Persecuted

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How enriched you are when you bear the wounds of being persecuted for doing what is right! For that is when you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom Matthew 5:10

Have you ever prayed for something and then sat back to wait for God to do all the work? I mean, God will provide right? No? Just me?

I’m gonna get real here for a moment. Y’all know I’m an eat-a-salad-at-lunch-lose-5-pounds-by-supper kinda girl, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I also like God to do all the hard work. SO, let’s begin.

At one of my lowest points struggling with being the hyper kid with depression, I had found myself in my room after an absolutely horrible day. The kids were in bed after a long day of yelling and frustration, and there I was, alone. With all of my thoughts. Beating myself up for being that kind of example for my children. Hating myself because I wanted so badly to be a kind mother – y’know the one who says ‘yes’ and has things planned, and never complains about her children even when they’re being jerks? Yep – the Pinterest mom – that was my goal. Spoiler: I’m not that kind of mom. I’m okay with it now, but my desire to achieve that goal almost killed me.

Where was I? Right. Talking to myself. My thoughts were on overdrive – why am I like this? What kind of mother yells at her kids? They’re going to grow up hating you. You are a mess up, horrible person. You shouldn’t even be here. You’ll never be the person they need. And so on. Then I got angry. At God. I was going to church, listening to what they had to say, doing what they told me to do, praying every day for God to change me – no – to fix me. So I started yelling at him; really having it out. Why didn’t he respond by answering my prayers? What made others recipients of God’s yes and I was there with my own self-hatred struggling for a breath of fresh air? Why wasn’t I good enough to save?

I was waiting on God to do all the work. All of it. I was crying for change and waiting for repairs to be done for me. Spoiler: God doesn’t work that way. I was getting angry because I was always told ‘ask and ye shall receive’ (yes, ye.) I never understood why everyone used the old-timey words for that, but it made them seem like experts. I was ticked off at those experts because this ‘ye’ wasn’t receiving.

I was missing something huge in all of this

I was praying for big changes, but only applying minor effort. Let me see if I can make sense of this with you. A little while ago, I saw this motivational picture that said “Don’t pray for an A while you study for a B”. I may have taken a moment to really process what this meant in my life, but eventually I came to conclusion similar to this one:

And then it hit me: I’m praying for huge results by making tiny changes; waiting for God to do all the work that I wasn’t willing to do. It was at that moment, a little while later, only within the last year or so that I started changing my prayers to help me do the hard work. This was the tiny change I needed to do all along. Instead of saying ‘God please fix me’, I prayed ‘God please show me’.

I would love to tell you that this was the easiest first step for me to do do, but let’s face it: I don’t listen very well, and I’m stubborn. So it took a while. But I did change. As I kept praying for God to show me what I needed to do, something amazing happened: I began looking for what God was showing me. I am actually beginning to see what Matthew 5:10 is talking about! My next right move isn’t always easy. And it involves establishing boundaries and doing some hard stuff to bring change about, but as I keep looking for where God is telling me to go, I am changing. And I am feeling blessed in this mess.

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