Friday, October 9, 2015

{Teach Me}: A Prayer

My heart, oh Lord, is full. You are so beautiful! How can I look into your face and find the most gracious thoughts towards me? How can I be so blessed as to see the outpouring of your love in my life?!
I see how you change people's hearts, how you shape their minds in a reflection of your beauty... You put yourself into our lives in miraculous ways. You give us characteristics of you.
In the lives of your people I see those who exemplify your kindness and those who beam forth your joy. In the face of some I find the unconditional love, in others, I see your Truth.

How I long to look more like you! How my heart aches to beat with purity -- how my mind wishes to pursue your Truth! My feet long to walk the paths of love. My hands reach out in anxiousness to preform your service. My eyes look up to you, my King, and implore your goodness to teach me these things.
This heart that beats within me hates the darkness that so often comes. My mind recoils at the touch of apathy that likes to creep in... too often my hands fall listlessly at my sides and forget the former passion.

And all of this destroys me. It destroys the woman I want to be in you.

I wonder at the strength I see others draw from you. I see how the passion they have seems to never waver. I watch in wonder when in their weakness, they joyfully turn to you for strength.
And I know that same strength is available to me!... And yet, I stop myself from drawing to you. I try so desperately to prove my dedication to you by my own strength... and forget that I am not the point.
No matter how I desire to look like you, I stop myself from allowing that growth that is necessary.

Will I ever learn to stop trying to do this on my own?!

The point is that I want to look like you, but seem to refuse to actually look to you for help. I try to draw from my memory of you, instead of the real you that walks beside me each day. And this habit that I've formed simply needs to stop.
I am sick of my flesh. And yet while I abhor it, I am still so susceptible to its guiles. How can I keep my resolve to look to you? I need you, Lord.

I have so many thoughts running through my mind and so many feelings held captive in my heart. I don't know what to make of it all, Lord. I don't know how to act, or how to use these passions. I have yet to learn how to glorify you with my unruly heart and wayward thoughts.

Teach me.

Those words are terrifying to my soul, yet I mean it, Father. I don't know what you will use to teach me, and chances are I will come running to you full of questions and broken with heartache... But Lord, teach me! Teach me to glorify you and praise you and look more like you. The struggle that I so despise -- use it to make me a reflection of you. Let your love be manifested in my life, in my actions, and in my words. In the desires of my heart and the hidden intentions, let your love be found. Let all of me become a reflection of you!
More of you, less of me.

Humble me, Lord, Break this pride the resides so comfortably in my heart. Take back your throne! Rule my life with your Truth and awe me with your love and grace. Dispel from my heart the secret desires for sin, the open abominations of you... take my life and let it be, all for you and for your glory! Take my life and let it be yours.
Lord, let me one day look back on this prayer and marvel at your way of answering it. Teach me to take your lessons without bitterness. Help me to trust you better.

Oh my Jesus, precious Jesus... Thank you for redeeming my soul, my life, with your blood. Thank you for making this change in my life possible. Thank you for accepting me with all of my infinite flaws and failures. thank you for not measuring your love for me based off any merit of my own. I stand before you in perfection now, because of the blood shed on that cross. Not because I have any hidden beauty within my soul. Not because I am in any way wonderful, but because you are.

You have seen my filthiness, and have chosen to wash it away -- continually! Continually you love me. Always, you forgive.

What have I done to deserve such favor? Nothing, my Lord. You cover me with unmerited love and infinite grace.
Never let me take it for granted. Keep me in awe. Keep my heart from losing it's ability to be filled with wonder.

Let my life be lived in awe and wonder.

Amen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Surrender

Fear. 

There are many types of fear. Fear has the uncanny ability to take on pretty much any form it wants. It is so powerful. We often let it control our actions, even when in our hearts we know what we ought to do. Fear can cripple our resolve to do what is right.

Let me be clear, though, it's not like all fear is negative. Some fear is healthy and good, like fearing fire because you know it will burn you.
But obviously that isn't the kind of fear I'm talking about here. The kind of fear I have on my mind is the fear of the future, or fear of change. Because ya know, I am one of those people who can have a really hard time trusting God with my long term. I try to plan everything out for myself, and then when my plans start to fall to pieces before my eyes, I tend to panic and let my fear of not being in control take over.

While this isn't always the case, too often it is. I am blessed in that though I am a control freak about my future, in the everyday I actually don't have much trouble trusting that God is in control.

That confession doesn't really say much about how "great" I am, though. All I'm really saying is that I'm okay with trusting Him with the little things, but when it comes to the big things, I think I can do a better job. I get paranoid and want to know every detail for myself. Not so great.

Another thing about me is that when there is something or someone that comes into my life, and it is super obvious that God brought that/them into my life for a reason... I tend to grasp hold of that and basically try to make it my rock. It becomes what I go to for support when I get scared about my future.
When God gives me a little piece of what my future could be, instead of relaxing and realizing God has it under control, I go the other way by focusing on that thing too much. It's like I'm going,
"Okay, God, thanks for giving me something other than you to hold onto! See ya!"
And how backwards is that?! But then... as I'm holding onto this thing for dear life, God steps in and gently shakes me loose and takes that thing or someone away again. And then I tend to panic.
"God, why did you take my source of comfort away from me?!"
And sometimes it might take me a bit (interpretation: it'll take me a large chunk of time) to realize that I should never have been looking to whatever it was as my source of comfort in the first place! Furthermore, by doing so I was robbing God of His place in my heart. I'd made that thing my god, instead of God!

Fear can blind you to what is true and real. I have a fear that my future won't work out how I thought it would, or how I thought it was supposed to.

I was able to trust God with my eternity, so what's so hard about this temporal life?

I need to change my way of thinking. I need to let God, be God. I need to accept and have peace with the fact that I cannot know everything.

I think part of my issue is that I've kinda bought into this lie that the world tells us. The lie that you've got to have a career plan, college picked out, a job lined up, and just all this... stuff -- and should I not have it all figured out, I'm kinda looked down on as some sort of failure.

It's a lot of pressure.

And so I try to figure it all out. That doesn't necessarily mean that I don't ask God to show me what to do, it's just that if He doesn't answer in what I consider to be a timely fashion, I start to freak out and make plans without Him.
And then I watch as those plans crumble before my eyes, and say,
"God! Why?! I was trying to get my life together, and you just took my plans and blew them away!"
And you know what... I don't understand.

I still don't understand.

Why does He give me something, and then take it away? I don't know.

Why doesn't He answer me when I ask for His guidance? I really don't know.

In fact, I don't know anything. And that's scary.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe I'm not supposed to understand, maybe I don't need to know anything, maybe this isn't something that I'm ever supposed to understand. Maybe the point is that I'm not supposed to understand.

Maybe I'm supposed to have faith.

Sometimes I tell myself that I can't have faith without a little something to hold onto... but then, that's not faith, now is it?
Faith isn't seeing and believing. That's common sense.
Faith is trusting and believing something that you can't see, or prove. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.
So to really have faith, I shouldn't have any idea of what's going to happen, but still have faith that is it's going to be O.K.

And darn it, that is simply not easy for me. But easy things don't really make you a better person, because they don't challenge you. Doing something easy doesn't require much effort or thought, because well... it's easy. Not that easy things are inherently bad or anything. It's just that they don't require you to grow. They don't challenge your ideas or values. They don't challenge you to examine why you do things the way you do.

As the Harris boys put it -- Do Hard Things.

But that's a tangent for another time. My point is, having faith usually isn't going to be easy for you or me. You have to make a conscientious effort to have faith, despite your fear. You have to face that fear, and decide to have faith anyway.
Kind of like courage isn't the absence of fear, but rather choosing to fight in spite of that fear -- Faith isn't saying that you're not going to be afraid, just having the knowledge that God can handle it, and believing that He will.

Faith is not saying,
"Okay God, I'm trusting you to make all my plans come together."
It's not telling him that you trust Him to fulfill your perfect plans for your life. No. Faith is about saying,
"Okay, God. I don't know what your will is, but I'm trusting that you're plan is even greater than mine. I'm willing to give up my plans to you, and believe that you will work in my life for your will to come about."
Having faith in God is all about Him, and all about His plans. Faith is all about His will for your life. It's trusting Him completely, with everything.

I believe it's called: Surrender.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Poem

I did a lot of thinking last night, and this poem was part of that :)

(Untitled)

It really is a myth that pain is always terrible,
Sure it breaks your heart - but it's also what makes life bearable,
It has to mean something - that your heart can still have feeling,
The pain is a sort of promise, that this world will keep on reeling.

All the broken pieces, that used to be your heart,
A peculiar type of courage and strength seem to impart,
Each day you'll pick up a few scattered pieces, and carefully paste them together,
And the finished result is going to be different - this has changed you forever.

There will be pieces that are missing, parts of you that are lost,
The joy you had before, came with a mighty cost,
Yet as you behold the fresh shape your heart has taken on,
It will almost seem natural that those pieces are now gone.

So don't run away from the pain, embrace it with all that you've got,
And as the emotions wash over you, enjoy this little thought:
The changes in your life, bring promises of something new,
And if you let it - this pain will build a better you.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Somehow I feel like this song is appropriate to have attached to this post.