Thinking about giving up? Add this 1 thing to your next prayer

Sometimes I look at my life and think, “Wow, I really like this season that I’m in right now.” Just as suddenly, I resolve to do everything in my power to maintain the temporal in order to embrace comfortability. I love seasons of comfort, peace, rest, and fruitfulness. And I fear seasons of turmoil, death, barrenness, and fruitlessness. Therefore when the latter occurs, I feel off balance and frantically seek “realignment” through seeking a particular circumstance... rather than seeking what lies in eternity, which is Christ.

When I’m in a state of constantly seeking favorable circumstances, every precious moment is clouded by shuddering thoughts.

When my mom gives me insightful advice on motherhood and  interacts with her grandson (my son), I wonder “What will I do if lose her?” When I finish breastfeeding and see my little one clutch my shirt for more, I quietly pray, “Lord how will my heart handle it when he one day pushes me away?” When my husband and I share a season of sweet intimacy, I can’t help but wonder when it’ll end.

On the flip side, when I find myself in unfavorable circumstances, my first response is simply,

“Get me out!!! Let it end. I can’t take it.”

And I’ll do whatever it takes to NOT be in a position in which I’m forced to persevere.

By fighting difficult seasons, we come to resent difficulties. Through resentment we become bitter. And in bitterness, we consciously or unconsciously turn and blame God when we’ve had enough. 

I believe I and many Millennials find ourselves more depressed, confused, and empty because of seeking permanent comfort and security. Most times, we place unfair expectations on our futures by doing all the “right things” with the motivation of avoiding difficult seasons.

I don’t mean to jump on the bandwagon of so many by beating up my generation and the generation after by shaking my head and waving my finger while lip-syncing to the song of “This generation...I just don’t know.” But when I hear...

I need to go ahead and marry because I’m tired of feeling lonely. I need to have a child because I want someone to love me. I need a good paying job to avoid awkward pauses at social outings when others ask, “So what do you do for a living?” I need to quit my current job because my manager is…just too much.  I always need to go out to avoid the emptiness that weighs on me when in my dorm/apartment alone. I need to helicopter my kid because I want to avoid all the things that I fear most when not being in control.

"Girl, as long as you're happy," is not the answer. Be careful in exchanging eternal refinement, by shortcutting difficult seasons,  for fleeting gratifications (above all else).

John 16: 33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Avoiding difficult seasons is not the answer. Seeking Christ and abiding in His peace is.

So you may be wondering, "Yeah, I get it. But realistically, when I'm praying, I'm not about to be thanking God for whatever unwelcomed circumstance I find myself in. Let's be real." 

Hmmmmm...So before you check out on me, let me provide you with some context.  All of these thoughts came about when reflecting on what the Lord shared with me a year ago (before pregnancy). He shared with me that He was about to take me into a season of perseverance. Naively, I was like “Alright, I’m ready!”  In my head, I equated perseverance to the idea of running a marathon and allowing the Lord to get me into shape spiritually. I was excited about the idea. Nevermind potential leg cramps, dehydration, and muscle soreness that could ensue. Bring on the cute bod!

healthy-person-woman-sport.jpg

But a year later, I thought of what the Lord said while taking care of my husband and I’s son (4 months old at the time). After feeling good that I had finally garnered somewhat of a schedule with him, there came a poop explosion, pee that somehow made it outside of his diaper, a perfectly made smoothie that somehow fell off the tv tray and splattered over our newly painted walls and shattered the new glass I just ordered from Walmart (yes, this happened), and a date night delayed because baby boy fell asleep and woke up right after I left the room. 

IMG_2571.jpg

Long story short, perseverance didn't look so appealing to me anymore. But then I began to think of...my grandfather, who was a principal and was fired from his position when integration reached Booneville, MS. He never was a principal again. My mom, who worked full time as a teacher and had four kids. My grandmothers, who each raised two sons in the midst of racial tension while living in Mississippi during the 1950s. My father, who was denied his dental license in MS and was forced to move my mom and newborn sister to Tennessee. And my female ancestors who somehow endured pregnancy, labor, motherhood, and family separation while living under the barbaric system of slavery in America.  

How did they all keep living day-to-day...when I complain about mopping the floors?

In seeking favorable circumstances, my and many others’ current prayer requests read like this: "Can you tell God to fix this situation...NOW?”  I’ll still be praying this, by the way. But this prayer request ought to be coupled with the following:

And if He doesn’t, can you ask Him to find me faithful even through this circumstance?

Where do we see this modeled in the Bible? 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were 3 young men who were about to be thrown into the blazing hot fire for not worshiping an idol. Here’s their response:

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Do you hear what they just said?

flaming-fire.jpg

They have faith that God can change the circumstance.

But even if He doesn’t, they say, “I’ma be found faithful!”

I challenge you to continue praying for various circumstances to change in your life. But I dare you to utter the prayer, “Lord even if you don’t, help me to be found faithful today.”

PonderedThought: Instead of seeking easy seasons of life, yes, pray that a particular circumstance might change. But also surrender and pray that the Lord might find you faithful no matter what He chooses to do in your current situation. This can only occur through the grace of God. Remember, comfort is not the goal. You being faithful and in a disposition of surrender ought to be. This life is so short. And if you’re saved, before you know it, you’ll be living in eternity.

Post inspired by the following song by David Helser and interview by Priscilla Shirer.

Verses to help you surrender to this notion:

1. Lord, get me out of this situation because what if this happens….and then this…. which will inevitably lead to this….

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2. Lord, I can’t keep going at this pace. Thank you for the grace offered today, but what about tomorrow?

Psalm 46:1 “I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

3. Thank you for still providing for us when I didn’t have a job, or when my husband didn’t have a job, or when we didn’t know where our next check was going to come from. But I don't feel like going through that again. Can’t we just seek security by remaining where we are? I don’t feel like following You if it means taking a risk again.

Luke 12:22-26 “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”.

4. I know you helped me this time by helping me to not go completely off on my co-worker, husband, child, sibling, parent...but what about next time? Cause that last time just about took everything out of me to not...

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”