It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am such a loser...

My friend Karen Haughton will HATE that I titled my blogpost what I did. She is one of the most encouraging people I know and I don't know many. But really, at some point we have to come to the realization that there is something that we are struggling with, we know it, we hate it, we want it eradicated, but we are not willing to do what needs to be done to handle it.

These win the prize if only for the name
of the collection.
I blame the Holy Spirit. I do. I can't lie. (well, I could but what good would it do - God already knows so what's the use of being someone I'm not to you?) I keep going to the "fruit of the spirit" verse in Galatians and say "Lord, I know I am supposed to have self control, but where is it? In some areas, I have it. For instance, I don't have an insatiable desire to go to my next door neighbor's house and steal their granite counter top even though I want it. A LOT. I don't peruse Sephora in order to find the absolutely bestest nail color ever, only to skip the check out counter and toss my discovery in my purse.

I don't think I've stolen anything in my life - maybe a flower from someone's garden when I was 5. After all, my mom deserved that flower and I had no idea what kind of work went into planting it. Of course, being the excellent mom she was and still is, I had to go and apologize.

But honestly, what are the three things I hate most? I am fat, (no, really I am - when you have to lose 40 lbs., you are fat), I hate how constantly cluttered my house is, and I hate that I still love sleep more than I love God - in short my quiet times are not nearly as consistent as my nap times... (you can't be a tabernacle mover with a life like this.)

I can't really blame all the clutter on Kate
but I sure can blame most of it on her.

The funny thing is - all of these can be remedied and it wouldn't be hard it would just be time consuming, demand that I be perseverent, and be sacrificial. Apparently I am not good at any of them because I haven't succeeded in conquering any of them the last 3 years I've had these issues. Actually, I think these issues have been mine from the beginning of time, only now do I realize how very ever-present they are.

So, if I hate them so much, why are they still such a thorn in my side?

 Of course, there is a gasp quotient here. After all, how could I compare what horrible afflictions Paul endured with my own silly little issues. But I would say to you - have you considered that the "thorn" and "Messenger from Satan" that Paul refers to in 2 Cor 12:7-10, is not physical at all? I would suggest to you that it's actually  unbelievers who constantly berated him at every turn. Look at this, you may be shocked to discover that possibly we've been wrong for years about the struggle that Paul was having. So possibly it was a human component that he was begging God to relieve him from and God, as He often does, insisted that His grace was sufficient. And, it is. But again... How do we attain that sufficient grace to sustain us in the midst of what bugs us the most?

Whatever his problem, Paul was being distracted. For him, lesser things pulled at him, made life difficult. For me though, they aren't lesser things in my eyes that pull me away. Things like an extra hour of sleep, a good TV show that I've been waiting all week for, a child that wants me or needs me, a chair that my feet desperately want me to sit in. All those things, although many not great in the eyes of God, are just fine in my eyes. How do you say no to a decadent dessert a friend has just pulled out of the oven. Or that bowl of snacks just sitting there while you are conversing with a friend? And then there's that 1/2 gallon of ice cream that sits patiently in the freezer while the whole house sleeps except you - you are wide awake watching a late night repeat of CSI NY. So a spoon and the 1/2 gallon and, well... isn't that what heaven is like?( That's in the same book as the one that has shopping as a spiritual gift.)

All that to say, why is it that in some things I can clearly see the Holy Spirit working. Sometimes it's "blow your socks off" amazing and other times it's simple and pure and to anyone else it's meaningless and that makes it even more "blow your socks off" amazing.

But why, in the areas that most bug me, can't I utilize the Holy Spirit's power. Every pastor I've even sat under insists we are to be able to call on the Holy Spirit's power because He lives in us. But I can't seem to sense His presence when I feel like I need him with my biggest struggles . And then, something dawned on me...

a big bunch of bananas

A friend was telling me about this book she read that told a story of a young girl held prisoner as a spy during WWII. Read just part of her story here. At one point, she saw through a hole in her cell someone receive a banana and asked God for just one. She awoke the next morning to find 92 bananas sitting in the corner of her room. I was amazed at that story and it reminded me of how small we think our God is sometimes. But suddenly I thought of her, of her condition, of her sorrow and struggle. Then I turned and looked at the front of my house, filled with 4 healthy children and a husband with a job - a good job. A bed to sleep in every day and a pillow to lay my head on. A shower AND bathtub to wash in and running water that was CLEAN. And I said to her - maybe, as much as we COULD pray for 92 bananas, we don't DESERVE 92 bananas. 

So it makes me wonder. Although I COULD scream and cry and beg for the Holy Spirit to show up and totally remake me into a type A personality so that I'd organize my life to lose weight, keep up with the clutter, and have my regular quiet time. Maybe I don't DESERVE to have Him come and do that.