Monday, August 13, 2012

not on the same path: giving God some praise.

Well, I've come a long way since this day.  26 years of adventures, misadventures, lessons, joys, hardships, and lots of laughs have brought me to where I am today.  I am in awe.  God, You are so good to me.

I recently had a conversation with one of my dearest friends from college.  He is doing professional theatre and working on an MFA in acting in the south.  He's living his dream and I, mine.  We're in places that have been a long time coming.  It's amazing to see that journey unfold and say "I made it to this great landmark of life!"  He and I were talking, though, how easy it is to be at this point and look at the people that you used to share a landmark with.  Whether you were at the same place in grade school, high school, college, or the past decade, it can be tempting to compare.  Some people are married and about ready to have their third child.  Others are overseas doing Bible translating in remote locations or working on their doctorate.  Some are busy pursuing music while others are loving being full-time mamas.  It's amazing to think that all of us once stood at the same land mark.    It's so easy to think that some are ahead or behind of others.

 As we talked, I heard God speaking wisdom about journey.  You cannot be ahead or behind if you're not on the same path.  That still makes me smile.  There's no use comparing journeys or trying to measure the story of your life against another's.  It doesn't even make sense.  And how you do measure it?  You can't.  You're on a different road.

So on this 26th birthday, I praise You, God, for my unique path; my never-before-written story.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made--help me to hold fast to that!

I thank You for the many and various places in Your world that You've allowed me to see.  Natural wonders, historical places, rich cultures and people; Your beauty surrounds and speaks to Your glory.

I praise You for the wonderful people along the journey that have been characters in my story.  They teach me about You and show me a bit more of Your image.

I praise You for your provision and how You've steadied my heart through many and various storms and trials.

I praise and thank You for how You've called me to serve Your Church.  I am humbled and joyful.

I thank You for the gentle reminders of Your love and grace in my life and the opportunity to share those with others.  In You, is wholeness.

I PRAISE You for what is to come Jesus and how You are working behind the scenes!  You know how I love surprises!

I praise You for where You've led me through, where You have me right now, and where You are leading me next.  Thank you for being my faithful travel partner who navigates the road and unfolds the story with such beauty, grace, and creativity.  I wouldn't trade my path for anything.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

conversation transformation: changing my attitude of prayer.

Well, in the last few weeks, much to my dismay, I haven’t done much writing.  I have, however, done more than my normal amount of praying.  Not because I’m awesome and have mastered having a rockin’ meditative prayer life, but out of necessity.  Scripture says “be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  I’m done being anxious.  That means there’s been a lot of “presenting” going on with me lately.  There are things that I want to be in place right now that aren’t.  When I look at my life, I get frustrated sometimes because of the gap between where I am and where I desire to be—whether that’s in eating healthy, exercise, friendships, relationships, work or my relationship in the Lord.  It’s difficult to cease striving (the meaning of the “be still” in Psalm 46) and rest in who God has already made me to be.  It’s tough for me to embrace where I’m at, trusting in God’s goodness in the present, and just soak up the journey.  This is the downside of being a goal person—it’s difficult to simply enjoy the place where you are.

So I’ve taken to telling God about these gaps in my life.  Great, right?  Well…kinda.  I found myself reminding God about my situations.  I’d remind Him about how He hasn’t given me “this” yet or shown me “that” yet.  Ya know, God, I have been waiting for a long time for your best for me.  I’ve been here a few weeks now and you haven’t brought many new friends yet. I wholeheartedly believe in praying with expectation, but this was twisted.  I found myself praying with my expectations instead of praying with the expectation of God to show up and fulfill His promises.  There’s a huge difference.  I realized this recently and just froze; appalled at my actions.

God, I’m sorry that I’m assuming You need a reminder of my situations.  I’m sorry I’m treating You like You’ve forgotten me.  I’m sorry I’m acting like You’re not already working behind the scenes in my story.  I’m sorry for asking for more when You have blessed me with SO MUCH.  And even so, I can’t help myself in wanting more.  I’m treating You like You work for me instead of vice versa.  I’m telling You about how big my struggles and stresses are instead of boldly claiming the promises You’ve made to address them.  I am so sorry.

It’s a heart struggle.  I’m trying to achieve and have what I want to have instead of letting God be Lord of my life.  The thing is, God is in control of all things and all people.  He knows our hurts, our struggles, our joys, our dreams, the things we long for and the things we fear the most.  He knows all of that.  Not only does He know about it, He is working on it.  We need to address Him as so.

I haven’t stopped telling God about all of those things in my story.  We’re still talking them over.   But the way I address Him and my attitude about it all is so different.  Instead of nagging God, I’m thanking Him for already working on those things.  Instead of reminding Him about my worries, I’m claiming the promises He’s already given me.  Instead of pouting that I haven’t seen Him work, telling Him about my excitement of what He’s going to do next because He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  Instead of insisting on my will, surrendering to His and knowing that it’s going to be better anyway.  I'm learning to trust You, Jesus.  With the big things and the little things, may You be glorified.

There’s been a transformation in our conversations.  Well, at least on my end.  The I AM is still transforming me.