Something exciting is going on.
It isn't the large exchanges of gunfire that went on outside our gate yesterday. Although that does have its own measure of excitement.
It isn't the return of football season and watching Texan's games at midnight...although there is about to be plenty of that as well.
No, this is even better! I am finally figuring something out. Something that is setting me free and making me think that GOD may just be significantly cooler than I even thought. (surprise surprise)
You know by now that I am a former "church girl". You know the type--good girls who always go to church, who know all the hymns, who don't say unpleasant things and who have the bible all figured out. They know exactly what GOD likes and what HE doesn't and they never miss a "quiet time" or they miss GOD's blessing for the day. That was totally me!
Beth Moore says that the Word of GOD was not meant to make us scholars, it was meant to make us victors. As a church girl, I knew the Scriptures. But, if I have to be truthful, I wanted to know them to be smarter. I wanted to have a better grasp on my faith...not on my GOD. I would approach the Bible firmly tied to my religion so that I knew exactly how to interpret everything I read. I liked controlled, quiet, ordered services and would say it was because GOD is a GOD of order. Really, it's because I was uncomfortable with what I felt was not a controlled setting. I wasn't realizing that when GOD is controlling a setting it may look very different than what I am comfortable with.
A couple of weeks ago, GOD shined HIS purifying light on a couple of areas where a religious spirit was still hanging out. At first, this freaked me out. HE was starting to get into some hard and fast (so I thought) parts of my life in HIM. And one of them was a biggie----prayer.
Since childhood I have been conversational with GOD--I talk HIS ear off throughout the day. Why not? HE is my best friend! Unlike many others in my childhood, HE never told me I talked too much. I like that.
But for years I have carried around a secret---I suck at prayer. I do it...not always very successfully, but I do it. I have read many books about prayer--great and helpful books... but in the end, I am sitting back in my quiet time with my list and my routine. I would pray but I did it because I knew I was supposed to and I truly desired the things I was bringing before HIM and I know HE talks about prayer and its importance and I want to do what HE wants. And after all, this is prayer, right? Right?
Recently, things got bad. I didn't want to pray that way at all. I didn't want to sit with my eyes closed for an hour going down a list. It was boring and unlike any other part of our life together. I would talk to HIM the rest of the day, but in the morning, I stopped pulling out my list. I gave up. I was confused. How could I seemingly "get" HIM in so many things but fall flat here.
Then something happened.
About a week ago I confessed to HIM that I just don't like prayer. I don't get how to do it. I decided that this morning I wouldn't close my eyes, or get my list. I was just going to talk to HIM and listen for HIM to talk to me. Fear began to penetrate. What if I didn't hear HIM right? What if I failed?
I had to go for it anyway! And that's what I did. I just talked to HIM. HE even talked back (don't get scared, church girls! GOD does talk to HIS people!) HE told me things. Things about my kids, things about me. It was as if I was talking to a friend on the other end of my couch. It was a real conversation. I wasn't talking "at" HIM. I was talking with HIM. At one point I started to plead with HIM to pour out HIS SPIRIT on my children...and just as I was saying those words, HE interrupted me and said, "This is prayer". I was silent (shocking, I know). This? This is prayer time? But this is fun!!
Then, a picture came in my mind. I believe it was from HIM. It was the top of Mount Sinai. There was a raised ridge that once you climbed over you were in a small little area on the top. The ground was sandy. There was a rock and there was GOD sitting across from the rock. The rock was for me! It was my seat facing HIM. I could just picture myself sitting down there and talking to HIM. I sensed HIM say, "I AM always here to talk to you like this."
A few days later a friend came to see me---one of those friends who knows JESUS really well, a woman with grown kids who has walked the crazy wild life of loving JESUS. I told her about my discovery and she laughed. She understood. For some, the eyes closed, long list is how GOD does prayer time with them. HE is a FATHER. HE knows how to converse with each of HIS kids. But that's not me. I want to really talk to HIM. I want to pour out my heart. I want to pray HIS list. I want HIM to decide what's on the agenda. I want HIM to tell me what to pray so that I can pray it back to HIM. HE is real! So why did I just talk at HIM like HE was a genie in the sky? Why did I enjoy a real PERSON the rest of the day and then treat HIM like a statue in the morning?
So here's the moral of the story, kids. Let GOD rock your world. These are important times in the KINGdom. Let HIM strip away everything that was built up by religion and not by HIS TRUTH. Don't be scared of what HE will do. Learn, study, devour the Word and do it without an agenda. Hear what HE has to say. Be ready to let HIM change your mind.
Not that life is all about fun, but life is really really fun. And where GOD is, there is life!! So, give HIM free reign to invade all the safe, religious areas of your life and fill them with HIS GOD life!
This is not a safe journey---but it is an exciting one! I want to walk this adventure with my LIVELY, UNTAMED LION of a GOD. Besides, walking with a PERSON is so much more fun than walking with my lifeless church girl checklist. And the conversation is significantly better...