I don't know about you, maybe I'm just different, but sometimes, when I pray, I imagine myself sitting with God at different places. At times of despair in my life, I've imagined myself sitting in His lap, crying my eyes out. Other times, I've imagined us taking a walk, or even meeting for coffee. (I don't even like coffee, but I feel like I would if I were with God.) There's something about imagining that we're sitting together like two friends that reminds me that this faith I have is personal.
And so last night I was laying in bed, and I started my ole' ritualistic prayer time when I abruptly stopped myself. My prayers always end up different, but they always start out the same, and it really annoys me, so it must really annoy God. (It's a good thing He's a lot more patient than I am.) And so I backed up, sat there for a minute, and I thought about how I start off my conversations with everyone else in the world. I realized I was doing a whole lot of talking... specifically asking, and very little listening. So I decided just to listen. I figured I needed to let God know so I said, "Okay, God, I'm listening." (As if He needed the heads up.)
And, I'll be honest, for awhile all I heard was the sound machine and the humidifier. I thought to myself, "Well, if He's going to be that still small voice or a whisper I'm going to need to turn these things off."
And then I got it:
"Stop asking for things and just let me love you."
I'd love to say that when God and I meet for coffee that He's so happy with me that He just goes on and on about how spiritual I am. Truth is, when God and I meet, He usually has something like this to say. Not condemning, not hurtful, but truth. Truth that He loves me and truth that He wants better for me.
Last night the message came loud and clear. I can give you a laundry list of the things I ask for daily:
- wisdom for Aaron as he leads our family and performs the duties in his ministry
- wisdom for myself as I stay home to raise our children
- health and protection for our family
- for my children to be brought into a relationship with Christ, and for God to already be working in their hearts (I've been praying for this for both of them since I found out I was pregnant with each of them.)
Tell me, what kind of relationship would you want to be a part of when all the other person did was ask things of you?
I wouldn't enjoy a relationship like that.
And yet I feel there was so much more packed into what I heard. It wasn't, "Alicia, stop asking for stuff." Rather, it was, "Don't you get it? You're missing it! This whole idea of me and you isn't what I can do for you. Sure, I can do anything! But don't you see that knowing my love is everything? Don't you understand?!"
For those of you who know me, and I'll quote a blog friend, "I like my words, yo," and I was speechless. I have completely diluted this intimacy I experience with my Savior. I've made Him a tool, a genie, a fairy of sorts whose only object is to give me the desires of my heart when He alone should be the desire of my heart.
Let's face it. If I'm loving Jesus like I'm supposed to be, if I'm experiencing His love like He would like for me to, then He gives us wisdom to carry out our daily activities, I know that health and protection come as part as His overall will for our lives, and regardless whether we are always healthy or whether we get in car accidents, or even (and it's so hard to say) if one of us were to die, His love for us has not changed. I fear that if something were to ever happen to my family that I would not doubt God, but rather, wonder of His goodness. Even knowing that He works out for good all things for those who love Him.
Granted, nothing I was asking of God were things He didn't want me to ask for. No, He tells us to ask Him! But to experience the love relationship with Him that He desires puts to rest many of the things in which I ask of Him daily. If my children see me excited and passionate about my relationship with Jesus, then do you think that will go unnoticed? No! A love for our Savior and for His church is picked up by children like radar. I'm sure Bryton could tell you now whether my relationship with Jesus is a relationship or if it's a fast food drive thru where I get what I want and move on, mostly because he will probably reflect similar tendencies.
All in all, I said very little to God last night. Not because I was angry. Not because I was sad. Rather, I was ashamed and there seemed nothing left to say. He didn't say much else either, but we both just kind of sat there for awhile. A lot like those awkward 'after fight moments' with your spouse, except, this time around, it wasn't awkward.
And after we sat for awhile I thought to myself, "Man, doesn't He have some planets to keep in orbit or something?" And I swear He smiled at me. How He loves us...