Monthly Archives: June 2011

Praying the Prayer of Faith & Peeing Your Pants

I was driving, it was late.  My brother was asleep in the front seat and I had the music up to keep myself from drifting.  I decided, “This would be a good time to pray”.  Something was weighing on my heart.  Something I considered silly and in the scheme of things, kind of petty to bug God with.  But my mind continued to revert and in that moment, I had a real, vulnerable moment with God. 

“God, I feel really stupid, bringing this up.  But I figure you already know my heart and it’s stupid to act like you don’t.  You already see this, you know me and how it’s front and center in my heart right now, stupid or not.  So, if there is any way XX could happen, I would really, really appreciate it.  But only if it’s your will, because as much as I would like this, I don’t want to seek something apart from you.  Amen.” 

It was simple, but very heartfelt.  Afterwards, I felt a lot of peace.  Well, the very next day, when I wasn’t looking for it, I was blindsided by the answer to my very simple, yet very specific prayer.  It was one of those things that chance was not going to reason away, because the likelihood was just plain ridiculous.  And as I was face to face with the very opportunity I had asked the Lord for…I froze.  That’s right, divine intervention hands me opportunity on a silver platter and I just stare, wondering what I should do.  I go back and forth, over think, analyzed said opportunity to death and then the moment passed and it was gone.  I was shell shocked and still couldn’t believe my prayer had been so obviously answered.  My brother, still wing man, just laughed after understanding the scenario. 

“Why didn’t you do it?” he asked.  I couldn’t explain it, although thinking back, I have greater clarity now.  And my brother, being the blunt, awesome guy he is, let his tease become a little confrontational.

“What did you expect praying a prayer of faith?  But when you get it, you pee* your pants instead.”  (*Note: He didn’t say pee, I just didn’t want to use #2 in this post, let alone the title).

And it was true.  I had asked, but I was surprised when I got it.  So, this led me down the rabbit hole (I know, my throwbacks to Alice have been MIA for a while).  I don’t want to be the bratty kid that looks at God and says “I want this and this is how I want it”, but nor do I want to be the person who asks via lip-service and doesn’t think anything will come of it. 

What is the difference between expectation and entitlement?  Well, this situation answered that for me.

Entitlement expects specific results and is disappointed when they do not manifest.  It isn’t really faith, it’s just wishing—and normally, very specific wishing.  Expectation entrusts a hope/dream to faith and is ready to act should it present itself.  Expectation is not saying “Hey God, I’d like a number 5 with a side of grace“ and reaching out for your order.  But it’s that moment, where you’re bare before God and you honestly give it to him.  The expectation part comes into play when you are prepared to act on the trust you placed in God.  Expectation is the seed of faithfulness.

So, I’m grateful for this lesson and next time, I won’t pee my pants when my prayer of faith is answered.   

Can you relate?  How do you define expectation?  Any advice for seizing opportunities? (I’m pretty bad at it).

Lyssah

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My Name is Lyssah and it’s Been 7 Days Since My Last Drink

My name is Lyssah and it’s been seven days since my last drink.  And it’s been an uphill battle, but today, on day seven, I’m still holding on.  Day six was hard.  I really, really wanted one.  You know, when they are super cold and you pop that can open, that sound is like music to my ears. 

It’s embarrassing to put this out there, but this isn’t something new.  I grew up around it and was introduced to it at an early age.  By high school, I was already at one or two a day…even in the morning.  There was something about it that made me happy.  When I was stressed, it took the edge off.  When I was emotional, it made me feel better.  When I was bitter, it was the sweet nectar that made the world seem not so bad. 

There were times off and on, where I would realize it was unhealthy and I would set a goal… only this many per week or no more for x amount of days.  Once, I even went an entire year without as much as a sip.  It was one of the few New Year’s resolutions I stuck with.  It stretched the very bounds of my will power and at the end of that year, I didn’t want it, didn’t crave it, and the first time I had it, I just couldn’t stomach it.  But over time, that emotional dependence that anchored it to my soul kicked back in…I started slow, half a can one week, a whole one the next.  Next thing you know, I am back to the tap every day, like a fish.

So, this is my confession.  My name is Lyssah, and I am addicted to soda (or pop if you are from the Midwest).  I am 7 days sober and I have realized that this is not something I can handle in moderation. 

Now, in case you are the person who read that last line or two and felt jipped because I was talking about Dr. Pepper and Cherry Coke and not about Dos Eques or Budwiser, let’s just stop and think for a moment.  Sure, soda isn’t as “bad” as beer/alcohol/drugs/porn/etc, but I still have to admit I’m addicted to it.  Maybe it doesn’t have as many obvious/immediate negative side effects as indulging or being dependant on one of the “really bad” things does, but this post isn’t about the object, it’s about addiction.

You see, addiction isn’t something that illegal/dangerous/“sinful” things have a corner on.  Addiction is a state of mind and when you boil it down, it’s a system of reasoning that helps set a course for life.  Addiction is anything that begins to serve as a rudder for me in the decisions I make.  It’s anything that becomes my default source of comfort/consolation/sanity when things around me throw me off guard or feel out of my control.  Addiction is anything that I am willing to compromise for, when I know I there is a better/ “right” alternative.  Addiction is what I submit too. 

The funny thing is, we are created with an addictive personality.  We are created to look to something as a rudder, to seek out specific comfort/consolation and sanity when we feel like everything is a mess.  We are created to compromise, even when reason would tell us to stay the course.  Addiction in and of itself is not the enemy.  It is the source of our affection that needs to be addressed.  Well, what do you know, I guess in the end, this post was about the Object of our Addiction.

What about you?  What lesser addiction are you using, maybe even without realizing it, as a substitute for a greater addiction?

And just for fun, one of the best dance routines ever!

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God is not Bigger than MY Imagination…

Michael Gungor has a song entitled “Bigger than my Imagination”.  But what if God is not bigger than MY imagination?  What if what I can imagine exceeds what God can do?  What if God can’t do what I am asking for, because I can imagine it? 

1 Corinthians 2:9 says “…No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Now, I am a pretty creative person.  Trust me, when I was in Junior High and had a crush on J.T.T. or Brad Renfro, I came up with the most creative ways that I was going to meet them, get them saved, date them, start working with them and pretty much single handedly bring revival to Hollywood.  And I mean really creative scenarios.  But surprisingly (and no one was more surprised than me), it never happened. 

Today, as an adult, I am still a dreamer.  There are still things that I desire and hope for.  Still, I can dream and imagine the most unlikely scenario’s of how things can come to pass.  Almost all of these dreams are punctuated with the thought “Well, I guess that won’t be the way it comes about, since I have already imagined it.”  One day, revelation blind-sided me (as it is known to do) as I was driving.

“I think I’m more creative than God”.

Somehow, I actually fell prey to the idea that I could out dream the author of the universe.  As if my little day-dream about meeting my future husband or writing a book that challenges a generation could somehow outshine, oh, I don’t know, creating a solar system or human DNA or orchestrating the biggest rescue operations of all time.  It was one of those scary “Shoot, I’ve been deceived” moments, because if I was honest with myself, I genuinely thought I was capable of dreaming bigger that God. 

Amazingly enough, reading back in Isaiah 64, which Paul was quoting, the verse reads “For since the world began, no ear has heard, no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” (Is 64:4). 

It’s not about being able to “dream big”.  It’s about being able to TRUST an even BIGGER Dreamer.  My crazy scenarios are all rooted in something temporal, no matter how noble my intentions may be.  But the Author, he’s the one who has looked at the Conclusion, structured a Plot that builds the Characters and sets up a story of Epic Proportion.  That Author is the one who will get glory and notoriety in the end, not the character.  But that character get’s to enjoy the journey of it all.

God is NOT bigger than my imagination.  My imagination is contained within the creativity of God, and therefore, offers no comparison.

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But I want an Oompa Loompa NOW!

I want a ball
I want a party
Pink macaroons and a million balloons and performing baboons
And give it to me now

So, I realized something recently.  Being a person given all too frequently to internal reflection, I had been driven to a point of contemplation, brought on by an unexplainable melancholy, no, blah feeling.  Maybe you’ve experienced it too, where nothing appeals, and you find yourself wishy-washy on just about everything, not quite cranky, but headed down that road (probably cruising somewhere between Lethargicville and Seen It City).  I had been in this, funk, shall we call it, for a couple of days, brooding and musing and staring into the vast blackness of space, etc.  I knew something was not copacetic inside, and life experiences have revealed that this is one sign I am entertaining some less than Godly thought patterns.

Well, it took a few days to begin asking the questions that would shine the light needed to find the roundabout that would get me back on course.  I began seeing all the areas where I have been dis-satisfied lately.  On a semi-health kick, or at least with my foot resting against the kick start, but not really wanting to get it into gear.  Or feeling annoyed with Church as normal, and for the first time really feeling a slight sadness about being in Tennessee. 

Now, before you read too much into any of that, there is a point.  I came to the conclusion that I must be disillusioned somehow.  The question was, why?  My life is pretty good, I have a job I like, surrounded by a good church family, getting to flow in my creative gifting, etc.  So, why was I starting to get a hankering for the grass on the other side of the fence? 

Cue *light bulb*, ahem, I mean Holy Spirit. 

After this melancholy, a still small voice asked the big question “Do you really want to know where it’s coming from?”

That’s when you pretend to cough and then think to yourself…”Did I hear something,” but you really know you want to know, even if you don’t really want to know, you know?  So, I caved. 

“An entitlement mentality”

And I could see it.  I want to be healthy and for my body to reflect that, but I want to do what I want to do.  Why should my roommate be able to eat half a pizza or two burgers and still be under 100 lbs?  I want to write and inspire, but I catch a glimpse of someone running their own race on the same course and I get discouraged, feeling like the spot is already filled-why, because they have more subscribers or twitter followers than me?  I want to just spout my thoughts and revelations and inundate the masses in 10 minutes a day, but I don’t want to do the leg work needed to expand horizons.  I want to have a close relationship with God, but I don’t want to get up early or have to adjust my schedule, I just want to be soaked when I do dive in and be transformed by the occasional coating of my mind, not the continual renewal of it.

I want the world
I want the whole world
I want to lock it all up in my pocket
It’s my bar of chocolate
Give it to me now

And I realized at this juncture of time, I think I am reflecting more of Varuca Salt than I am of Jesus and Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit. 

I want the works
I want the whole works
Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises
Of all shapes and sizes and now

Don’t care how I want it now
Don’t care how I want it now

But, I do care how.  And entitlement isn’t going to get me anywhere except Disillusionment and that is a chain around my ankle keeping me rooted where I don’t want to be.  So, no more Veruca.  Bring on Charlie who was just grateful at being invited to the party and content with his Everlasting GopStopper.  So, I’m giving up my Oompa Loompa now.  Pretty sure that’s the only way to end up with a Glass Elevator that can take you anywhere.  And that is the intended end, if I can lift my eyes to see it.

Lyssah

Can you relate?  What are the areas you are disillusioned in and why?  Is there a time when entitlement has tempted you to just set up camp instead of pressing on?

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Can’t I Just Live One Day Without Regrets!!!!!!

It’s dark and you’re alone. The hairs on the back of your neck bristle as you feel something behind you. You don’t want to turn around, because you know what it is you will see. It’s the same thing that has dogged you all day, lurking just out of sight, but tangible enough that it is ever present. You smile brighter and talk a little louder, thinking “surely if I can ignore it, so can everyone else…maybe they won’t even notice it”. But now that you’re alone, the very atmosphere has a lump in your throat and an emptiness in the pit of your stomach that matches the hollowness you feel in your heart.

Ok, it’s a little melodramatic, but there have been many times that my night looks a little too much like this as I consider the way the day played out. I was going to get up early and exercise, but didn’t. The birth of my personal ghost. I was going to spend some quality time with Jesus before heading to work, but my hair was not cooperating and as a result, I was running behind schedule so I didn’t really have time right then. And it grows. I walked past that homeless person at lunch and I could have brought them a burrito out, but didn’t. Now it’s a full blown presence. I was going to sit down and write when I got home, but then I settled for watching “So You Think You Can Dance” instead, then I was tired, so I went upstairs and went to bed. And now we are back to the entity breathing down my neck as I try and settle my mind down to go to sleep, but all I can see are the ways I let myself down today, not to mention God and that homeless person that is still hungry. I finally am able to satiate the pointing finger of regret with the promise of “tomorrow I’ll do better”, but the alarm goes off and it’s like Groundhog Day, on a loop.

Regret can be an all too present companion on the road of life. And once I have it accompanying me, it’s harder and harder to break from it. Maybe I’m the only one, but at times I even hit a “why bother” mentality that has me on a soda binge or a k-drama marathon. It’s as though somewhere inside, I’ve decided if I’ve messed up this much or missed the mark ‘til now, surely by now I’ve disqualified myself from something better.

Last night, Pastor Rick Twing of Gateway Life Church in Bellevue, TN made the statement “You must make your choices out of conviction, it’s the only way to live without regret.” Coupled with a later statement, “Faithfulness is about now, not tomorrow”, I found myself staring into a new revelation. I don’t have to live with Regret as my tag-along sidekick. And I can’t decide today that I am going to be faithful forever. That is a choice I have to make with every decision I come across. I don’t have to be benched in the game of life because I have missed a pass or fumbled here or there. Like a petulant kid, I may have marched myself over to the sideline, but God is there as the coach saying “Ok, you missed that one, but there’s more game left, now get out there”. We take ourselves out of the game, God doesn’t. The question is, why are we so content to be Christian Benchwarmers? We consol ourselves with the fact that at least we made the team, all the while failing to recognize our roll and play it, to the best of our ability, play by play.

So, my new experiment. I’m not making the commitment to be “Faithful with what I have been given forever” anymore. I’m making it each day, because I am convinced that each day has enough to deal with itself and tomorrow has enough time to work itself out before I get there. This is my conviction, and today, if only today, I will live without regret!

Lyssah

What about you? Has regret been the puppy trailing you that just won’t get the hint? What is one thing you can do today to overcome regret—one decision to make?

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