Have you ever sat down to pray and ended up in a worse place than before you started praying? I have. It was one of those times I was praying out of fear and anxiety. I was so completely aware of my needs that I couldn’t even fathom God’s presence. In fact, I had talked myself in a flurry of tears and sighs. I had no peace. Moreover, I started to panic about even more things. I remember saying out loud, “I don’t even know if there is a God!” Everything within me felt like chaos. Nothing made sense.
With all that said, it took a while for me to get to be able to sit with God – with no petition or expectation. I sat there and instead of praying out my anxiety, I sat, quietly. I listened to music and I focused on the character of God. In the quiet I reminded myself truths about God and only God. I opened my heart up to the Lord and in the moment of quiet surrender, He spoke to me.
I saw an image of myself as a little girl holding all of these presents from God. I obstinately turned my shoulder determined to keep what I was holding. However, I couldn’t even hold all my presents. They were falling out of my hand and I was flustered. Moreover, God wanted to give me better presents but couldn’t give me anything better because my hands were full. It wasn’t until I willingly gave Him all my presents which were promises, entitlements, circumstances and whatever else that I was desperately clinging to that He could give me something better.
A simple question came to mind: Are you living your best?
Especially with promises of the Lord, we want to quickly take them and do our best – think Abraham and the promise of his son. Most times, our best is Ishmael when we are meant for Isaac (read Genesis). As such, I’m learning the power of dependency and humility because our very best are ashes to God. He is the author of everything and out of His profound wisdom, He leads us. Let me clarify that you wanting to step out and move from your understanding is not a bad desire. I thought I was being strong in my identity. I thought I was more empowered by the Lord by trying to do my own thing. I didn’t realize that I didn’t actually include Him and I couldn’t recognize the grip of my fearful and anxious control.
So what a great question. Are you living your best? You could be living His best and what an amazing possibility that could be. This isn’t about condemnation because you are awesome. This is about you walking in the endless, unimaginable greatness that the Author of Life has for you. And in the moment of realizing my own failures, that trade with God is so welcomed.
To all who mourn in Israel:
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Psalm 16: 11
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever
All my love,