Why Whatcha Want and Whatcha Get Don’t Match

God Sized Dreams 3

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” — King Solomon

“You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.” — Southern Saying

As I drive my thoughts zip down a two lane road in my mind as well. In one lane, I’m thanking God for answered prayers and desires granted. In the other lane, I’m feeling frustrated that my day-to-day reality doesn’t always line up with the magnificent vision I have in mind. I long to see a sign from God that one day those two lanes will merge. When will that finally happen?

It seems God has an answer for me. Um, heaven.

Oh, right. I should have seen that one coming.

We live in a paradox, friends. We are not Home yet. And on the journey to where we’re going, what we can dream up and what actually unfolds in our lives are never going to align perfectly. Never. I’m not saying that to be a stinker. I’m saying it to save us from one of the biggest dream killers: unrealistic expectations.

If we demand that our perfect vision be fulfilled then we will never be satisfied.

Not with our dreams.

Not with our marriage.

Not with our job.

Not with our church.

Not with ourselves.

“So why bother dreaming?” you might ask. It’s simply this: “Where there is no vision the people perish” {Proverbs 29:18 KJV}. In other words, our dreams and desires pull us toward life. They draw us toward Home. They keep us looking to God for his best in our lives. That’s a good and beautiful thing.

It’s only when we turn our desires into demands that we get into trouble.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t ya? Yes, ma’am, we all do.

What can we do to avoid that? First, we can accept that we will live between those two lanes all of our lives here on earth: the ideal and the real, the eternal and the everyday. Then we intentionally thank God for what’s less than perfect. And at the same time we keep pressing toward the vision he’s placed in our hearts.

We live in the paradox.

We release our expectations and yet we continue to look to the future with expectation.

One mile, one day, one dream at a time.

Yes, all the way Home.




  1. says

    I don’t know how many times I’ve uttered that Southern saying (I’m from Minnesota) to my kids. I’ve now heard them say it to each other! But I need to apply that to my life too.
    Thanks! :-)

    • Holley says

      It’s a great sayin’ no matter where you’re from :) And yes, I need to remember it from time to time myself!

  2. says

    Love this Holley! Giving up on my perfect vision being fulfilled on this side of heaven is what brought joy back in my life. Thank you for putting into words how I feel about this paradox of giving up, yet hanging on.
    Ps I doubt Esther from MN really rhymes “get” with “fit” the way us southerners do! : )

  3. says

    I used to be the queen of unrealistic expectations…especially of myself. Over time, God in his gentle way has helped to temper some of those expectations. We are not Home yet, and our dreams keep us focused on the goal and hanging on in the day to day. Holley, you just have a way of putting things so beautifully and clearly! Thank you for your ministry and your humble heart!
    Blessings from a southern gal who can rhyme “get” with “fit” lol.,

  4. says

    Our dreams “keep us looking to God for his best in our lives.” Indeed, “that’s a good and beautiful thing.” Thank you, Holley, for the wisdom of your words, which can be a daily commitment: Today, Lord, I look to you for your best–what you want me to learn, what you want me to do for others, what attitudes you want me to manifest. And those endeavors, I know, will result in good and beautiful things. Thank you, Father.

  5. maria says

    You are so right! We have to be always living for His purposes in our lives, looking for them, following them (Him) to be truly at peace and, dare I say, happy. It’s not all about us and yet, when we let go of trying to force things to work our way, we find the very things our hearts long for most! The paradox He told us about “lose your life for My sake, find it; find your life, and lose it. It’s not a punishment, it is how He set things up – it really is a true and greater blessing! Thank you for a great reminder to stay on track – His track for us; it’s what we are made for and where we will find our true selves!!

  6. says

    Sigh a relief – I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with expectations at times. Thank you for reminder that my God Size Dream is design to point me towards my FOREVER HOME and each day it’s bringing me closer to my Heavenly Father.

  7. Deb says

    It’s tough with some saying we have unrealistic expectations thus making us expect less than we deserve, stay in abusive situations, and hold on to guilt needlessly. Then the other side tells us to shoot for the stars because God wants us to have the best. Expect good things. God is all good and all caring. We are told we should have a happy marriage and a loving family if we are good and obey God. I am all these things and loyal, yet it is not truth we will have all these things. I am also not to blame if I do not have such things. If I expect less from people, it is what I will get and allow myself to become depressed with. I am tired of settling and the guilt put upon me for feeling I and my children deserve better.

  8. says

    I am from Alabama and I have heard that quote so many times in my life.

    Thank you for this post. I struggle so much with unrealistic expectations or I waver between feeling so happy with how I’ve been blessed in my life and worrying when the other shoe is going to drop. I struggle with making lists and thinking, “When [this happens], I will finally feel good about myself/be stable and secure/happy…” and then I get it and lo and behold, there’s something else that frustrates me and I try to do the same thing over and over again. That’s called insanity.

    It can be so frustrating to never be quite where you want to be or who you want to be or have the life you dream of, but oh how God can bring things in your life that are totally unexpected and outside of your plans and how He knows us better than we know ourselves. I have tried to plan and plot out my whole life and that’s not only frustrating but when I look back at all the times I fought with God on this, I see how BORING my life would have been if everything had worked out my way! So yeah, nothing will be exactly how we want it and we will never be 100% who we want to be on this side of heaven, but God is not boring or lame or out to be the big bully that dangles everything we want over our heads just outside of our reach and taunts us while we jump up and down and try to get it. He is brought events and experiences and people into my life that I never could have planned for and even when I’m frustrated, I live in the amazement of this awesome life God has given me. :)

    • Deb says

      You have a great attitude and I wish you the best forever. Your picture looks very young and you have a ways to go yet. Some are not as blessed believe it or not. Hope keeps me going through endless frustrations and pain. I have compromised through years of unanswered prayer, something I don’t like to do. I sometimes lower expectations and settle and say thanks. When you are asking for love, health and happiness for yourself and loved ones, expectations are always high.

  9. says

    Thank you for this today, Holly, but some days, I have to admit, that I have forgotten how to dream, as my first husband died of cancer and I was in my 20’s
    and raising two little boys alone, and my second husband I had to divorce, due
    to his starting drugs/alcohol/physically aggressive, and would not stop. I now am
    a single mom of 5 kids, but 2 are on their own, one other graduated from college
    one is graduating from college in a few weeks, and my youngest is in high school.
    I just feel lost most of the time. Thank you though, KL

    • Deb says

      Kathleen, You have triumphed over many tough situations. Your children are the good and the blessing you have and will always have in your life for years. Cherishing them will bring you loving rewards now and later. Life is not fair and can be very hard for some. Hang in there and stay strong. I have been through alot too, and send you my concern and best wishes for more happiness for you. You can email me any time if you need a friend. Deb. dkbaub@aol.com

  10. says

    You are so right on! It’s a shame we have to be reminded of this so often! Thank you Holley!
    I look forward to your next e-mail! You are special indeed!
    From one “Southern Gal” to another…..I’m from EAST TEXAS…..if you could hear me talk….you would know I’m a “hick-from-the stiks”! HA!
    Have a BLESSED DAY…….:)

  11. says

    Being from the Northeast, I have never heard that saying. Utterly priceless! I will have to use it on my soon to be born grandchild. :-)

    Just love your post. It reminds me of something Bruce Wilkinson wrote in The Prayer of Jabez: If He knows that heaven is a much better place for you, then why on earth has He left you here? …because God wants you to be moving out your boundary lines, taking in new territory for Him—maybe an island—and reaching people in His name.

  12. Ashley says

    Thank you, dear sister in Christ! This is so comforting. When I read your blog, I think that you must be following me around and reading my mind! This dilemma goes through my mind so frequently… “So why bother dreaming?” – YES, I DO ASK THAT! Thank you for the answer to my questions…
    “our dreams and desires pull us toward life. They draw us toward Home. They keep us looking to God for his best in our lives. That’s a good and beautiful thing.”

  13. says

    I needed to be reminded of this “so” much today as the weight of many current
    issues in our lives has really made me “too” earth oriented instead of “heaven”
    oriented. Thank Jesus for always being with us as HIS children and steering us
    in the paths we should be walking.Thank you for your website and spiritual
    wisdom you give.
    God bless you richly

  14. says

    Oh Holley, it is so good to read what you have written about unrealistic expectations. Time after time, I had all my idealistic expectations dashed to the ground. I have had broken dreams, and I would pop back optimistic and ready to go again. The problem is I kept seeing the bad come out in other Christians? (the question mark is because I kind of wondered about some of them). However, God is so good. He is the one to keep our eyes on. I a thankful for His many blessings.

  15. Holley says

    Thank you so much for your comments today, friends! Y’all’s hearts are so beautiful and I’m so thankful we’re on this journey together…learning how to live in the paradox.

  16. says

    I see this in my own life and in the life of my clients as a counselor. When we are no longer just in survival mode (and praise God for that!) we must navigate our expectations. Thank you for reframing and reminding.

  17. Shel says

    I was very encouraged and want to thank you for your encouragement… in fact I ordered a couple of your books.
    I like this quote…
    “When your dreams meet reality… choose HOPE.” ‘
    -Jeff Henderson
    North Point Community Church

  18. says

    I love what you said about when desires become demands then we get in trouble. Yes! It’s true…I’ve seen it….I’ve seen unrealistic demands cause dreams to crash and burn. This can affect not only yourself but have far reaching effects on others.

  19. Pam says

    I love each of your posts, they always have a way of speaking to me, but this one was different…I can’t stop thinking about it! I am a dreamer, and wear my dreams on my sleeve, so to speak. It’s heartbreaking to see a dream die, even though I take comfort in knowing “God’s will be done”. With this post, you have helped me see clearly (for the very first time) that God WANTS me to dream, for dreams have the power to keep me “looking to God for the best in my life”. You have lifted a heavy burden from me, one I didn’t even know I was carrying, by showing me that dreams are far from frivolous. God is so good to grant us the privilege to dream. May we never stop! Thank you, Holley!

  20. erica says

    I am so confused…I cant dream anymore, its too dissapointing when nothing happens I have been dreaming praying for yeras for my son to be sttled in a marriage i hate the loneliness he feels I know the pain cause thats where I am , widowd andf alone and I pray God wld just settle my son. I am scared to dream,,,,nothing happens, what do we then do as Christians. I am struggling.. where is my God

    • Gaynor says

      I also keep on praying for my children who are bent on their own ways. It is hard when we don’t seem to see answered prayer but I know that God DOES hear when we cry out to Him and He WILL answer in His perfect time. I choose to trust even when I don’t understand because God sees and hears His children. It is not a feeling but by Faith I am assured that God answers prayer…He is there even in our dark night of the soul. I can’t see the stars on a cloudy night but I know they are there even if there are hidden from view…

      • erica says

        thanks Gaynor, had a really bad day today. Vented so much with God, I pray he could handle my anger and bitterness. I just pray for Gods mercy in teh upcoming days. i need His mercy, grace and love in a really tangible way, i am so tired…


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