Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on Prayer Part Two: Or the start of the "Positivity Project"

When God closes a door sometimes there seems to be no real reason 'why', and all we can do is trust it was because there was something scary on the other side we hadn't yet seen... like a rabid dog, or a serial killer.

I had a major setback today.

Once again, details shouldn't, and won't, be discussed on an open public forum, but needless to say something I have been praying over, had friends praying over, hit a major roadblock.

It's been difficult... and life affirming all at the same time.

 I should back up

I've been waiting on an answer from God for a while now, unfortunately with a lot of mixed signals. One moment things seem obvious and so easy that there is no explanation except that God is behind it. The next, the door is slammed in my face and I'm left wondering if I am crazy, or just the victim of some sort of cosmic practical joke.

But I've been waiting, and praying, and being prayed over, and giving it to God over and over. I came home last night fretting again and immediately felt the need to get on my knees, literally not figuratively, and pray. What surprised me is I had no urge to pray for the answer I was seeking, but simply God's peace in how to deal with the situation no matter the outcome. I then got up off my knees, got into bed, and felt calm through the rest of the night.


When I woke this morning I had an intuitive sense that one way or another I would find some closure, and I prayed for the strength to handle things, good or bad. I arrived at work a bit earlier than normal for our bimonthly prayer meeting, and laughed a bit upon reading the title of the day's devotion: "The source of peace"

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" - John 14:27

True peace is NOT not caring. Peace is not remaining unaffected when the winds change; it is not being optimistic and happy no matter what may happen in our lives. To quote the devotion: "[Jesus had not] simply relieved their minds, but He gave them a weapon which was much more effective than any kind of insurance. He gave them real peace so they could willingly face the persecution and hard days ahead". Peace is choosing to the use this gift from God to remain secure in his word.

Peace is not passive; true peace is an active decision to rest in the promises of God, even when our world is not a 'peaceful place'. Peace is choosing to believe that God's will can occur even when our world seems to be falling apart.


So I took the message to heart, and took it as a sign that God was in control. Famous last words, as within 20 minutes one of my problems HAD resolved, and not the way I had hoped. I felt calm, a little angry at God, but peaceful, knowing that there had to be a future ahead.

Not ten minutes later a random coworker with whom I have rarely spoke, spontaneously gave me an encouraging message that was so precisely what I needed to hear at that moment I literally stopped in my track. I stared at her a bit confused, both that she felt the need to say this to me, and stunned that it was exactly the answer I had been seeking from God.

"I'm sorry that is random, I've been wanting to tell you that for a while, and I just sort of felt God telling me to encourage you as I was passing by, I'm not quite sure why"

 I promptly burst into tears, filled her in on my personal life drama, and explained that what she had said was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment, even if I hadn't realized it was what I needed to hear. She began to tear up too, and we both marveled at God's ability to use a small little nudge in her heart to make such a significant impact on my life.

With that one encounter, I started re-examining my response to the crisis. I started wondering if maybe perhaps I HAD been doing the right thing, and this negative response was in fact God's answer. Maybe the situation is preparing me for something else in the future. Maybe there is a point to this current struggle.

And then I start doubting, I start second guessing myself, getting angry at God, and giving in to the more realistic alternative that sometimes life just hands you crap and there is not much else you can do about it.

But peace is a choice. Just as Faith is choosing to believe without any hard evidence, for me peace is choosing to trust even when circumstances state otherwise. I give in to the other side way more often than I choose to admit; it's hard to remain optimistic when nothing seems to point the right direction.

So I'm making a concerted effort to change that approach.

Sunset on the Gulf: Photo credit (Me)

I'm starting an experiment I've tentatively entitled "The Positivity Project". For the month of March, I am simply going to accept the 'reality' that God has a plan and I have to be patient for it to come into fruition.

Sounds really easy right?

It's not.

Instead of letting my doubts creep in and rule, instead of trying assess the alternative realities that include a world where things are chaos, where God just lets things happen willy nilly, or a world where there is no guarantee that I can find happiness, I am going to act and think as if it is a foregone conclusion that my problems have a solution in the works. No second guessing, no acknowledging fears.

Simply positive.

One month of giving complete and total control to the faith and peace described in the Bible, and we shall see what happens.

Pray for me. I'll need it.

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Thanks for taking this journey with me! I always love to hear your thoughts and promise to respond whenever possible.