I am the type that likes to plan. I set goals. I like to see my progress. I need calendars and need to know that things are being taken care of. My planning can get in the way of enjoying the trip.

As a child, I would spend a lot of time meticulously setting up my dolls, their accessories, etc... I spent so much time and energy making everything perfect in my eyes that by the time it was done, I was too tired to actually play.


Thankfully, my worries were little when I was a child. I had loving parents who provided for me and created a home as well as a memorable childhood. I could lay my head down at night and truly relax as I drifted to sleep. I knew there would be food in the morning and fresh clothes to wear.

If I sit quietly and concentrate - I can actually remember how that felt. Peering back, there was a noticeable lack of stress. As the years went by, the worries began to creep in. Fears of failure or not being and having enough too hold. They were what I thought of as I fell asleep. Even now, that is most often how I go to bed at night. Worrying about the future.

Each night before we go to sleep, my husband and I check on the children one last time. Their sweet little faces are so relaxed and innocent. The weight of the world isn't on their shoulders. They instinctively know that their mother and father will take care of them.

If only we could be like that. Relaxing in the faith and knowledge that our heavenly Father will take care of our needs.

A favorite passage of mine in reminding me that when we are doing as we should... our needs will be met.

"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, 

what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Luke 12: 24 - 31



I am still struggling a bit with the removal of a request from my Prayer Journal. It wasn't easy to draw the line through that request. I really had my heart set on it. In all selfishness, I wanted it dearly.

It's very pleasant to have the things that please us:

Cute shoes and fashionable outfits.

A nice home. I still dream of a beautiful home in the country with a wrap-around porch where I can sip on sweet-tea and watch my precious children play.

New vehicles. Who doesn't want the newest, the safest and the one with the best and most advanced technology?

The latest gadgets, phones and computers.

However, the more I realize that I'm not yet home... the easier it is to put aside that request and the desires for material things. Do I still want? Yes. I'm flesh and He knoweth my frame.

As much effort as we put into it, we can not perfect the human self.  

Perhaps it's also because I am in the midst of spring cleaning.  With that and with years of this large cleaning task I've realized that - the more possessions I have, the more I have to clean.  The more I have, the more they take of my time, energy and thoughts.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also Matthew 6:21 KJVIf we measure ourselves by possessions and how we are viewed based on those possessions - we are entirely missing the point of the Christian life and the Christian walk.

When we are able to be completed by the One who gave us breath and not by material things... it will be an easier task to put aside the wants and desires. It will be easier to thank Him for meeting the needs and feel overwhelmingly blessed by all the extra blessings.

The evening after I had put aside that request  and allowed myself to focus on truly important things, a feeling of gratitude flooded my being. I have never before felt so incredibly blessed by what I have been given in my life.



Update: In March of 2014 - God granted that request which I had put aside. In everything, He had His own plan and purpose. He worked on my heart and I was even more grateful when He filled a desire that had turned into a need. My Type A personality wants to plan years ahead and know when needs will be met. I knew a need was coming - but so did He. I needed to learn to let Him take care of that need when them time actually arrived.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? - Matthew 6:26







"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is 
Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips 
and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. 
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
~ Brennan Manning


I'm not sure I agree that our actions cause atheism, necessarily. They do however have a huge impact on how others view us and our faith... and the level to which one decides to believe what we say or be a part of it all together.

When you hear the phrase above, it probably draws to mind Christians who tell others to behave a certain way -- then walk out of the church doors on Sunday only to do the opposite thing on Monday.

However, when I hear that phrase... I begin to think of the Christians who value their walk with Christ based on their "Christian Checklist".  The list of do's and don'ts that the church must abide by.  Most often, a list compiled by man.

When we have our little Christian Checklist, we begin to judge others based on this irrelevant idea of what a "good Christian" is. 

Attended church every time the doors were open... check mark!

Calculated my 10% tithe... check mark!

I wore the proper clothes not only to church, but every day... check mark!

We judge the world and other Christians for not being contemporary or progressive enough or not conservative or fundamental.

Suddenly, we have become the judge on what is proper, right and wrong.  This becoming more important than spreading the gospel... and sharing the light.  We become a dim light upon the world, instead of a shining beacon.

Our sneering looks and sideways glances, caught more often by those we're judging than we are aware, show the tell-tale signs of our self-believed superior righteousness and miscalculated holiness.

The next time we begin to furrow our brows at someone's past, what they're wearing, doing or not doing... or possibly raise our eye brows in shock at someone's behavior  as they are not properly reviewing their Christian Checklist... remember this list of those whom Christ walked with, spent time with and used for good.


Image by David Hayward of NakedPastor.com
The woman at the well

Peter who denied Him

David an adulterer 

Moses a murderer

Judas who betrayed Hiim

Abraham who was disobedient
 

Keep in mind that your check list, may be off kilter.  You may be turning others away from the overall importance of Christ as well as turning Christians away from the faith.  See, I've done both.  I've turned others away from Christ and in the past I  turned away due to other Christians.

 

How do you feel when a prayer has not been answered in the way you wished it had? What was the moment like when you realized that maybe your request wasn't in line with God's plan for your life? Were you a bit sad?

At this moment, I am drawing a line through a request in my Prayer Journal. A request that has marked the top of my wish list and prayer journal since July 20, 2008.

In a small way I feel defeated. Not by a lack of care from above... but defeated by my own wants and desires being mostly selfish.

This request has become quite a mountain. It never should have, but it began to consume too many thoughts and prayerful moments. It became covetous in nature.

"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
~ Psalm 37:4

Though I believe this verse to be true. I believe that He does desire to give us the answers to our prayers. I also think our prayers need to come from the right place.

Recently, I saw someone with exactly what I have been in prayer over. In selfishness, my heart sank. I wanted so much to be irritated with the Lord for not giving it to me. Yet, I know the grass is not greener in this person's life. It was a grace and a blessing given to them out of circumstances I have not had to bare.

The request now marked out... I begin praying for a clean heart. One not consumed with things I don't need. A heart that is thankful for all that I have been blessed with. A spirit that does not forget what I have while wanting what I don't possess.


"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
~ Psalm 51:10