Don’t Delete…Press PRAY

I almost didn’t post a picture of my husband and I on Instagram the other day because of some blurriness that was, quite frankly, almost unnoticeable.  At first glance, it was as if there was nothing wrong with the shot but after staring at it for a few seconds, I noticed it right away.  What a shame, I thought.  I absolutely loved the picture but knew I wouldn’t be able to use it because of this one defect; a minor one but enough to make me want to permanently delete it knowing there was no copy and I wouldn’t be able to duplicate it.  Despite the beauty I saw in it, I was uncomfortable with the blurriness.  With the imperfection.  In order for the world to see, it had to be…well, perfect.  This made me think about how similarly we sometimes deal with and react to relationships in our lives during times of misunderstandings and/or conflict.

 

IMG_0272
“I absolutely loved the picture but knew I wouldn’t be able to use it because of this one defect; a minor one but enough to make me want to permanently delete it knowing there was no copy and I wouldn’t be able to duplicate it.”

 

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us, if not all, would be able to say that we have at least one or two relationships that at times have brought us so much joy and satisfaction but subsequently have also been the cause of much inner turmoil.  And this isn’t to focus the blame on any one particular side since probably both had something to do with contributing to the misunderstanding.  It’s simply to point out and emphasize that this is the nature of relationships.  Sometimes they’re the best and sometimes they’re the worst.  Living in an imperfect world and dealing with imperfect people, our relationships will always be just that – imperfect.  It’s precisely in those moments of imperfection that we’re often times so heartbreakingly quick to choose to give up on them despite knowing there is no other copy available and we won’t ever be able to produce a duplicate.  Not that any particular relationship is superior to another but simply put each one is unique to us.  Unique for us.  Despite seeing their beauty, even in the presence of “blurriness”, we’d rather “delete” those relationships than “post” for the world to see.  And now, once again, I think to myself, what a shame.

What a shame but…been there, done that.

What a shame but…it’s so hard not to shut down on them, especially when we feel we’re right.

What a shame but…is there anything that can help change our hearts and perspective enabling us to remain in instead of out?

And the answer is yes.

The answer is PRAYER.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer.  Something happens internally when we pray.  The way we see things suddenly changes.  Now, it’s no longer “all their fault” but instead “maybe I had something to do with it as well.”  Our hardened hearts are softened.  Pride mysteriously seems to melt away under the intoxicating love of our Father.  Prayer is most definitely our most powerful resource and the enemy knows it.  Which is why he’s going to try and keep us from it at all costs making us think it’s a waste of time, just an idealistic theory and ultimately powerless in the end.  What a deception!

In actuality, the weapons for our warfare that the Apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:11-17 are spiritual because they are rooted in prayer (v. 18) making it our main resource in our spiritual arsenal.

Eph 6:18 ESV – 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

…pray at ALL times (in the bad as well as the good)

…with ALL prayer and supplication (don’t let the enemy silence you)

…with ALL perseverance (don’t give up despite what you see or are experiencing)

…for ALL the saints (not just the ones that agree with us, that are pleasant and have never disappointed us)

Eph 4:2-3 NIV – 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

….the emphasis here on “one another”.  You see, the bottom line is none of us are perfect. Today the offenders are them but tomorrow it will be you.  It’s just a matter of time.  And how funny how we generally don’t hold ourselves to the same high standard we hold others to.  There’s nothing wrong with having high standards.  What’s important is to give room for grace when others fail to meet them; the same grace we’ll want and need when we’re on the other side of the table.

So, the next time you decide you’re going to give up on a relationship because of conflict, don’t delete…press pray.  Because when you do, you’ll start to see all the good that is still there; what you value and hasn’t gone wrong; the stuff that’s worth fighting for.  You’ll begin to see the “blurriness” literally fade away against the power of love leaving only that which matters:  two imperfect people, forgiving each other’s offenses in the same way Christ forgave theirs.  Essentially, living out a love that covers a multitude of sin.  And what a sight for the world to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s to Blame?

I recently began a women’s Bible study taking an in-depth look at the lives of different women mentioned and honored in Scripture.  This past week we studied the life of Sarah, aka Sarai before God changed her name.  And man oh man, did her life give us lessons for days.  Never had I really seen them before but nevertheless, there they were.  None of us in that room were able to escape the reality of the truths revealed through her life.  There were too many to mention here but I will share one from Genesis 16:2 that applies to everyone, not just women:

Genesis 16:2a (ESV):  And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. 

Sarah states a very obvious truth at the beginning of this passage.  God was preventing her from bearing children.  But why was He doing this?  Why was He putting her through this torment?  The answer?  He wasn’t.  You see, in Hebrews 11:11, it says that “by faith” she “received power to conceive”.  In other words, it wasn’t until her faith was activated that she was able to receive the promise.  And that didn’t happen until she was 90 years old.  The delay wasn’t caused by God.  It was caused by Sarah herself.  He was simply waiting on her to believe.  And yet she was blaming Him for her barrenness.  I know.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  I had to also and it didn’t look pretty.

Truth:  God is not responsible for the barrenness of our souls.  

Now, you can judge Sarah all you want but the truth is, we’re just like her at times, are we not?  It’s so easy to blame others or circumstances for the lack of productivity, capacity, fruit, etc. in our lives when in fact, often times, the only one to blame is the person looking right back at us in the mirror.  We get so caught up in ourselves, our agendas, our wants, what God is “supposed” to be doing through us (as if He were our personal genie at our beckon call) and the list goes on and on…that we forget it has nothing to do with us in the first place and we sometimes start making things happen on our own, things He never asked us to do; things that are not aligned with His will.  If you keep reading the passage, the next verse shows this is exactly what Sarah did.

Genesis 16:2b (ESV):  Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.

Unfortunately, she decided to step out on her own, out of God’s plan, in an attempt to “help” Him fulfill His own promise!  How foolish.  She wanted the promise so bad that she was willing to sin for it.  But we all know the consequences for sin are never good and such was the case for Sarah.

Beloved, what He wants to do through us for His glory is actually so much greater than us.  And that’s just it.  Because it’s for His glory, not ours.  Let us never forget that.  He’s simply waiting for us to get over ourselves and turn back to him with hearts of expectation, full of faith, surrendering to His will and not ours.  No matter how hard.  No matter how long.  No matter how painful the process.

Is there something you know the Lord has spoken over your life but you haven’t seen its fulfillment yet?  Something you know should’ve happened by now and yet the days, weeks, months and years are passing you by?  Are there things you know you’ve been trying to do in an attempt to “help” God fulfill the dreams and promises He’s given you but it’s like swimming against a violent current?  Maybe it’s time to hit pause, connect with God and let Holy Spirit reveal what areas in your life are being held hostage by unbelief and pride, so you can receive what He’s wanted you to have for so long now.

Listen, if you’re saying to yourself, “This is me.” – don’t be discouraged.  Take heart in the example we have in Sarah.  Yes, she made mistakes, as we all do.  But despite them, in the end, she was still honored as one of the greats of the faith…all because she eventually decided to stop blaming God for her barrenness and chose to truly trust in His plan.  To truly believe He would do what He said He would.  To truly surrender knowing He didn’t need her help.  When you surrender all to Him, remembering He who promised is faithful to deliver, He’ll always make a way, even when you think there no longer is one.