The Secret to Getting What You Want

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If there’s one thing that really annoys me, it’s when someone uses the last packet or last unit of something from the cupboard and doesn’t tell me that we’ve run out.

I guess the kids assume that because I know everything, I can automatically tell that I need to add things on to my shopping list – even if I wasn’t in the kitchen, or even in the house as the last bit of whatever it was, was used.

Then, as I walk back in the door after braving the supermarket, without fail one of them will ask ‘did you get more rice cakes – we don’t have any left and I need them for lunch tomorrow’… or it might be milk, or it might be cocoa powder, or it might be rice, or potatoes, or carrots… anyway, you get the idea.

All it would have taken was for whoever used the last of what we had to let me know that we’d run out, and I would have bought more.

We don’t live far from the shops, but with all the extra covid precautions and mask wearing I really try to limit the amount of time that I spend wandering the aisles.

Maybe this lack of communication from children is to be expected, although if you have any suggestions or ideas that have worked in your household to get around this problem – make sure you leave a comment and let me know what they are!

So as I’m arriving home, pretty much the first thing my children ask me (and this is usually before I even set foot in the house) is whether I bought them any treats while I was shopping.

Perhaps it wasn’t a great precedent to set, but when they were little, I used to reward good behavior as we were shopping with a small treat that we would pick up right at the very end of our shop.

This would usually be something really small, no more than $1 each, and it wouldn’t happen every shop, and it wouldn’t happen if there was any nagging or impatience while we navigated the supermarket.

Now that they’re older and both at school, I do most of the shopping without them – but over the last year with the lock down in Melbourne – they weren’t allowed to come shopping with me, but they were at home when I went rather than being at school.

So every time I came back… they wanted to know if I had treats with me.

You can probably already tell where I’m going with these stories.

So we’ve got some poor communication about what our shopping needs are, and we’ve got some expectations about what we think we deserve in terms of treats.

A lot of the time, even as adults, when we don’t get something that we want, we complain about it.

When I go shopping and I come home without a treat for them, my children certainly let me know that they’re disappointed.

And when we’ve run out of something as a family, and I come home without a replacement, they’re not happy either.

So is there an answer?

Well, one of my children has worked out that there is one technique that increases her chances of me buying her a treat when I’m at the shops.

Every time, without fail, that she hears that I’m going shopping, before I even leave the house, she asks me to please buy us all some chocolate.

Now I know that what she wants is for me to buy her some chocolate – she wants a treat.

And she knows that there’s a chance that I might not come home with chocolate.

But what she’s worked out, is that she’s got a far greater chance of me buying chocolate if she asks me, than if she doesn’t ask me.

And what I’ve found is the same principle applies when we feel like we’re in need of something from God, whether that’s the resolution of a health issue that’s been slowing us down, or something that we feel we need to make our lives more productive for the kingdom.

A lot of the time, the reason that we don’t get what we want, is that we haven’t asked God to give it to us – or if we have, we haven’t approached God with the right motive.

In James chapter 4, verse 2 it says pretty bluntly – we do not have because we do not ask God.

Verse 3 goes on to say that “when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

So we need to be careful that we’re not asking for anything that is frivolous – like asking for a treat for ourselves that will be consumed in a few seconds.

Luke Chapter 11 verse 9 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

My daughter knows that by asking her mother to buy some chocolate, she was more likely to get chocolate than if she didn’t ask for any.

And if she asks for chocolate for all of us, I’m more likely to buy it than if she were just asking for a treat for herself.

And if we’ve run out of something, there’s a far better chance of me remembering to get some more if someone actually asks me to.

The key here is in the asking.

One thing I find myself saying quite a lot to the ladies who come along to the bible studies that I run is that I’m a bit like their hairdresser – I’m always happy to see them, but I never really know when they need to see me – and all it takes for me to make some 1 on 1 time for them is for them to ask.

In the same way (but infinitely better) God is waiting to give us, his children, good gifts.

That’s a promise of God right there.

Ask and it will be given to you. Psalm 2 verse 8 says “ask me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

That takes everything to a whole new level, don’t you think?

Until next time, blue skies!

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P.P.S. If you have a friend who might benefit from this message, make sure you take the time right now to share this with them!

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