I’ve realized lately that pride has slowly been creeping into my blogging. I don’t want to complain here. I don’t want to paint myself in a negative light. I want this blogging corner of my world to be happy and joyous, a place where I can learn and share the lessons God is teaching me with you, my dearest readers. However honorable my quest for happy blogging is, it also means that I’m not sharing the yucky stuff, and let’s face it, life can be yucky. Prayer can be yucky, labored, and forced. That, my dear friends, is where I’m at. Do you ever have something that you really, really just don’t want to pray about? Maybe you are scared of God’s answer, or maybe you just don’t want to know. Maybe He’s calling you to pray for an enemy and you just don’t have it in you to pray for good things to happen in their life (sure, you’ll pray for them, but perhaps not in the most genuine way, like this guy). Believe me when I say I get it. Believe me, too, when I tell you that you aren’t alone. Sometimes my prayer with God goes like this:
Me: God, I know You want me to ask You about such-and-such situation. I can feel You tugging on my heart, asking me to come before You. But guess what? I don’t want to. Deal with it.
It sounds so childish, and I know that I’m being childish even when I tell Him to deal with my stubborn and scaredy cat heart. It looks even more childish as I type it out. Eventually I start to cave because, well, He’s God and, well, I’m not. Then something like this happens:
Me: Fine, God, I give in. Your will be done…LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! AMEN!
Me, to myself: Good job, you prayed and asked God! Pat on the back for you!
That, if it is possible, sounds more childish than my first attempt at talking to God. At least I was being honest with Him, and with myself. In the second conversation I’m grasping at authenticity, I’m grasping at letting God in. I’m giving Him lip service without ever even intending to listen to His response. Am I moving closer to Him? Perhaps, because I’m at least willing to tell Him that I’m slightly open to His will. Perhaps not, because I’m not at all willing to listen to His response.
Our hearts, I often think, are like doors. When it comes to praying about certain things, the door of my heart is wide open. God, what job do You want me in? Lead the way. Sometimes the door of my heart is cracked open, God, what do You want me to do at this youth ministry event? Allow me to be Your hands and feet, even though I’m aware of my limitations. Still other times, the door of my heart is cracked open in the smallest way possible, God, where are You leading this relationship? I really want you to lead it here, and I’m not sure I’m ready for You to lead it anywhere else.
What I’ve learned over the years is that, in the end, it doesn’t really matter exactly how open the door of my heart is, it only matters that I at leave the door cracked for Him. Even if I only leave it open a hair, He has a way of coming in and blowing that door wide open. But, if I shut the door, if I shut Him out, I wind up like a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in a room by myself, wondering why no one will open the door for me. He, our loving, caring, generous God, never forces Himself on us. He won’t open the doors we’ve slammed shut in His face. He knows when we are afraid to ask Him something and He patiently waits as He helps us open the door of our heart. So, even when we are afraid to ask, would we rather sheepishly crack the door, waiting for His loving mercy to enter, or would we rather throw a temper tantrum in a room alone and cut off from His love?