You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need.  

The Rolling Stones


Sometimes no matter how much we may want something to happen, no matter how much pray for that gift, no matter how much we sulk when we don’t receive what we wanted, as The Rolling Stones said:
We wind up getting what we need.


Image from:


Easier said than done for someone NOT steeped in this paradigm, however if we can learn to accept when something doesn’t go as planned and realize it only means something better is coming our way, we will experience less stress in our lives.  Stop expecting something to happen and embrace life even when that gift you’ve been praying for doesn’t arrive.


It’s as I said in last week’s column:
Where Would I Be?  What if everything you ever asked for were given to you?  Would you be happy with where you are now?  I doubt it.  Remember:
God is in control and he provides us with what we need not always what we want.  A perfect example of this is profiled in the previous link:
Losing the opportunity to work at Chatfield Hollow brought me to the Scranton Library.


I so wanted to work at Chatfield Hollow and I prayed every night for it.  However, there were other plans for my life and I’m so much happier where I am now.  There are so many more examples that I could give.  Every time something I THOUGHT I wanted, Every time I prayed for something as a child and didn’t get what I wanted, I sulked, I became angry, I cried; as do all children because they are not aware that something better always comes along.


It’s one of the reasons it’s so amazing for children to be growing up now.  For we can teach them that what you want isn’t always what you need.  And The Divine is always looking out for you.  We MUST teach our children that just because our prayers didn’t get us what we wanted doesn’t mean they weren’t heard.  God hears ALL prayers.


You can’t always get what you want, but if you listen to God, you’ll find you get what you need.


While I understand that isn’t what The Rolling Stones meant when they wrote that lyric, it IS how I choose to interpret it.


So remember, God is in control and God answers all our prayers and sometimes the answer is no, but the “no” ALWAYS comes with a gift.  You just have to keep your eyes open and remove those spiritual blinders.  You will see the gift if you look.


Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.


Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

4 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. Marge Cohen

    Thank you SO much for this.

  2. Martha Orlando

    So very, very true, Chris, but sometimes the “not getting what we want” when our hearts are so set on it, can be devastating, especially if that “want” is a relationship. I have a dear friend who has just been recently let down by someone he thought felt the same as he did about the relationship, but didn’t. Praying that God has something much better in store for him.

    1. Christopher Jennings Penders

      Hi Martha:
      I know our belief system diverges in some areas. Is your friend still friends with this person? I hope he can get passed this because (And this is where I think our belief system diverges) I believe that we will ALWAYS be together, sometimes as friends, sometimes as lovers, sometimes as genetic family. If you feel like you can, feel free to share these three columns with him when you think he is ready to see them:


  3. joanie Andrews Sadek

    I love this Chris. My only question perhaps is the prayer. I do believe in taking your own actions… A prayer, or to pray… Is a hope perhaps that things will turn out well and that others will be ok… I am just trying to see if you are separating the two here- walking and creating your own path versus praying for one to open up for you. Does that make any sense..

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