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I’d like a sure thing, with a side order of easy

By Hildie Westenhaver

In this gaming era of Ninjas that slice up flying fruit and plants that fight against zombies, I have to say that I’m still partial to the game of Solitaire. I love the way it’s done or not done. It doesn’t continue for hours on end, level after level. It’s just a nice, tidy little game. As I was scrolling through the solitaire options on my phone recently I noticed a button that said “Winning Deals”. The idea being that I can adjust the number of hands that have definite solutions. I could actually make all my games be possible winners. No more getting stuck halfway through and having to start another hand.


The ten-year-old in me thinks this is quite brilliant.

The forty-year-old in me wonders if it has really come to this. Have people actually gotten to the point that if we can’t win, we don’t want to play? We want our victories handed to us so we don’t have to work so hard? What’s the point of playing if we know exactly what the outcome will be? The uncertainty is what is so exciting.

My gut reaction was to think this is some sort of symptom of a generation of spoiled children and people who have been indulged too long. “What they need is a little struggle! A little bit of not knowing what’s going to happen”, I thought smugly.

Last night I was praying with my husband for an answer to a situation we’ve been struggling to find an answer for. The answer, like most times we communicate with our Father in Heaven, is not coming as soon as we’d like. We’ve been praying for months and at times our prayers have felt like they are falling on deaf ears.

I rolled over after our prayer was finished and wailed, “I’ll do whatever Heavenly Father says! I just want Him to tell me exactly what it is!”

Hmmm again.

It sounds like I want a sure thing. Why, yes, that is exactly what I want! I would like Heavenly Father to tell me each step to make so that everything works out perfectly and our family is deliriously happy. I’ve had enough of free agency lately; I just want to win!

I would love to have a little slider button in my life that I can move away from “all random” to “all winning”. Because the choices I make, even ones that I feel were correct can still end up having results that were not quite as stellar as I’d hoped.

I’ll admit that I have not wanted to play this game any more. I’m tired of it. I want to be lazy and not bother to do things that aren’t going to bring me the quick, happy results I’d like. I’m sure that things will all pan out in the Eternities, but that’s really far away.

Does that makes me one of those spoiled, overindulged children that I am so quick to dismiss? Wait, don’t answer that! I already know.

I wonder if there are angels looking down on me from above saying, “what that girl needs is a little struggle. A little bit of not knowing what’s going to happen. The uncertainty is what is so exciting!”

I’m pretty sure there are.

About Hildie Westenhaver

(Blog Team) was born and raised in Detroit, but is happy to call Austin, TX home now. She majored in Art History and Geography at BYU and graduated a week before having her first baby. There have been five more babies since then. Hildie is an avid baker and tries to fatten up the people she loves.

15 thoughts on “I’d like a sure thing, with a side order of easy”

  1. I totally agree with you! But two things I have learned, that I always forget while waiting for an answer – God works on his time, and you always come out bigger better stronger than before. I always forget that going through my challenges.

    And this generation does have a tendency to want the easy guaranteed win. That's why they have parents to teach them the worthwhile way.

  2. Reading this post reminded me of a talk I just read. The talk was entitled "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character" given by Elder Richard G. Scott. Here are some gems (to me) from this talk…

    President Hugh B. Brown "Man cannot live without faith, because in life's adventure the center problem is character building–which is not a product of logic, but of faith in ideals and special devotion to them."

    "As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise."

    "You cannot be passive in life, or in time the natural man will undermine your efforts to live worthily."

    "If you have determined to live righteously, don't become discouraged. Life may seem difficult now, but hold tight to that iron rod. You are making better progress than you realize."

    Sorry for the length of this response, but I just felt that those quotes fit so nicely with this post and I wanted to share them. The natural man begs us to seek the easy way out, for the "sure thing". I love the promise that if we strive to live righteously and cling to Christ, we can rest assured that we are making better progress than we realize.

  3. Love this post. Except I don't think it's that you are spoiled. You are just human. I tend to think God is looking down at us with sympathy knowing how hard walking on this side of the veil is. The fall is a big deal. It's hard to be a fallen creature.

    And I'm right there with you. I'm aching for some clarity right now with some struggles in my life and it's really hard to not have that. I'm so tired. It's like intellectually I know, as my dad says, "to struggle is the program" but whew.

  4. "The uncertainty is what is so exciting!" No – the uncertainty is what I hate the most!

    I often wonder if back before birth I thought this whole 'agency' thing would be easy as pie, no worries. I bet the angels watching over me are wincing in pain when they see me trip on a decision or have a tantrum about it being so bloody HARD! Bet I make them belly laugh too!

    Thanks for the post, I'm going to play a game of Solitaire!

  5. Yes. Yes. I've felt that too. Afraid of losing.

    But I know challenges create character. Do I need all that character? Can I just get the lesson from a small challenge? If I make this hard challenge for myself of my choosing will it be easier than what HF would send me?

    Oh. Life is interesting!

    Thanks for this post.

    And I play scrabble on my phone with random opponents and most quit if it looks like they won't win. I don't, ad I feel like I'm "serving" the other player by finishing… ha!

  6. I understand the agency in life decisions thing, but in solitaire? I played a few quick "Winning Deal" games just last night! And I felt just fine about doing so.

    (Cue evil laughter!!!)

  7. I needed to read this. I have been going through some difficult times and things are so dark I can't see and my prayers seem to be hitting the ceiling, especially since the basic things I need seem to come so easily to most.

    Thanks I say as I tie myself to the rope I'm hanging on.

  8. This post hits me hard, but I don't know how to like it yet. I guess when it comes to games, I've never been fond of the randomness. I hate games totally dependent on chance. I like the type of strategy game that can be (at least almost) completely figured out and conquered. Chess. Or Mastermind.

    A few hours ago I finally admitted out loud what I've been feeling since June…that Heavenly Father let me down during our family's cross country move.

    We desperately needed more space in our cramped home, our kids had very few peers, and my husband was working 3 jobs. I was sure moving was the solution. So I prayed and searched everywhere nationally and found him a job that paid 40% more and had a great title. His hire seemed like a miracle to us, and we accepted, prepared to move, and put our house on the market.

    Then everything went wrong.

    Of course our house wouldn't sell (though it did rent) but we had expected that. Meanwhile any suitable new home in a good school district kept falling through and we've landed in an expensive rental on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. My kids are zoned for failing schools, my husband now has a much harder commute, his coworkers are not very welcoming, his day job is 1/2 as enjoyable, and he's still working nights. The money seems just as tight as before, and the time together too.

    Can I replay that hand? What did I do wrong? What would I do differently?

    Ironically, before the move, I'd pled with Heavenly Father for a bigger, more efficient laundry room and some extra closet space. The rental we're in now (which we had to sign up for sight-unseen at the last minute) has both, in abundance. So my "prayers were heard" when it came to the least important things on the list, but not the big ones. I got my life improved in that one way while everyone else in my family gets what appears to be the raw deal.

    I feel like the kid who spent all of December begging Santa Clause for some great toy and then woke up to find something educational. Maybe it's even a nice, sturdy telescope…cool, if you know exactly how to look through it. But it sure feels like a disappointment during the unwrap.

    And I know God's role isn't to be Santa Clause…but…

    I keep trying to hold on in faith until I see the salvation of God. I keep trying to believe that there's some important reason why we were steered here. Or better yet, a host of reasons.

    Or are we just supposed to experience mortal randomness? I hate chance games.

  9. Anna and Anonymous Today–I've felt the same way. A prayer that seemed to be answered wasn't actually answered at all. The results seemed to make things even worse than they had been before.

    I have gotten mad at Heavenly Father in the past but these sorts of things have happened enough now that I just have to figure that 1) We might need to show that we have faith even when things deliberately look like having faith is foolish. 2) I just have to chalk it up to the refiner's fire. God wants us to be like He is and that means suffering though a lot of crap.

    That probably isn't much comfort, but just know that you are not alone. And that you will survive.

    Take care.

  10. Goodness Jennie. I understand. Yesterday evening I was so tired after manning FHE by myself, I just sat there and watched my kids scoop their own ice cream cones. Sometimes I want an easy button that covers not just the realm of decision-making and knowing the right course, but life in general. Silly.

    But I was just reading in Genesis 32 about Jacob's wrestle – his long wrestle – and how it was in the struggle that he "saw God face to face." I think there is definitely wisdom in the way God permits us to wander, wonder, and wrestle. We understand him better, "see" him more clearly, need Him more profoundly.

    Loved the way you wrote this post.

  11. Hmmm. So relevant to what our family is going through right now. We're waiting for a house to sell too, taking a job we felt prompted to take, moving in with family instead of our own home while we wait for the house to sell–renting it out isn't an option where we live. Can't I just have what I want? Sigh. At least you all make me feel like I'm in good company and haven't necessarily done anything wrong. Thanks.

  12. Anonymous, I've been thinking about you and your situation since you commented. We went through our own hard move (not nearly as hard as yours) almost two years ago. I wish I could say all the loose ends have been neatly tied off and I understand all of God's plans, but that isn't the way it's worked for us.

    As I pondered your experience (and mine), I thought of something that you may already have considered, but I'm sometimes slow on the uptake. I wonder if Heavenly Father provided you with some of the things you asked for (having an efficient laundry room and more closet space) in order to let you know that your heart and your desires are indeed known to him, even while he has to make you struggle in other ways? Could they be your own personal tender mercies in the middle of a storm, to give you strength to endure the other things that are hard, to let you know that you are in the palm of His hand?

    I love this quote by Neal A. Maxwell, "Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance." I love this quote, but I haven't come close to mastering this patience.

    Thanks for a lovely post, Jennie.

  13. I couldn't face church this morning so I came here instead. The post and subsequent comments have made me feel much less alone.

    What I have realized in my current trial, is that God "scaffolds" His support for me. In the days immediately following a colossal blow, I felt incredible peace. I was able to function when I fully expected not to. Now that it's been a couple of weeks, the intense peace I felt isn't as strong, but I think that's because I'm expected to "man up" a little. It's not that He's taking away that peace, but I wonder if I received an abundance of it, initially, to help me cope.

    It makes me wonder just how incapacitated I would have been without those initial days of support, judging from how hard the past two days have been.


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