Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Answered Prayer

God is so good.  Allow me to ellaborate...

Last night I was kneeling beside my bed in prayer.  Usually I pray while laying in bed, before going to sleep, but last night I felt especially convicted that I needed to do some good, HARD praying.  See, I've been reading this book, Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss.  Through this book, I've been convicted about what a completely selfish, weak creature I am.  I've tried so many times to change certain aspects of myself (watching less TV, eating less fast food, drinking less pop, spending less money).  Once I make up my mind to change something, I'll do pretty well for a day or two.  Then, I just settle back into my old ways, as if nothing had changed in me at all  It's just as the apostle Paul said in the book of Romans:

"I want to do what is right, but I can't.  I want to do what is good, but I don't.  I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." - Romans 7:18-19

This book has further convicted me that I consistently keep my thoughts focused on myself, rather than on God.  I get annoyed at difficult circumstances, rather than entertain the thought that maybe God brings hardship into my life to change me, bring me closer to Him. 

One character in the book, Mrs. Campbell, explains to the main character, Katherine, that God brings "difficult" people into our lives for one of two reasons: 1)for the good that they might do us, or 2) for the good that we might do them.  I see how little self-control and self-denial that I have displayed with certain people who I have deemed "difficult."  Instead, I got angry and frustrated.  I determined that I would get my way and would not let them impose on my life.  I wanted to keep my BOUNDARIES.  Only now do I see how much teaching I may have missed out on by failing to deny myself and focus on Jesus.

So during this prayer session, I was not only confessing my sins, but asking God to change my sinful nature.  I was crying.  A phrase came into my mind that I kept repeating over and over: "More of you God, and less of me!"  I'm so tired of myself, so ready for God to transform me into the person He wants me to be.  I'm not sure who that person is, but as long as He's in control, it's got to be good.  Of course, I'm also fully aware that God does not change us overnight, but over a lifetime, drawing us closer to him in small steps.  To quote my book:

Katherine: "I have a great many little trials, but they don't do me a bit of good.  Or, at least, I don't see that they do."

Mrs. Campbell: "No, we never see plants growing," she said.

Katherine: "And do you really think, then, that perhaps I am growing, though unconsciously?"

Mrs. Campbell: "I know you are, dear child.  There can't be life without growing."

I was wiping my eyes when Sean came into the room.  Seeing that I had been crying, he asked me what was wrong.  I told him about my struggles, about how I've been trying to make changes and failing miserably.  He asked me if I'd like his help, to keep me accountable in the changes I want to make (like I said before, less TV for me AND Christina, less fast food, less pop, spending less money).  I accepted his offer, knowing full well that he WILL keep me accountable, and that will make this much harder for me.  I won't be able to fall back into my old ways as easily, because now I'll be disappointing not only God, but my husband.  Maybe that sounds funny, because disappointing God should be worse to me than disappointing my husband.  But I think I unconsciously know that God will forgive my misgivings, while my husband may not.

Sean and I talked for quite a while, and I got some great ideas.  For example, the reason I think I have so much trouble with spending too much money is that I use shopping as recreation.  When Christina and I are at home, and I'm being good about keeping the TV off, we inevitably get bored and want to go somewhere.  The weather is getting pretty cold, so going to the park isn't as inviting as it was during the summer months.  The only indoor thing that I can think to do is go to a store.  And somehow, I always end up buying something that I don't really need.  So Sean's idea is, when I go out, leave my money and credit cards at home.  That way, I have no opportunity to buy anything.  (So simple - why didn't I think of that?!)

Sean also reminded me that I shouldn't expect to change all of these things overnight.  It's a process (God is all about the PROCESS, remember?).

I'm just so blessed to have Sean as my husband.  I don't think a lot of husbands would be as understanding and helpful as he was with me.  When we laid down to go to sleep last night, I told him, "I knew God would answer my prayer.  I just had no idea He would do it this fast!"

God is so good.

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