My only hesitation in doing a two-part blog post, is that this blog would become one of those that’s challenging for me to read. My flash-pot attention span, coupled with my secret curiosity about people’s real thoughts, tends to make me shy away from multi-segmented “how to” blog posts.
I suppose if this was one of those, it should more accurately be titled: How To De-Rail Your Dreams and Drive Your Status Into The Ground Without Losing Your Faith … But Probably Still Losing Your Friends.
Wanna keep reading?
Yesterday I wrote about remembering the catalytic prayers which God not only inspired, but also responded to.
Today I want to tell you why these were the best prayers I ever prayed.
Success, recognition (or the appearance of either) is, to me, like eating a burger and fries from Five Guys.
When I’ve made a decision to stray from my spinach-juice and kale-smoothie menu and indulge in a cheeseburger and french fries dipped in ranch (because as hard as I’ve tried, I’ve learned that I do nothing in moderation), my mouth literally waters (in fact, it is right now). I start to count down the minutes until I am going to walk in the door of that greasy spoon and order under my breath, in hopes that any friends who know my food-crusade and might see me inside would at least think I was ordering a vegetarian burger.
When the food arrives, I eat it in record time. Not because I’m afraid I’ll get caught (at that point I’m already so lost in the moment I’ve forgotten that there are windows surrounding the place), but because I’ve been dreaming of this moment for hours. No fry is left untouched. I usually get seconds and thirds of ranch … and ketchup. It all goes down so smooth.
Nine minutes after I arrived, I am out the door, licking my finger of the last bit of ketchup. And within seconds of crossing the threshold I feel my face breaking out.
My heart is racing again, not because of the thrill, but because my blood sugar levels have sky-rocketed. My body is in a state of confusion. And in all honesty the next 12-14 hours I am paying for this lived-out fantasy.
Does that stop me from going back?
This, to me, is a lot like “personal increase” for its own sake, or for any sake other than God. It looks so good. Humility, by force of God or circumstance, pales in comparison to “success”, in the same way spinach juice doesn’t hold a candle to a Five Guys’ burger. But, oh … when it goes down, it tastes so much better.
In those months and years when I watched my figurative resume wither, I found God’s playground. When my life wasn’t about to whom I could promote my latest strategy for life or following God, or exactly whom I was impacting–or even the latest new revelation on God I had (because I was such a mess that it couldn’t be), His glory started to pour forth.
A life that seeks to magnify God and not self is just … freeing. It’s life-giving, it’s motivating, it’s energizing, it’s joyful. In many ways, it’s carefree. The outcome begins to matter less and less and the path to get there becomes even more sweet. Cause He’s driving it and it’s all about Him.
Not that I think that I’ve truly attained it, but for once, I started to feel it.
I have to admit I am much, much more tentative to pray that prayer (take me lower) because, like those gray-hairs in the prayer meeting, I know He will respond. And oftentimes, it isn’t pretty. But after walking across those coals and seeing that my feet burned less than was the beauty of His glory on my face, I want more.
When I think about things like impacting more orphans, raising a baker’s dozen or even writing a book, I’ve found myself wondering if there is a way I can do it all anonymously. I recognize that God may call me to things that would draw attention, but I know myself too well to know that those things, if not carried appropriately, would run their course like the Five Guys’ burger. The searing consequences on my insides aren’t really worth the 9 minutes of pleasure.
And, on a larger scale, how much greater would His impact on the earth, in our ministries, in our homes be if we started really praying that we could get out of the way and fade into the background of His glory?
So, still, I suppose I will pray: Take me lower.