Jesus, where are you?
I don’t know about all of you, but I like being perfect. Or at least, I like to present to the world that I’m perfect. I like making the right decisions, posting the right pictures, having the right friends, and planning my whole life so nothing will surprise or hurt me. Perhaps this is a generational mindset or a deep-seated lie, but I think that perfection will keep me safe and fulfill me, and that all I have to do to achieve the life I want is to plan it out and then follow through.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, specifically, with Facebook memories. Every day Facebook reminds me what I did on that day over the years, and most of the time I see pictures or statuses involving friends orthe attempted murder of spiders in my basement. Facebook sometimes reminds me that I was an overly dramatic teenager and that I would very much like to expunge my senior year of high school from my internet record. Although cringe-worthy, I enjoy looking back on these times.
God, when did I stop trusting You?
Sometimes, these memories are painful. Yesterday, Facebook reminded me that this time last year, my whole life was different: I had just graduated from college, I was working part-time as a nanny and part-time at my church, and I was dating the man that I thought I would marry. A year later, none of those things are the same. And I am disappointed. I thought I would be closer to getting married, I thought I would be starting a master’s program this fall, I thought that God would ask me to move somewhere else and start a new adventure. Instead, I am still here, in the same job, in the same state, still single.
Facebook memories is not inherently bad; I’m just now face to face with my disappointments and frustrations, and I have to confront the reality that however much I plan, those plans might not work out. These memories are a tangible reminder that I can only do so much and that sometimes God doesn’t answer my prayers the way that I want Him to. Maybe even that most of the time, God doesn’t answer my prayers in the way that I want Him too.
It’s especially easy to look at the unanswered or disappointed prayers and to think that I need to find just the right words to pray in order to get what I want. Or to think that certain rituals and practices will give me the desired results. Maybe if I change how I pray than I’ll get what I want. As I said, I like to plan things.
Jesus, I don’t want to pray if you’re not going to answer.
I work at a church. And I work with a program called Alpha. If you’ve never heard of Alpha, it’s a place where people can come together to learn about and discuss the Christian faith with no strings attached. Our hope is that we will create a space where people can encounter the living Jesus and be drawn into His heart and into the community of the church. And I get to help create that space by making decorations, running the evening, and making sure there is an endless supply of coffee. In short, I get to plan the practicalities and I am good at it.
It seems obvious that when you work at a church, you should also pray for your work there. But, I get scared.Because what if God doesn’t follow through? What if I say the wrong things or my prayers aren’t good enough? I can’t plan for a God that is bigger than anything I can fathom, so I’d rather focus on the things I know I can do. I can plan for how people are coming to meet Jesus, but I’m afraid to pray for them to actually meet Him.
God, where are you?
This sounds so silly, but the biggest thing I’ve learned about prayer and planning over the last year is that the best prayer I have is to simply hold out my hands and invite the Spirit to join me. And then I wait. Because I’ve learned that prayer – even unanswered prayer – is a relationship with God and it is necessary. Even when I don’t have the words, even when I’m hurting, even when my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would; ESPECIALLY then. Because prayer takes me out of the need to plan. Prayer – even when it’s vulnerable and raw – reminds me that Jesus is inviting me into His plans, not the other way around.
I still find it hard to pray. I’m still disappointed and searching for answers; I forget to breathe and hold out my hands to invite God into my life because I’m afraid that He won’t want my anger and disappointment. I can’t do anything that would exempt me from the love of Christ, but there’s something so beautiful about letting go and trusting that Jesus is the ultimate planner. Because, as I said, I like planning. And it’s so nice to have a God who’s so much better at it than I am.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Rebecca Triplett from the USA,constantly strives to practically love people around her; she also loves fuzzy socks, her five sisters, pink and orange alstroemerias, calligraphy, and sour gummy worms.