One Prayer Most Christians Don’t Say

At 10:30am I finally sit down on my bed, open my Bible and ask God to speak to me from His word. I had a full day of accomplishment. I worked out for an hour and made a new friend at Planet Fitness. I started drafting an e-mail newsletter and had an hour-long conference call with a client about a marketing project. I landed a ghostwriting contract and posted my stories for tomorrow. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep because of an unsatisfied crave.

Crave is an urgent desire that must be satiated. This could be a good thing if you crave healthy, good-for-your-soul food, music or books. Or a crave can drive you to do things you would never think of doing such as selling yourself for drugs. Either way, God has put in our soul a desire that only He can fulfill.

I dutifully read my assigned readings following the ‘read through your Bible’ in a year plan. And then suddenly, three scriptures kept commanding my attention. I wrote them down. I journaled my thoughts and tried to go to sleep. I couldn’t.

Several scriptures convicted me to the core. I bolted upright and imagined King David in his might and glory penning these words. He was the one who slayed tens of thousands, commanded armies, caused a pagan queen to cross an ocean and a continent because of his renown.

An emperor and heroic commander penned these words that pierced my soul:

With your hand you drove out the nations
    and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
    and made our ancestors flourish.
It was not by their sword that they won the land,
    nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face, for you loved them. (Psalm 44: 2-3)

God’s right hand, His arm and the light of His face brought victory.  David declares:

You are my King and my God,
    who decrees[c] victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies;
    through your name we trample our foes.
6 I put no trust in my bow,
    my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
    you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name forever.[d] (Psalm 44: 4-8)

David’s source of might was God’s right hand and His arm and the light of His face.  David’s accomplished his mighty exploits because he had an intimate, hand to hand, arm to arm, face to face, touch to touch, breath to breath relationship with God. He was utterly dependent on God.

I was convicted of how much I depend on myself and my own strength, might, connections and smarts to get done what I need to get done. I can get A LOT done WITHOUT God. I was terrified by my own independence.

I repented of depending on my own strength. I laid down my giftedness, my skills, my talents and connections. I asked Him to teach me how to depend on Him. I laid down my sword and trust in myself.

I don’t hear Christians saying this prayer because we don’t like depending on anyone. We celebrate independence and the self-made millionaire who doesn’t need anyone. We don’t want to need anyone or count on someone.

I’m immersed in a world chasing likes and shares as an editor of an online publication and social media manager. We want our video or our post to go viral. We want fame, fortune and popularity and we can deceive ourselves into thinking we will use this for God’s glory.

The chase for likes and shares creates pressure to hype or manipulate information to get people to read your post or share your video. We become a prisoner of our own hype. God’s victory doesn’t depend on my fame, fortune or hype. Winning God’s way comes by relationship alone.

A friend of mine at the International House of Prayer Kansas City told me how he quit writing for several years to get to know God. His relationship with God was more valuable then his journalistic ability.  I tried to imagine myself not doing what I’m good at for several years to seek God. Frankly I don’t see how I could do that because my family financially depends on my writing and business. God knows my situation and He has opened doors to people I would have considered 10 years ago out of my league.

The prayer coursing in my soul is to know how to depend on Him. To know victory by His right hand, right arm and the light of His face. A win that comes from a touch-to-touch, breath-to-breath walk with the living God.  A win that doesn’t come from my own ability to wield the sword or my talent to shoot the bow.  But a win or victorious season from hearing and responding to Him.

 

Did that really happen?

We are either victors or victims of our own perspectives. The view from above or across the room can be radically different from what really happened. I learned this the hard way.

I have a daughter with special needs and as I walked outside the church sanctuary, I saw a horrible site. She was sitting across from some girls her age who were pointing at her and laughing.

I grabbed her and told the girls that they should not have been so cruel. They looked at me strangely. Angry, I turned around and walked out.

I woke my husband because I couldn’t sleep. I told him what happened. “You need to talk to the parents to hear their side of the story,” he said.

I Facebooked the parents and immediately received several responses. I talked to the girl who was the ringleader and this is what she said: “I was telling your daughter that she shouldn’t throw her Bible on the floor. I told her that it was a holy book.”

The girl’s eyes were earnest and I knew in my gut that she was telling the truth. Her story backed the accounts that the rest of the parents shared with me. I was wrong.

What I saw: Girls pointing at her and laughing.

What happened: They were trying to tell her to not throw her Bible on the floor.

I over reacted and if it wasn’t for my husband advising me to get their side of the story, I would have thought that these girls were mean and cruel to kids with disabilities. I was woefully wrong.

Have you over reacted to something? Are you mad at someone? Get their side of the story. Life will be so much better. Love is a lighter burden to carry then anger.

Our views can be dramatically different from the truth because of our lenses. Put down your microscope. Look through someone else’s eyes or walk in their shoes. Tell me how it goes.

The Two Most Powerful Words

If more bosses said these two words, they wouldn’t lose valuable employees.

If more leaders said these two words, they would increase their influence.

If more parents said these two words, their children would feel more secure.

If more spouses said these two words, their husbands / wives would feel more appreciated.

These are two of the most powerful words that are neglected because we live in a society that’s too busy, too self-centered and too selfish to say these two simple words that could change a life.

You probably know those two words by now. When is the last time you said those two words?

Thank you.

Thank you for working hard, going the extra mile giving your creativity, your heart and your ideas to this business / organization / company.

Thank you for supporting me and my ideas.

Thank you for doing what I asked you to do. Thank you for cleaning your room. Thank you for doing your homework. Thank you for being kind to your brother or sister.

Thank you honey for working hard for supporting our family. Thank you for cooking dinner. Thank you for doing the laundry.

Such a simple phrase yet we don’t hear it enough. I’ve volunteered with one project for almost 10 years and I have yet to hear thank you for giving up your time and serving when you don’t feel like it and when you have better things go do. I’ve thought of quitting that volunteer gig but I get so much out of it. Nonetheless, a thank you for giving up your time for over 10 years would go a long way.

So I want to thank my clients who are my bosses for letting me serve them this year.

Thank you Chris, Alex and DÁndra for your love, quirkiness and just being who you are. Next to Jesus and your dad, Jerome, you are the most important people in my life.

Jerome and I at our wedding over 20 years ago.

Thank you Jerome for putting up with all of the ups and downs of my life, the changes I’ve gone through in the last 20 years we’ve been together. Thank you for being the anchor and stability in my life.

Now it’s your turn. Go say thank you.

Breaking Barriers

When 2010 started, I didn’t plan to lose a major contract and bump up my side business to become my full-time gig. I didn’t foresee my 16-year-old son, Chris, driving or my 8-year-old daughter, D’Andra, forgetting that she has special needs or a disability, grabbing a sled, jumping on it and sliding down a steep hill. I didn’t foresee my 12-year-old son, Alex, getting a text through Chris from a group of girls wanting to know which one did he like. I also didn’t foresee my 16-year-old niece, Erin, who lives with us, getting her first job.

People change, contracts end, and stuff comes at you that you didn’t expect. My business has created friendships with incredible, smart entrepreneurs that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t step out. I started doing presentations regularly in 2010 and realized how much I enjoy public speaking. I broke my own barriers to my fear of starting a business and selling – which has cost me – and public speaking.

For 2011, I look forward to making more friends, writing and presenting more and seeing amazing changes in my kids. This time next year, Chris and Erin will probably have their driver’s license. Alex will tower over me and will have a couple performance gigs under his belt. He’s already 5″7! D’Andra, I’m sure, will surprise me most of all as she continues to break barriers and expectations put on kids with special needs.

What barriers and expectations will you break? What are you looking forward to?