Admittedly, I am only coming into my own when it comes to my faith walk and having a relationship with God, but last week a lightbulb went off as I considered what it truly means to “be real”. For years, being real meant yelling with God when it is time to yell, crying to God when you’re at the end of your rope, thanking God for your blessings, and laughing out loud with God when it’s time to laugh out loud. However, being real was never 100% translatable into my prayer time or table talk with God. At least, it was never “real” for me. Until a few days ago, my prayer life kept getting into a battle of wits with my heart, soul, and mind. Through this battle, my heart would not give permission to my mind to pray without fabrication of thought. Psychologically speaking being real never seemed like the right thing to do. Locked inside of me were all of these years of rules and excuses from Sunday school classes, faith discussions, and grandparent warnings of what you can and can not say to God. My heart would say God is God and you are you. God is not some family down the street or a boss at work. God is omnipotent and king of the universe. He is perfect and we are not, so, why waste God’s time complaining or wishing for more blessings? To ask for more, simply put, always seemed to be self-serving and disrespectful to a God who never makes mistakes. As a student of God’s graces, transgressions such as greed, pride, jealousy, and impatience never seemed to serve anyone well. At least, those I read about in the Bible such as Ahab, Michal, or Esau. With all of this said – what makes me think God has the time, patience, and desire for what I want and what I think I need?
Yes, these were my exact thoughts until about three days ago. Then something dawned on me. Being real, does not mean you can’t ask, but like a parent with a child sometimes the answer to a question or request is going to be “not right now”, “this is not in my plans” or a straight “no” response. Other times the answer is going to be “yes”. I believe the issue is not in the asking as much as it is in the expectation of what is going to happen next. Quite frankly, I always had a big debate with myself around the Bible verse: Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” If you are anything like me – you may say if this verse was true everyone would win the lottery. However, now I read this verse differently. Now the verse seems to talk more about being present and real then it does about the result. My belief is what will be given to you as you ask, seek, knock, and are real is wisdom, a closer relationship, and better awareness and opportunities. Have you ever thought those who are mature in their faith walk, they hear God’s voice because they ask, seek, and knock for God’s wisdom? They are not afraid to be real and throw caution to the wind because they know where their faith stands. In many cases, aren’t these the people and stories we look up to because they say – I asked God to be an author to millions and here I am? My lesson learned in this lightbulb moment is not all my asks will be received, but my asks sure won’t be received if I never ask.
Again, let me bring caution to what I’m saying – it is the asking and not the receiving that counts. Several years ago, my husband and I went to a new church so I could experience a Pentecostal church; which was my husband’s denomination when growing up. As soon as we left the church, my husband turned to me and said – “I don’t want you to think the sermon we went to was anything like the Pentecostal church I went to.” The reason is a whole church of people were repeating the movie screen on the wall which said things such as I give so I will win the lottery. Of course, you may be like me and say the banter did not feel comfortable My guess is it didn’t feel comfortable because expecting a certain result was not real, truthful, or ok with our values. It was not the point of saying how great it would be to win the lottery – it was more about expecting it when this might not be part of God’s plan.
This, of course, leads to the question – why does God not always answer our “wants” with “what we hope will happen?” Unfortunately, this is not a question I can 100% answer. It is a question I’ve asked myself a million times. My only response is to say God is divine. If he has a better plan, he will put this plan into place. We may not understand why today, but believe at some point God will show us why his plan is better. As many people will tell you on their faith walk, there is no reason for us to fight God’s plan because he will do whatever he wants in the end whether we agree or not. So if God does whatever he wants, isn’t it a waste of our time to ask what we want? My belief is we ask because God wants to be intimate with us and hear our most intimate desires, but we also have to trust in his plan. Think about it – With our closest friends, we trust our friends with our innermost secrets and desires, so, why would we not want the same with God? Our friends can’t always give us what we want, so, why do we expect God will give us everything on a silver platter? Asking is being real, but getting frustrated at a certain result is not what it means to have faith. At least, this is not my definition of Faith. What it does mean is we need to be real without having strings attached. As human beings this can be difficult sometimes, but putting God on a pedestal or not treating God like a true partner in our lives, minimizes God and minimizes the relationship. In the end – God wants you and all of you, so, if you’ve been like me and hidden what you say to God – don’t you think it is about time to have Faith and to be real?