is random.

      Best wishes to you as well.

  30. This is so true, Marc.
    God denied me of baptism as a little girl(I didn’t have Catholic family) and boy this made me bitter and angry at God who is “supposed to be” good and fair.
    But He endowed me not only baptism but along with so much abundant grace many years later.

    Why the delay?
    Because first and foremost, He has the right to choose whom He wants to give His baptism to.
    After all, it is His Sacrament, not mine.
    Secondly, He denies even Godly dreams to purify the desire, illuminate the depth of the desire I didn’t even realize

    But He never fails to fulfill our desire, even selfish ones. He cares about our selfish desires too much so He purifies it to justify it and fulfill it. We don’t have to censor or suppress desires that seem to be selfish or “not holy enough”. God does the job.

    I love St Therese!


  1. […] found this article this morning (while searching for something totally different). Perhap this is what I meant by […]

Speak Your Mind