Are You Settling for Less?
by Cindi McMenamin / Author
Are you a mom who longs for something more in your life and yet have constantly heard that you shouldn’t?
Whether you’re longing for more intimacy in your marriage, hoping for another child, or even dreaming of a job or experience that is burning on your heart — I’m sure you’ve heard your share of these well-intentioned remarks…
“At least you have a husband.”
“At least you already have achild.”
“Well, at least you’re healthy.”
“At least you still have________________
“At least you don’t suffer with _____________”
Oh, the sting of well-intentioned remarks. And, oh the sting of those two guilt-ridden words: “At least….”
As I’ve ministered to women over the past 30 years, I have seen so many settle for “at least” in their life. And yet, I believe that if God who went to such great extremes to show His love for you and me by having His only Son die on the cross for us, then He did not intend for us to be content with “at least.”
Yes, God’s Word says we are to be thankful “in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He also tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). But God doesn’t want our gratitude and contentment to be a form of resignation (“I guess I should be happy with this, since it’s all I will ever get anyway”). Rather, God wants His children to be full of anticipation for the “more” that He is so capable of giving — to the point that we thank Him ahead of time for all that He is about to do. This God who tells us to be thankful in all things actually raises the bar when we decide to settle for less or at least what life brings us.
In Ephesians 3:20, we are told that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” You and I often hear or think or say the words “at least” when it comes to our lives. And yet God’s Word says:
- “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22).
- “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:24).
- He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
- “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
Those words, my friend, come from a God who is not stingy, and who doesn’t bow out after He’s done the very minimum in your life. He is, instead, the God who says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Hannah, the woman we read of in the Old Testament who longed to have a baby, had a husband who couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t content with her childless life. After all, she had him and he was pretty great, or so he thought. Scripture tells us Hannah’s husband actually said to her: “Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8, NLT). Hannah could have hung her head in shame and responded by saying, “Elkanah, you’re right. You are good to me and who am I to want more than a husband who loves me? I will give up this dream for a child and face reality. Apparently God doesn’t want me to be a mom, after all.”
Yes, Hannah could have said that and, although it sounds humble, grateful, and almost spiritual, it also sounds faithless. Hannah would have been giving up, throwing in the towel, conceding to her circumstances, rather than believing God for what appeared to be impossible.
When Abraham’s wife, Sarah, laughed and doubted that God could give her a child in her old age, the Angel of the Lord rebuked her by saying straight-out to Abraham. “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Maybe those words echoed in Hannah’s ears, giving her hope, even though she was being told that she had enough. Hannah was still of child-bearing age. Her situation wouldn’t even take a miracle, as Sarah’s situation did. Hannah must have known that God is still the Giver of every good gift and the One who could make anything possible. Hannah chose to pour her heart out to God and ask Him for the “immeasurably more” that she was hoping for, and she eventually received all she longed for.
Perhaps those words from the Angel of the Lord (“Is anything too difficult for the Lord?) need to echo in our ears, too, each time we begin to think Why should I even pray for this? What are the odds of this happening? Maybe I should be happy that at least ….
You and I have our reasons for not coming to God and pouring out our hearts. Sometimes it’s because we feel guilty about asking God for something. Other times it’s because we don’t really believe that He would want to bless our lives or we feel we don’t deserve anything more from Him. When you and I say “I don’t really deserve any more than I have right now,” we are actually correct in our assumption, because God doesn’t give us good gifts because we deserve them. He gives us good gifts because He is good and compassionate and wants to bless His children.
So, what are you settling for? A so-so marriage that God could grab hold of and make so much better? A job you tolerate because you don’t believe God has something better out there for you? A diagnosis that appears untreatable?
Don’t fall into the mind-set of saying “I don’t believe God can or will give me any more” or “I don’t deserve more than what I already have.” Instead, remember that God can do anything and He loves to bless His children. Don’t be reluctant to pour out your heart to Him. Rather than settle for the least in your life, allow for the possibility God may want to do “immeasurably more than all (you) ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the best-selling author of When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold) and a dozen other books including When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and her newest release, When God Sees Your Tears, upon which this article is based. For more resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and relationships with God and others, see her website: www.strengthforthesoul.com.