A New Normal

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Karen Dilbeck is one of those rare friends that you maintain contact with but whom you never see. In fact, I don’t think Karen and I have had face to face time for almost 30 years! Yet, we’ve remained close in heart. 

 

Karen is a photographer, artist, speaker and Etsy shop owner. All this, and she writes a mean annual newsletter. 

 

Her thoughts on prayer really hit me today. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

Karen D

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All my life, prayer has been defined as a conversation with God.  I have been told (and believe) that God is my ‘friend’.   However, because of this rather simplistic, and extremely limiting view, I have unwittingly reduced God to a supernatural peer.   When needed, I have tended to either politely ask or obnoxiously beg Him to do stuff for me.  

 

For example, something bad happens to me (or around me) and I take the time (whether three seconds or three hours) to come up with my great solution to the noted problem.  I then turn my solution into a supposed ‘prayer’, when, in reality, it is a directive

 

This is how it sounds: “God heal him,” or “God, give me more money,” or “God, sell my house,” or “God, get me a new job,” or “God, don’t let me be pregnant!”  

 

Directing God with my solution is not prayer.  

 

Begging God is not prayer.  

Whining to God is not prayer.   

 

All of these things reveal not only my lack of understanding of Who He really is, but also my limited and temporal view of life as He intended.

 

Because of more profound recent needs, I realized my former plan wasn’t working.   (This plan of asking, begging, whining and directing God.)  

 

Before, my plan was like a crapshoot.  Sometimes my ‘offered directive’ was, indeed, His ‘answer’.  Sometimes it was not.  Either way, I accepted the outcome, gave God ‘the glory’ and carried on with my existence.  Pitiful in retrospect.

 

Though I believed that God was/is Sovereign, my prayers revealed otherwise.  Though I believe that God used/uses all circumstances for my good and His glory, my prayers revealed otherwise.

 

What I was not doing was asking this amazing, sovereign, detailed, personal, eternal, creative, and loving God where His heart was about my ‘house not selling’ and my ‘brother having cancer’ and my ‘broken relationship with a loved one’.   Actually, taking the time to ask Him for His perspective wasn’t even a thought in my head.  After all, my ultimate desire was always about my circumstances getting back to what I considered and desired to be ‘normal’.

 

Though I do have conversations with God, that no longer defines what prayer is to meIt is now simpler.   It has also removed God from the friend-zone. 

 

God has made me more aware of the fact that He has a plan.  He always has a plan.  And His plan has eternity in mind, whereas my plan includes quick fixes for today.  His plan changes me for His purposes, whereas my plan attempts to get me to my desired ‘normal’.   I can choose to give Him directives, or beg, or whine, but then I lose.  Every time.  Or I can choose to turn myself to Him.  Wait on His directive, and respond.  Preferably with the only way you answer the God of the universe: “Yes, Lord.”

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