Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Storms and Scary Prayers

Life has storms. You are always coming out of a storm, in the middle of one, or there is one waiting right around the corner. You can never know for sure when the next storm will hit. I attempt to keep this in mind in my day to day life. I'm not a pessimist waiting for the next bad thing to happen, or living in constant paranoia. I just want to be prepared in my response to those tough times. I know God is there and he will be there to bring me through whatever it is I may face.

With all that said, in the last month I have prayed what I refer to as a "scary prayer." This is a prayer that when I pray it I am in no way comfortable with the response, but I know it will lead to change and growth. I am certain when I pray a prayer of this nature that it will produce things I'm uncomfortable with or even scared of. However, I do not want to become complacent and I need God to make me uncomfortable in order to push me out of my self-consumed little world.

My scary prayer was for God to ruin me, to make my heart break for what breaks his. Now, when I say "ruin" I don't mean asking for God's wrath to take me down (that would be so much more than scary!) I am referring to God ruining me for His sake. I want him to change my heart in ways that I cannot be the same. To not let me settle for anything less that He desires. To reveal things surrounding me that should break my heart. Things I've been content to ignore.

Even though I meant what I said in my prayer, I was most definitely nervous after praying this. I knew it would cost me my comfort. I also knew it had the potential to cause me some pain. I just didn't know how or when.

Now a new storm has come and in the midst of it God has begun answering my prayer. He has broken my heart for Him, and has been tearing away at what needs to be removed. I am experiencing new brokenness. I feel ruined, and cannot be the same. It is painful and uncomfortable, but I am learning a new dependence on Him. It's funny, I always seem to think I know what it means to place my dependence completely in God. Then a new storm hits, and then I realize how much I have to learn and how much more I have to depend.

The storm has not yet passed, not sure when it will. I have no Travis Meyer for these types of storms interrupting my favorite TV show to keep me updated. But, I am taking shelter in God, and while it's pouring outside I am being changed for the better in the process.

So that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.
-1 Peter 1:7 & 8

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Ugly Truth

I re-started my blog few months ago because I felt God pushing me out of my comfort zone to reveal to others what He is continuing to teach me. Although it is difficult and scary at times I feel it necessary to be authentic and transparent about my struggles. This is one of those difficult moments for me, which in itself is revealing of this particular sin.

One day recently I was praying when God forcefully opened my eyes to an area I like to pretend doesn’t exist. I often pray for God to reveal his truths and reveal areas of sin for other people, but when it comes to praying for me I tend to change the wording, “God, make me into what you want me to be” or I simply skip over the part about revealing any sin I may have hidden. I am so nervous and tense when I actually do ask. I’m always hoping there is nothing (which is ridiculous, there is always something). It was in my reaction to pondering if I should or shouldn’t ask God to reveal sin in my heart that he actually smacked me with it. He totally used my prepping panic mode against me. He shed a huge spotlight on my heart even though I falsely believed I was doing a great job of tip-toeing around in the dark.

Pride. Ugh. Such an ugly word. Yet, I continually struggle with it. In all areas of my life, pride is always hoping to take over and often it does. I want to fight pride off myself without any help which is technically pride trying to fight pride! (I know you are feeling very sorry for my husband right about now.) Anyhow, I was sickened to discover pride had become a part of my prayers as well.

Pride and me go way back…I always remember pride being with me. I hate to be told something I’m doing wrong--big or small--I don’t like it. I’m definitely not one of those people that welcome constructive criticism. I really admire those people, (my husband is one that continually amazes me) but I steer clear of things that might require evaluation. I have a few friends that are brave enough to admonish me and hold me accountable, so I tend to try and behave my best and try not to let them see anything that I might need to be corrected on. Oh Lord, help me!

You know what’s ironic: I can’t stand pride, arrogance, or self-righteousness. I am so drawn to humility in others, but I am always fearful of it in my own life. Pride is gross. God hates it. Here are some scriptures about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 Okay, to practice some humility I have to share a quick story this scripture makes me think of. My freshmen year of college I decided to wear shorts to Sunday night church. My mother never let me wear shorts to church when I lived at home. I was feeling so proud that I could finally make that decision for myself. That night as church was letting out I began walking down the brick church steps when suddenly I began to fall. And fall I did. I fell what seemed like forever, and it was a huge display. I skinned up my hands and knees pretty badly. Everyone saw and it was one of the most humiliating moments I have had.

Okay, back to more scripture:

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished. Proverbs 16:5

You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. Psalm 18:27 (Sometimes by letting them fall down brick church steps.)

Oh, and there are many, many more. Do a search sometime and see how many verses you can find. God is very clear how he feels about pride.

So this is me, revealing my ugly sin of pride—to anyone that chooses to read this—very humbling for me. I have tried to conceal it and refused to acknowledge it for too long. It is past due for me to admit this and give it to my merciful and loving God so He can begin a new work in me and free me from this bondage pride has on my life. I’m sure I have a lot of embarrassing lessons on humility in the near future…