I smiled as I fondly looked at the happy pictures of my family from this past week. These little clips are beautiful memories that will stay in my heart for years to come.
One would think, by looking at them, that it was a perfectly happy week. But the pictures don’t tell the whole story…
Camping with little ones isn’t easy. Hard mattresses, hot tempertures and unfamiliar settings make for long and restless nights. Despite our few snapshots of the best moments, not everything was as relaxing and peaceful as it would appear. Doing without the comforts and convieneces we normally have can be exhausting.
I am reminded this week that life isn’t perfect, nor can we expect it to be. That’s the fallen state of our world. It’s broken; incomplete.
I have also realized that life is neither about waiting for those golden “picture” moments (for they are far too short and few) nor about making the right decision at every opportunity.
It’s about overcoming. Never giving up. Learning and then relearning. All the while, finding joy in the ups, downs, and curves of life.
My dear auntie shared something with me a couple weeks ago that I absolutely loved. She said, “If all is well only when we frail humans finally come to our senses and make wrong things right (even though this is very important) what do we do when things can never be made right? Where we can’t go back, where permanent damage has occurred; or where people simply see things differently and don’t apologize…it HAS to be possible to overcome in all circumstances or we will constantly loose our joy.”
This is key. We often think it’s the big things that we need to overcome. The huge tests and trials. But for me, especially struggling with depression, I find it’s all too often the little things that I need to relinquish my control over.
This week I “failed” in my specific prayer challenges. My prayer times were short, interrupted and scattered throughout the day. I slept in because the camping nights weren’t great. I had little alone time in a little camper with five kids, no room to go to have peace and quiet. And I was really stressed about it! Because I said I was going to pray this week and I want to always keep my word. But then I stumbled upon this painted rock, hidden one morning:
And it hit me: Jesus isn’t interested in my perfection or my legalistic prayer agendas.
He’s interested in my heart.
Now I’m not saying that the prayer challenge itself is legalistic, but as always, I needed to get back to the heart of it. The heart of prayer is ALWAYS to connect with Jesus, not to “accomplish” this or that.
So I let go of the weekly agenda and practised “being still.”
Oh how sweet it was to connect with Jesus when the pressure was off! While kayaking, I suddenly was full of joy at the beauty around me and sang praises to God. While running or biking the trails, I was free to worship. While lying in the sun I would pray for loved ones. During meltdowns and temper tantrums I would grit my teeth and ask for grace, patience and wisdom.
There is no formula to a “good prayer”. All you really need is a sincere heart that desires God.
I am continuing the Summer Prayer Challenge, for I still desire to grow in prayer. Yet after this week, I am more sure of one thing then ever before: Jesus is absolutely perfect, but he’s not a perfectionist. Holiness/Perfection is NOT the same as perfectionism. To be holy means to be pure or set apart. Perfectionism says nothing is ever good enough. Jesus is perfect, that is, he is without fault or flaw, blemish or sin or stain…But he has chosen to work outside of perfection; in chaos, really. He is consistent, but knows very well that we are not. Yet, he has chosen the weak, the broken, and the unimpressive as vessels to work through. He’s not interested in our perfectly thought-out rountines, our well-structured lists or cleverly worded prayers.
He’s interested in YOU…in ME! Even though we could never be good enough on our own. He’s interested in relationship. He is able to work through us, if only we will listen to his heart. So for those of you this week, burdened by the “lists”, let go of them and “just be”…
Be still in his presence.
Be thankful in his blessings.
Be touched by his goodness.
Be filled with his love. Allow yourself to feel his love for you. He made only one special you!! Irreplaceable, unique, beautiful and totally LOVED. Feel his smile of delight, enjoying you “be” who he made you to be. Don’t bind yourself to a list. This week, make connection – not completion, your goal.
Summer Prayer Challenge- Week 4:
Pray each day with joy and thanksgiving, for your family. As each precious person comes to mind, lift them up to God. Picture them as you pray for them.
Monday: Pray for bible camps going on this summer. For staff and children to encounter Jesus and to be healed by him. For lasting change and lifelong commitments to be made.
Tuesday: Pray that God would unite his bride, the church. That we would set aside our differences and LOVE as he has called us to love.
Wednesday: Pray for those struggling with mental health. That God would bring break through and healing in this area. That he would bring miraculous healings. That God would give wisdom and tools to the church, to help those suffering to find victory, to overcome!
Thursday: For us as a church to realize our desperate need and hopelessness without God. For the church to call out to God, to wake up and PRAY. For our eyes to be opened to the idols around us.
Friday: For our country, our government, our leaders. Bless them and pray in faith that God is in complete control over our leaders! Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I’ll post again on Saturday with the prayers for the day and the weekly challenge!
Bless you this week, as you meet with Jesus. Always remember that this is really about him 💕