Don’t pray if you’re not ready for God to answer.
Let me say that again for the people in the back…
DON’T PRAY IF YOU’RE NOT READY FOR GOD TO ANSWER.
Picture this. It’s a normal, relaxing Saturday afternoon. I’ve finished my homework early. I have free time on my hands, and I’ve just spent that time finishing a wonderful book called Let It Go by Karen Ehman… a perfect evening complete with coffee, heaters, and snuggling under a warm quilt in my chair.
I’m pumped because this control freak is super excited to keep applying the principles that I’ve been learning from Mrs. Ehman since I began her book around the first of the year. I prayed, “Lord, help me to learn how to be ‘out of control,’ not in a crazy way, but in a way that allows You to lead in every aspect of my life. Teach me how to let go of control and learn to trust You more.”
Fast forward to later that evening… I bent down to get a book out of my work bag and DOINGGGGG! There was no actual sound effect. I wish there would have been. That might have made the situation a lot more comical… hence a lot more tolerable.
A girl who hates to rely on others… loves to “do for herself…” and prides herself on how many tasks she can complete in a day was suddenly bedridden with a back injury that had never surfaced before then. I had to have help sitting up, getting out of bed, using the restroom, dressing myself… I couldn’t even walk without assistance.
Talk about frustration.
After a day or two, I remember becoming so frustrated that I resolved to take matters into my own hands and get out of that bed one way or another. I don’t have to tell you what happened next… As I’m in the very same position that I was in twenty or so minutes before… tears streaming down my face and into my pillow… I stared at the ceiling and just kept repeating, “Why?”
Teach me how to let go of control and learn to trust You more….
The words to that simple prayer from earlier resurfaced in my mind. After a heating pad and some help from my mom, I was able to sit up in bed… and I picked up my Bible and Mrs. Ehman’s book… determined to understand what God was trying to teach me.
I want to provide you with some wonderful quotes from Let It Go that seemed to “pop” out at me (and my own thoughts after each one):
“Sometimes we handle what we see as unfair situations with calm and grace, and other times we let them eat away at our very souls, destroying our days, burning up brain energy, and sapping our spiritual strength.”
You definitely aren’t handling this in a calm manner and with grace. What is God trying to show you? Don’t you realize that you’re missing out!
“Usually the only aspect we can change about our circumstances is our outlook. So, we must adjust our attitudes, alter our actions, and put on a cloak of contentment in order to weather life’s circumstantial storms.”
How’s your outlook and your attitude? Right now, it’s not one that is glorifying to God or one of thanksgiving. Get your attitude in check and quick!
“But changing our circumstances rarely changes us. What transforms our outlook and us is an attitude shift. It’s God’s job to determine our circumstances. It’s our job to cooperate with Him in the midst of them, adjusting and realigning our attitudes with the truth of Scripture.”
God changing my circumstance won’t bring about the change that I really want—giving up control to my Creator and becoming more like Him… So, take control of what He wants you to control—your attitude and outlook, and let Him handle the rest!
I won’t take the time to quote the entire story, but Mrs. Ehman writes about her “sister-in-love” who battled with cancer. With so much against her, so much pain, she lived a life of gratitude. Even in a hospital bed after an intensive surgery, she thanked God for sunshine and flowers…
I didn’t “pick a word” for this year as so many others did… but I would have to say that my word for this year has inevitably become “conviction.” I didn’t choose it, but it most certainly has chosen me as I try to become more like God each day. As I read this particular story, I felt it again… that old familiar feeling… conviction.
Yes, my circumstances were less than desirable. No, I still didn’t have an excuse to have the outlook or attitude that I had.
I don’t know what situation you’re in. I don’t know if it’s one of sickness like mine… or some other kind of situation where you feel out of control.
But I do know this…
- No matter the situation, trust God. He’s never let you down, and He never will.
“Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
2. Change your attitude. It’s a mindset, and it happens through prayer.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I’m praying that wherever we’re at—before a troubling time, in the midst of a troubling time, or on the other side of a troubling time—that we can say, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him” (Psalm 28:7).