Stop Praying.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed (for the first time in a while). I opened up my new journal to a verse that stopped me in my tracks. I was feeling dry, I was feeling empty, I wasn’t feeling much of anything. I was having the “dry bones” syndrome like a previous blog I wrote, and it was my fault. There are times in my life where the distance between God and I grows so deep that I feel weird approaching Him again. It’s like an old friend that you were once so close to you would tell them anything, and then one day goes by, then two, and then well, it’s just awkward. I was feeling that, yet reminding myself that it’s not how God works. He never went anywhere, I did. He doesn’t change EVEN when we grow distant or make mistakes. His love is unconditional and isn’t based on how good we’re doing at this whole thing. So I reminded myself of those things and forged ahead, building back the intimacy I had lost little by little, one prayer here, one prayer there, a short quiet time and then started feeling like my old self, in relationship with my only real source of life.

As you know, I’ve always loved working. During my more distant times this summer (this morning), I asked my husband if I should start looking for a new, exciting job in the fall. And he replied, “What about your book?” Probably about two years ago, I felt God tell me in multiple ways that He wanted me to write a book about our baby journey. I thought it was crazy because writing a book to me was up there on the top 10 things I never, ever want to do list. But, He kept affirming it over and over. I began praying about it, over and over. Waiting on next steps, praying again. Losing my nerve, praying again. The problem with me and writing is that I can ONLY write when I feel close to God, when I feel like He’s writing through me, and well, just like every other human, I’m prone to wander, prone to leave this God I love.

I recently read this book called, “Draw the Circle”and it was literally life changing. The whole book is about the power of prayer, and how prayer is our connection to God. I also recently read that prayer is like the initiating factor for our full armor of God, prayer is like the engine that starts it all up and get’s us ready for the fight. We have nothing without prayer because what kind of relationship would you have with your spouse if you never talked to them? So with that said, there was a chapter towards the end that simply said, Stop Praying.

Delayed obedience. The point of it all is that at some point, prayer can become delayed obedience to something God has clearly called you to. IMG_3715How many times have we felt that tug on our heart to do something, and decided we just need to pray about it more. We’re like, yes, I felt it, but I mean, I should probably pray about it for like three more years before I actually take that leap of faith (just me?). We hear that faint whisper to speak to someone, to call them, to forgive, to act, and we start thinking of our to-do list and grocery items, so we push it aside. I do it ALL of the time. But, delayed obedience might as well be the same as disobedience. And what kills me is that I KNOW the pure joy in choosing to be obedient to Him. I know how amazing it actually feels to deny those rationalities we come up with and just DO what He asks. I’ve seen the outcome, I’ve seen how much better His plan is than my own, yet over and over again I choose not do it.

 

It’s never the easy choice. Is anything good in life ever that easy to obtain? In my life, no. The selfish choice is usually the easiest, and then also in return the most disappointing. We all have a very, very self-serving nature. Heck, we live in a time where self-help books are one of the largest aisles in a book store. Our world tells us to do what makes us happy, do what feels right. Our culture tells you to do you, boo (which I actually say all the time bc it’s funny). Our culture tells us to watch out for numero Uno. But Scripture says the opposite. Scripture says to deny yourself, put others first, serve others before yourself and go last. It’s NEVER easy, especially for me because I’m feisty, prideful, and selfish but it’s ALWAYS the most rewarding way to live, and brings so much more joy than being “right” or doing what we feel like doing all of the time.

Stop praying and just DO. Prayer is HUGE. I believe in prayer as a source of life. I believe it when on of our pastors said prayer is like oxygen to our souls. BUT, I also believe that there comes a point when we need to stop praying and start doing. Stop praying about it and fill out the application. Stop praying and quit that job He told you to quit long ago. Stop praying and speak to your neighbor or ask them to get a coffee with you. Stop praying and call that person that hurt you. Stop praying and ask her out. I’ve learned as I get older that obedience to what He’s calling you to is one of the greatest joys in life, and I’ve done a lot of super fun things 😉

Don’t second guess yourself. I do that too. Was that actually God or was it me? Is this the right thing, I mean I think it is, but ehhh, is it? Well, sometimes we over-complicate things. Does it honor God? Do it. Does it dishonor God, then it’s probably your feelings and not God telling you to do it (and might ruin your life – yikes). If it brings glory to God, step out of your comfort zone and just do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 

Dry Bones.

Dry Bones. That’s been on my mind lately. It’s how I’ve been feeling for the past few months. I feel like I’m on this merry-go-round of normality (a term Pastor Joby uses often). I think we often get on this ride of wake up, be a mom, go to work, come home, make dinner, clean, go to sleep and then repeat all over again. And we are left thinking, is this it? There has to be more. 

I feel like for the first time in my life, about a year ago, I felt like I discovered God’s unique calling on my life, and I’d never felt more alive in my entire life. Then, over time, so gradually I barely even noticed, I let the world drown it out. “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” and all of that. I got busy.

I got busy being a mom and taking care of our home. I went back to work and even took on more clients. I got busy with work, and work is an idol for me. It’s an empty place I tend to find my worth, and I dove right in. So, now that I have dry bones and I’m desperate to hear from Him again, I am left with needing something to change. Do I continue down this road of busyness and empty pursuits or do I live out this God-sized dream that requires complete dependence upon Him to accomplish? I’m in a place of uncertainty. What is the next step for my life, will we try for another baby even though it’s hard and brings up a lot of emotion, will I take some things off of my plate so that I can be more obedient to where God is calling me? It’s always in these times of waiting, or times we are desperate to hear from God that He meets us where we are. God meets us in desperate places. Isn’t that always the case? It’s only when we have no control over a situation, we are longing for something we don’t have – that next job, a spouse, a child, an answered prayer, that we are on our knees dependent on the One who controls the universe and yet knows our name. It’s often in those moments where despite our longing, we feel more alive than ever because we are actually in the presence of the Lord in full dependence, which is where we belong. A friend of mine from college and I used to say, “Isn’t it sad that we never NEED God, until we NEED God?” At the end of the day, every longing on our heart is actually a longing to be near to Him, our Heavenly Father. And this world, it’s busyness and demands can’t drown out that longing in us, so we’ll continue on the merry-go-round of normality trying to fill it with other things.

It’s easy to seek our worth in other areas and come up with dry bones. It’s easy to find our worth in being a good worker, an expert at something, a mother, a wife, whatever it is that’s your thing. We try and seek fulfillment in these titles we give ourselves and come up empty, dry. 

So here are two things I want you to know (and tell myself in the process):

One – God never went anywhere even if you feel dry or distant. His love for you and faithfulness do not depend on your performance, thank you God! He meets us right where we are, so don’t start making a list of how to strive towards being more Alive in Him, because that’s not the point, pouring more busyness on our dry bones. He wants to meet you there and give you rest and joy from the striving. He wants you to feel ALIVE in this life. 

Two – God has a unique, God-sized calling on your life, even though you may feel unseen or insignificant. 

I’ve gone from the mundane to the magnificent. I’ve gone from pursing the fruitless passions of this world, even attaining some of them and ended up even emptier, to feeling true purpose! And once you experienced even a taste of that God-sized calling, or true dependence, you can’t go back without recognizing the dry bones in comparison. IMG_6509

Don’t we all want to live with purpose? I heard once that a calling is where our burdens and talents collide. For me, I have a burden to see women come alive, to have a voice, to know they are valuable, fierce and loved. I have a desire for every woman to be set free in Him, and live out God’s unique calling on their lives. So, my talent (or experience) is in marketing or writing, but more than that God gave me a personality that hates small talk. Like, I hate it. I love to get down to it and be real, and I also love to encourage, inspire and build others up, so there in meets my calling! 

So for you, what burdens your heart? What makes you come alive? Is it raising your kids? Is it hosting people in your home? Is it taking care of others? And then what are you good at? What have people affirmed in you? And also just takes some time to ask God, what’s my purpose? Take some time out of your busyness and find out what God really has for you. I promise once you experience it you won’t be able to go back to the mundane. 

“If your dreams aren’t big enough that they require you to depend on God to make them happen then you aren’t dreaming big enough.”

This is one of my favorite quotes because any GREAT thing in your life should be so big a stretch that it causes you to depend on God alone to accomplish it. You aren’t just a stay-at-home mom doing laundry on a Tuesday. You aren’t just an accountant crunching numbers and going home to make dinner for your family. You aren’t just a woman created to wake up, work out, go to work, and go to sleep, all to get up a repeat it again. You were made for so much more, and I want you to find that purpose, that calling in this life, and ultimately be dependent on the only One who can truly fulfill us, who can come alive these dry bones. It will change everything. Help hold me accountable to not let the world drown it out too. We need each other.