Sunday, May 28, 2006
A few weeks ago I went to a retreat with a friend. We both had a profound experience and we wanted to make sure at the weekend would bring lasting change. We decided that we would be accountability partners for each other.
Accountability is scary stuff. We give someone else permission to call us on our stuff. It took a pretty big wakeup call for me to want to do that. It has been an amazing experience for me.
My friend and I have been either calling each other or meeting once a week. We talk about how our weeks went. We offer to pray for one another. We talk about our impressions of what we are hearing. Really we just intentionally support one another.
I have noticed a couple of things. First it is great to have someone to consistently pray for besides yourself. God can really show himself by answering your prayer for another person. Second, if you say you want to exercise three times this week it gives you incentive to know that at the end of the week you will be able to celebrate doing that. Related to this is a sense of sharing not only who you are but who you want to be. Having someone else know that and pray for you in that is amazing.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
A lot of people (myself included) walk around with this sense of entitlement rather than gratitude. I deserve nice clothes, a nice car, to be treated with respect. In other words I can sometimes act like a toddler who holds another child’s toy to his chest and screams ‘mine!’ I don’t believe that God intends us to act like this.
To combat this I have been keeping a gratitude list. The very first day I started my gratitude journal I spent some time with my friend and her son. A few minutes after they left my house my friend called to say her son was very upset because he hadn’t been able to give me a goodbye hug and kiss. So he called out, “Bye Misty I love you!” After responding in kind and hanging up the phone I burst into tears.
I had just finished a weekend where God had shown me some of the ways I had been acting that were not so nice. I felt horrible about it. I felt like God was using my friend’s son to illustrate the love of Jesus. I accepted it but I didn’t feel entitled to it. My tears were tears of gratitude.
Since then I have still been keeping my gratitude journal. I have had times where I forgot myself and got wound up in my sense of entitlement (like when I thought the hotel I was staying at should have compensated me somehow for the broken lock on my hotel door that made it so I had to change rooms.) I have been doing better though. I don’t have something terribly unusual to be grateful everyday but I have found that the habit of writing down what I am grateful for is changing my attitude over time.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Last week I got a ‘word’ for someone. I was praying for them and I had some insight into their situation. I was traveling at the time and I didn’t feel the urgent need to share it with them right away. Actually to be honest I struggled with whether or not to share it. I don’t have the gift of prophecy or anything. Sometimes I will get an impression that God wants someone to know something. This has always been people who are close to me.
Most of the time God just prompts me to speak some words of encouragement to someone. That has been really rewarding. There have been a few times though where I feel like I have an actual message and that I am supposed to frame it as such. Those times are harder. I know that I am pretty leery when someone tells me they have a word from God. The key for me is that these are relationships of trust.
The other day I shared with this person what I believed God had told me. Her response was, “That is totally amazing. You can’t believe how much I needed to hear that today.” She went on to tell me what she had been wrestling with and it WAS amazing. The timing was perfect; the message was perfectly worded for who she was. My friend couldn’t miss that God was at work.
I have had a chance to reflect on this and what is even more amazing is that God spoke to me through that message too. It wasn’t the message itself that was important to me but how perfect it was. I couldn’t miss God either.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11: 28-30 MSG)
I was reading The Message version of Matthew a couple years ago. I was going through a time where I wasn’t sure what I believed. I came across this passage and somehow it carried me. I was tired and worn out. The unforced rhythms of grace sounded well… nice. It felt like something to hold onto. If that was what Jesus could teach me I wanted some of that.
Have you ever met someone for whom kindness and faith seem natural? I know it may not actually be effortless for them, in fact I know it isn’t. But there is a difference between moving forward and pushing forward. I want to be the kind of woman who lives in unforced rhythms of grace. I am not there yet. Perhaps I never will be.
My intent is to invite you along for that journey. Be forewarned that it will be a road with lots of bends and perhaps a little bit of traveling in reverse.