“I just need to take some time and find myself.” Anyone else recognize that phrase? It used to be more popular in the 60’s & 70’s, but I know some people who still say it. It seems to show up occasionally, mainly, as a polite way of saying, “I don’t want to do what other people want me to do, so I’m just going to take a break from even pretending to listen to them and do what I want for awhile.” (There may be a whole host of psychologists who just called me an “unenlightened Neanderthal” for that one, but don’t worry, I’ll be ok.)
To catch you up, let me just say that my weekend was not completely full of all the “happily ever afters” that I’d been praying for some people. Certainly, there was joy. Certainly, some situations are more resolved, but there seemed to be a rush of others to take their place. I was called on for a LOT of prayers.
That’s not a bad thing! In fact, it is a great thing. Those calls for prayer are evidence that some of the people I love know that prayer can make a difference! Each of us realizes that I’m not the answer—it’s a God-thing!—but, still, it’s an honor to be trusted to go before Him on their behalf.
In any case, the majority of my weekend was spent in prayer for various loved ones. Now, before some people get the wrong idea, let me remind those who are not familiar with this practice that prayer to God doesn’t always mean that you’re on your knees the whole time. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” That means that you can proceed with your schedule and still be in an attitude of prayer. It means that your body may be occupied in tasks that are part of your normal routine while your mind is focused on the prayers and God at the same time. This type of prayer allowed me to continue praying throughout a funeral, a wedding and even throughout our Sunday School and our worship-filled church services over the weekend.
In fact, I was sitting in church last night praying and asking God to show us what we were supposed to learn from all of these difficulties—because, frankly, some of these things I just do not understand at all! While I was praying, however, there was another part of my mind being frustrated by the actions/reactions/inactions of some of the people I was praying for right then.
And that’s when I “found myself”…sitting in judgment. Ever been there? It’s kind of a lofty perch until you realize you’re sitting in someone else’s seat…God’s. Then, it gets more than a bit uncomfortable.
No, we’re not going to agree with all the attitudes and actions of the people we love. Yes, we’re going to “miss the mark” sometimes. In fact, that is the very definition of sin. But really? Right in the middle of prayer?! Yep. Right in the middle of prayer. I was sitting in judgment and wanting to “play God” in the worst way possible.
It’s not a pretty picture, but it is a truthful one. And, honestly, what better time that during a prayer could I ask for God to speak to me about it? Of course, I’d have been more comfortable if He’d just “fix” those situations I was praying about and stay off my toes, but then He wouldn’t be doing His job of making me better equipped to do the thing He’s assigned me to do.
If I’m to continue to pray for others I must be willing to hear from God—no matter what He chooses to say to me. I will also need to be willing to pray for those who need it whether they’re doing things to suit me or not. If I’m to continue to be useful to Him, I will have to do things His way. You will, too.
It doesn’t matter if we approve of the actions, reactions or inaction of others. We’re not called to approve. We’re called to live lives that follow Christ. We’re called to pray for those who need it regardless of what we think. That doesn’t mean check your brain or ignore the behaviors. It does mean that we’re called to LOVE…like God does…and if I have to “find myself” somewhere, I’d rather it be there.