“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24
Yesterday was a full day for my mind and my little heart. I was grateful for the day off from work and the fact that I was able to get much done that had been following me around, weighing on me.
I promised the Lord that I would NOT do ONE thing on my very long list of tasks until I spent time with Him. That is one of my HUGE goals this year ~ to spend at least three or four of my mornings each week seeking Him in Bible study and prayer before the day gets started.
Often, I study at night, which I still plan to do on the other days. But I wish to change that around, at least part of the time ~ so as to make sure I am spending time with Him first.
Doing this yesterday cause a lot of good things for how the events and tasks ahead of me would unfold. One of those things was it caused me to realize I need to fully open a new door of listening and hearing~ not just cracking it open part way.
You see, this nagging feeling in my gut has been back with me, and at me for quite some time, but I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it. I have been seeking Him and thinking that I’ve been listening, but realize I have been limiting the ways that I have been following through on it all.
I’ve still been allowing my own will to get in the way by not listening for any and everything He might want to tell me.
I haven’t really been asking. Asking with the expectancy of hearing and then, here’s the kicker: obeying.
We don’t truly listen if we aren’t open to what it might mean for us next. Are we going to do something with what we hear, or not? Are we dipping our toes in the water because we are not sure what the Lord’s will is yet, or are we reluctant because we haven’t fully surrendered?
After yesterday, and after praying with my husband last night, I woke up this morning knowing something…..more. I didn’t have all the answers and I still don’t, friends. But I know that the more is that I have been withholding something.
I still don’t know what the nagging means.
I still don’t know what the turnout will be in regard to my health issues and being able to keep working outside of the home.
Part of me thinks that what I want is to be healed and be able to keep doing my job. Part of me thinks…“fine, I will quit if I have to, Lord and I know you will provide. But I need to know that if I do that, that it is YOUR will. Not mine, just because I am weary.”
But what is it that HE wants? Is He going to tell me?
I still don’t know if the Lord is asking for me to wait upon Him and His answers or if He’s leading me to a place in which I have to choose ~ choose a new door to walk through, or at least, redecorate the room that I am in.
I still don’t know that.
But I know that I haven’t really been asking. Not all the way.
- I’ve asked that He tell me what to do. At least tell me what not to do.
- I’ve asked that He heal me so that __________ can happen. (I’ve given Him a multiple choice list of options ~ yea, yea, I know ~ I know!)
- I’ve asked that if it’s not in His will to remove the physical problems from me yet, that I grow and learn, but that He make a way for __________ to be better.
I was here before, friends. About two years ago, I was in a very similar spot. And although the circumstances are different this time around, I feel like I am living out the definition of insanity.
That stuff I listed above is good asking ~ but it’s not all the way.
It’s not complete.
What do I mean about all the way?
- Asking with the absolute and total surrender needed to accept the answer ~ whatever it may be.
- Asking the way that Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- Asking in His name, according to His full will.
- Asking and being willing to accept that He knows what is better for me and my family than I do and that the present circumstances, if they are to remain, will get better.
- Listening more and asking for the strength to obey (maybe that is what the waiting time is for ~ to prepare me)
- Being willing to do the hard thing if He doesn’t make the way any easier for a while.
And yes, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe He has a surprise right around the corner!
You see, I’ve been doing that thing that I do again ~ that thing where I think it’s A or B. But I tricked myself because I had big A, little a, big B, little b, and lots of little bullet points in-between them.
Whatever the answer ends up being and whether it’s some variation of A and/or B or not, God is here with me.
And I am asking.
But I think I’ve been asking more for His will, but His will to be something that works out to make things “easier to cope with” for me.
That’s not what Jesus got for an answer in the Garden……
You see, there’s another thought that is not lost on me in regard to all of this, friends. I haven’t failed to consider that I am possibly being taught about how to really embrace how to be content in the present circumstances.
Oh, I’ve tried. It’s just….that nagging thing.
So I am asking about the nagging too.
Oh ~ and that other pesky thing…my physical health.
Is the nagging just my flesh because I struggle so badly with being content when I am deeply uncomfortable, Lord? Is it going to be the real thorn in my flesh that I carry with me until I go home?
Is the nagging really a prodding from the Holy Spirit to do something different, when I am not sure if by doing that I would be opening and closing my own doors without being patient and listening for YOU to make clear to me what YOUR will is?
I don’t know the answer.
But I am going to start to ask. I am going to ask about the nagging in His Holy name, friends.
I am going to ask for Him to help me, even if nothing of what I think is my heart’s desire is how it all turns out.
Because guess what? I honestly no longer know what my heart’s desire is in regard to this. I just want to be able to put one foot in front of the other and walk like Jesus.
I am going to ask for Him to prepare my heart to receive whatever it is He has for me and make that clear.
Maybe there will be more trudging and blood and sweat and tears for a while.
I am going to ask.
I am going to obey Him and take steps one moment at a time and one day at a time and hope in Him and believe ~ this too shall pass.
I am going to obey.
I am going to wait upon Him to speak to me clearly and help me separate fleshly challenges and self-will from whispers from the Holy Spirit.
He is going to answer.
I don’t know that the answer is going to come in the form of one final…”here it is, and you can rest a while.” So far, it has not been that way, friends.
So it’s not just about the asking. It’s not just about the listening. It’s not only the obeying or the discernment or the waiting or the courage to follow through upon each whisper and put it into motion.
It’s about Jesus. It’s in the not knowing and what I do with those moments that He has me tightly in His grip, teaching me to surrender, ushering in His daily mercy and grace and lavish love upon me in the midst of bone cracking pain and utter uncertainty at times.
He will provide. He will answer. And I will crawl over each earthly finish line if I have to in order to finish this race the way that He sees fit.
Even if it means that my crawling entails being at a complete halt, an utter standstill.
Dignity can often only be truly had while upon our bleeding knees.
Is there something you think you have been praying about and seeking the Lord’s will over and you just find yourself knowing that something is just…missing? Ask for Him to reveal what you have not surrendered to Him yet, friends. Is there a situation you find yourself in where you wish to be faithful to show the Lord that you are grateful, content, thankful, persevering, willing to stick with or give up, but you find yourself struggling beyond belief as to how to remain in it if things do not change? Don’t give up and ask in His name for His will to be revealed and the courage and strength (His) to step out and obey. Do you think you have told the Lord that you are willing to obey, but still conflicted about what the thing is that He wants for you to do? Ask.
How do we know if we are supposed to step out into the water?
We ask just who or what is on the other side.
When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”…Matthew 14:26-27
And we meet Him there.
Wherever “there” may be.
Probably while on our knees.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1