Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shut up and sleep.

I have learned that in our busy world, sometimes rest can actually be a discipline. I woke up this morning at 6:30am, after having a rough night of sleep, and only getting to bed at midnight anyway. I was in pain, and I knew I would have to get up to take something, so I thought, 'What the hay, the I might as well get up and pray since I probably couldn't get back to sleep if I tried.'
I ate some yogurt so I could take an Aleve, made myself a cup of tea, then sat down to read my devotions like I always do these days. I got through the reading, barely. I had to read most sentences twice because I couldn't focus for the life of me. I literally kept nodding off, and no amount of slapping myself or drinking my tea was helping to keep me awake. I thought, 'I can't nod off while I'm praying, that just defeats the whole point of getting up early to pray!' This has not been a problem the whole time I've been trying to get up early to pray for Lent.
So, after fifteen minutes of staring like a zombie, open-mouthed and half-lidded, I decided it would be better if I just went back to bed for an extra hour of sleep. I would get up at the normal time, alert and ready to pray.
Or not.
I didn't get up until 9:30am this morning, and I'm not going to lie to you, it felt GOOD! I don't feel guilty or anything like that, I just feel rested and jolly and ready to face the day.
And, at 58 degrees in February, what a day it will be!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the Nation.

So, in case you're slightly behind in my life, the season of Lent started on Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) and instead of "giving something up", as many people are wont to do, I have decided to rise an hour earlier every morning in a practice of discipline. In that extra hour of time in the morning, I also practice other disciplines, including (but not all together!) prayer, meditation, Bible-reading, exercise, silence, and others.
Okay, you're caught up.
So today being a glorious and unseasonably warm day, I decided that I would get straight up out of bed, slap my shoes on, grab scarf, jacket and sunglasses and head out the door to walk the mile around the lake right next to our house. I had a song stuck in my head, one that I had first heard in Australia. Some of the snippets are,
You said, Ask and you will receive whatever you need...
You said, Ask and I'll give the nations to you.
Oh Lord, it is the cry of my heart."

The cold woke me up pretty quickly, but it still took me about 3/4 of a mile to figure out for what reason this song could be running through my head this morning. I finally thought, Hey perhaps I'm supposed to pray for our nation. *silence* Where the heck do I start?!
When I got home, I sat down to read my devotions and my Bible. Today's passage came from 1 Timothy 2:1,2. I read it in the Greek first, understood about 1/8 of the words (this is a humbling daily discipline), then read it in English. The devotion was about how important it is to pray for our leaders, no matter whether we agree with them or not. If a nation is united in its prayer, not for the success of their personal agendas, but for THE GOOD OF THE NATION, I believe we'd get a lot more accomplished.
If I pray for George W., it does NOT mean that I agree with everything he does, or that I think that he's listening to the voice of God just because I'm praying for him! (Yikes!) It means that I care about our nation and our people, and I don't want to see it come to ruin. I think its good that we've been taken down a peg or two, but I certainly don't want to be invaded, or have our economy crash or anything! These are things I can be praying for.
This is so pertinent, I think, in the face of recent Super Tuesday events. People are so excited about ousting the current president, that its easy to forget that he's still in the White House, plugging away until next year! Our leaders need our prayer! Not only our fathers, pastors, congressmen, and senators, but our President and all the people bidding for his seat for the next four years. Our whole land lies in the balance. God will not bless sin, but that doesn't mean He won't let us realize the consequences of our actions as a nation. However, I do believe He will uphold a nation of praying believers!
My personal challenge for today will be to pray for our nation, and in the words of Paul in his first letter to Timothy, "...for kings, and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Into the Great Wide Open

(Thank you, Tom Petty)
It's so amazing. Life is very unpredictable, and as much as you think you might know where you are going and what you will be doing ten years from now, you can never truly be sure. I, for one, relish this. Not knowing where you're going is so exciting, and it really makes you rely on God all the more.
Take me, for instance. I have no idea where I'll be in the next six months, let alone ten years. Six months from now, my life could radically change forever or it could look generally the same. What do I know? I could be married, single, at home, abroad, happy, freaked out, contented, uneasy...all of the above...
That's life! It's great! I wouldn't go to a psychic/soothsayer/tarot reader/general future-knower if you paid me, because I don't want to know what's ahead for me. God doesn't want me to know, either, because He knows I probably would start planning and getting too worked up about things and forget completely about the "now", the things that are right in front of me, the work I've got to do to get where I'm going. He's pretty smart like that.
I want to pray through every step I take.
Throughout Lent, I hope to be doing just that with my extra waking hour in the morning. It will be so great to see how this works itself out in practice. I'll keep you updated. This is going to be great!
PS. Our trip to the mountains this past weekend was great. If you don't believe in God, I suggest you move to the Rocky Mountains and then shut your trap. You've got nothin'.