When God Asks You to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do


Dear Barbara: I’m struggling right now. I really feel God asking me to do something that sounds too hard. Honestly, I don’t want to obey. Why would He do that? How can I negotiate?

Dear Friend,

It’s scary isn’t it? I’ve wondered the same.

I remember when, after an exhausting week wrangling five relentless children, I started feeling a little off. It’s sleep; I need more sleep, I thought. A short rest during their down time didn’t help at all. It’s food; I need a snack, I thought. An apple dipped in peanut butter might help, but it didn’t.

Something wasn’t right.

I didn’t want to admit it, but my mind began to panic. I had Dennis pick up a pregnancy test on the way home from work. I cried for three days when I discovered the answer. I wasn’t feeling off; I was pregnant.

“God, I don’t want to do this again!” God was asking me, telling me, making me be a mother for a sixth time. Really? I felt I had obeyed God enough with my womb, pregnancy was difficult for me, and I wanted my body back. Five was what we’d agreed to. Happily, I thought we were done, all baby gear sold at a garage sale. I was free!

But now God was asking me to die to self. Again.


Several years earlier, God asked me to do something else I didn’t want to do. With His characteristic gentle whisper to my heart, He asked me to shelve my art supplies and my dreams of painting for commission. Instead, He wanted me to invest my energy and talent cooperatively with Him in creating beauty in my children.

It was a death to self. I wasn’t sure God would ever return my paints, but I knew He knew what was best for me. In my obedience, I trusted His love and plan for my life. 

It was hard to put my desires aside. I couldn’t imagine why He’d tell me to box up those hopes and stuff them on the shelf. Bury my talents?

But I did it anyway.

At first, in both of these seasons, I saw only what I was missing, what had been taken away. Death is like that. The loss of a dream or a hope brings grief, which must be acknowledged. No sense pretending we are always happy about God’s plans and His impeccable timing that never seems to match mine.

I focused on life not going the way I wanted it to. I grieved not getting what I had planned. But then I reminded myself of what I knew to be true about God. He loved me and was at work in my life for good … always for good. Philippians 1:6 tells us, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion …” I chose to trust my Father in Heaven who rules with wisdom and purpose.

I know it’s true for me because it has been true throughout time. It’s perfectly illustrated in a Bible story most of us know. Jesus was walking along and noticed a man who was blind from birth. I love that Jesus saw him when the man couldn’t see Jesus to even know He was near. He sees us, too, when we aren’t looking for Him.

John 9:2 tells us the disciples’ first thought was whose fault is his blindness? Don’t we do that too? We see a handicapped child and wonder about the mother’s prenatal care or their home life. How many times do you think the blind man’s mother secretly wondered what she had done to cause and deserve this?

She’d been heartbroken and afraid at his birth, yet with the tender compassion God has given us women she reached for her newborn son, holding him near, consoling his cries. Like us, she experienced a death as she received this gift of God to her.

Jesus answered for all of us who have had expectations dashed, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

For 38 years this man lived blind. For 38 years his parents suffered this loss. Thirty-eight years puts it in perspective. Why would God ask me to do something I didn’t want to do? Why would I choose to obey anyway? When it felt uncomfortable. When it felt inconvenient. When it felt impossible.

Because the work that God wants to do in us is always heart work. And always He has purposes and plans we cannot see or know.  

The question for me and for all of us is: Will we trust Him?

Years of living have taught me that the unexpected is always an opportunity to experience more of who God is. When I finally stop focusing on my losses—and there have been many—I’m ready to see God begin to work His higher purposes.

My pregnancy with baby six was not easy, just as I’d feared. My feelings were all over the map in those months, too. But feelings are not the end, dear friend. Feelings are fair and valid. But feelings must be surrendered to God’s design and direction.

When I took my eyes off myself and glanced up, I saw a good God, a safe God I can say yes to, no matter what He’s calling me to. And you can too.

Instead of groaning over my lot in life and comparing it away, I can do as Jesus commanded Peter in John 21. Jesus had just given Peter the responsibility of feeding His sheep, and Peter’s response was “But Lord, what about this man?” implying, what does HE have to do for you? Jesus gently replied, “What is it to you? You follow me!

Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus. Let’s run hard and fast, courageously toward what He asks us to do. Let’s just trust that God knows what He’s doing, and choose to embrace it by faith.  

And by the way, baby number six, though a sinner like us, has been a delight since the day God gave her to us. His ways are best.



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16 thoughts on “When God Asks You to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do”

  1. Yes, I absolutely needed this today. Thank you Thank you Thank you God for The Rainey family & how Barbara is ministering to me & others. My husband & I have some extreme prayer requests that have been quite the Journey. After about two years of praying & knocking we finally have some clear direction & Peace, and we must Obey. & I just Praise Him for He alone has worked in mighty ways to change my heart 🙏 love you & Hugs from Florida, Kristy

  2. Mrs. LeAnna Fisher

    Dear Barbara,

    Once again your words, and Holy Spirit leading, have touched my heart and life. We were just evacuated with the fires here in Napa, CA and though I wanted to stay in our home and wait for my husband to get home from work, he said I should leave because the view of smoke and the sky from his vantage point looked ominous. The fires were cresting right across the road from us with nothing but fuel to make the already out of control fires more massive.

    Anyway, I had been praying and asking the Lord to protect our neighborhood and after suggesting to tell Him just how that might look (me not having to leave the house) I followed my husband’s leading and we came to my brother’s separately but are safe.

    Trusting the outcome of whether our home would make it or not was not what I wanted to do, I wanted to be there and see that it would be alright but God had other plans. In the end we’ve been able to spend time with my brother (which is so nice in these quarantined times) and our home remains in tact.

    Come what may, His ways truly are best and He knows us better than we know ourselves! (Is. 55:8-9) Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!!!

    1. LeAnna

      Loved reading your story of faith. Hard to believe fires are back in Napa. We see many of the images on news feeds.
      May God keep you and your house safe And may He use your faith in Him to encourage others.

  3. I remember when we discovered I was pregnant with our 3rd child, and I was devastated! We had a boy and a girl already and it was enough. I didn’t want any more children. I remember being angry with a dear friend who was delighted and planned a baby shower that I DIDN’T WANT TO ATTEND!
    Though I was a Believer at the time, I really thought God had made a wrong choice for us. But when that son was born he was such a delight how could I not have wanted him? When another pregnancy followed, I was totally reconcilled with what God allowed in our lives. We have 4 children 3 boys and a girl and we delight in every one! How many times I felt shame and guilt for not wanting what God had allowed. Those were learning times for me in my relationship with God. I have learned to be content with what God brings into our lives.
    Last but not least, the last pregnancy was another son, who is the only married of our 4, giving us three granddaughters. Not only that but he is the one of the 4 who lives close by. We are so blessed to have him and his family close to enjoy our granddaughters. As we often sing a song in church “GOD IS SO SO GOOD!” we certainly can attest to that!
    thanks for reading, hoping this story will be an encouragement to others!
    Best in Jesus, marje gillies

    1. Marje

      What a wonderful story of Gods goodness, giving to His child. So glad you shared this and I’m sure He will use it to encourage others!

  4. Barbara, thank you for sharing your feelings, so vulnerable and raw. Thank you for another reminder to keep my eyes on Jesus, especially when life is not turning out the way I had planned and trusting Him for His very best for me and our 20 year old son who died very suddenly and unexpectedly four years ago. As you say, the unexpected causes me to trust God more and learn more about who He is and His love for me. He has never failed to carry me every day of my life, especially over the past four years when some days I didn’t feel like I could take another breath because the grief and pain of losing our son was so excruciating. But God…He is there to remind me of His promises, goodness, & that His plans are so much better and higher than I can ever understand until we get to Heaven.
    Thank you for sharing you heart, faith, & love so honestly and tenderly. May the Lord bless you richly as you invest your life in all the Lord calls you to.. 💝

    1. Becky,
      I cannot imagine your grief. It seems an impossibility to me from afar. Thank you for sharing how He has carried you faithfully every day.
      Wishing I could give you a hug.

  5. Resonate with this for sure. In the middle of a miscarriage and wondering why God would seem to so clearly speak that we should have a child and then take the child away… But blessed be the name of the LORD who gives and takes away — and calls us to hard, painful seasons so that we can walk through them with others and bring Him glory! This is not our home, we are just pilgrims here. So thankful! Praise God He calls us to higher things and a glorious eternity.

    1. Javelle,

      I’m so sorry about your miscarriage. It is a great loss so hard to understand. May you know His nearness.
      Thanks for writing and sharing how you are believing Him no matter what. I am encouraged to read your words. Others will be too.
      Hugs to you,

  6. Exhale….this message resonated so much inside of me. First, I will admit that I was a little envious that you were blessed with 6 babies. God blessed me with only one child, although I have prayed for more. I am beyond the stage at this point and finally coming to grips with being content with what He allows. The second point is I have been teaching many of these nuggets about trusting God; doing His will; accepting what He allows; staying focused ….I admit, it is much easier to tell others but when our rubber meets the road whoa. Thank you for the reminder, that He does know what is best for us. Our will is to do His will! I am learning each day by day :)

    1. Well said Katrina.
      I have found teaching, which is mostly repeating for others what God has been teaching me, helps cement His truth more firmly. Grateful you are giving thanks by faith and passing on the lessons you are learning to those near you. Thanks so much for sharing this with me and others!
      Bless you

  7. Wow thank you thank you. One of the pivotal moments in my life, Barbara, was hearing you share your testimony of God calling you to box up your art and put it on the shelf at a time when you were trying to make motherhood and painting work. It was the same in medicine for me. At another critical junction now and this blog came up. I have appreciated your honesty over the years that you have not been a “perfect” mother but you have always sought God’s best even if it was a struggle and just because you have not always chosen best you never as you speak lower the standard to what you did but speak of redemption forgiveness and pressing on toward the high calling. I appreciate your testimony calling us to a higher calling where I am not encouraged to wallow and make a nest in my “but whys” but take my whys to God and allow Him to mold them into growth and purpose in His best. Blessings in your ministry !

    1. Neeta
      I so appreciate your comment about trusting God w the whys. It is all a journey. One opportunity after another to trust Him. Blessings to you and thanks for your encouragement to me.

  8. Thank you for this perspective! I’ve been researching homeschool resources today! It took so much fighting on mine and my husbands part to come to the realization that God wants us to dive in. Homeschooling is something we’ve resisted in the past as well. This year was the year that all of our kids would be full time in school and I could start a career. But, we’re feeling this pull… Thank you for the encouragement!!

    1. Apryl
      Thx for writing. So glad this helped you. Homeschooling is a big commitment for sure and you will have hard days but in the end u will be glad u did bc God is leading!

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