But, how do we find joy? These past few weeks I have had several "situations" that continued to crop up in my life which led me to have my typical nervous stomach. They weren't even things that all directly involved me, but I still allowed them to create worry and stress in my life.What a great word, what a great emotion: Joy.
Where is God when I'm so worried? Why isn't He working in these situations? Why is He allowing them to continue?
Then, as we looked at the JOY that Paul speaks about in Philippians, I realized that my problem was that I wasn't humbling myself before God and turning these situations over to him.
I needed to get off my high horse and realize that I had NO control over these situations, and that I needed to give them all over to him. I needed to be obedient.And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himselfby becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8 NIV
Easier said than done, right?So, how was I going to get myself to accomplish the task of "giving it over?"
I had to give myself over to prayer and fasting.
I had to deny myself one of my favorite things in the world; food.Here's what I did:
The Prayer Prompter gave me a way to list the things I was praying for, add details, and then sort them into folders by topic. What I loved the most, however, was the pre-filled scriptures along the top section of my iPhone screen. They were parts of scripture sorted into folders based on topics. "Obedience," "Adoration," "Supplication," were a few of the topics to explore and pray through using the scripture provided.I downloaded an app on my iPhone called "Prayer Prompter". It was a free app, and I absolutely believe it was critical to my successful prayer-fasting day. I had been concerned about trying to concentrate fully on prayer and figured, "what's the point of fasting if you aren't effectively praying?" Then you're just not eating for a day.
The app even allowed me a chance to see how much TIME I spent praying!Here was the best thing about my day of prayer-fasting. Even as I stood and sat in line at the Social Security Administration office for 2 1/2 hours waiting to take another step in securing secondary insurance for Evie, I felt no anxiety whatsoever. I had been in prayer and in God's word throughout the morning, and found myself talking to all the different people around me who were joining me in the "waiting game."
This is what I observed during my wait time:I talked for a half hour with a woman who was a Navy vet with disabilities. She was going to file again for disability as she still could not obtain a job due to her limited ability to get around. She and I talked about the mountains, the wild horses, her health, Evie's health, her family in Louisiana, and my family in MN and WI. I missed her company when we finally got into the building, as she had an appointment and was called back, so I settled in for an unknown length of time to wait for my number to be called.
I noticed how kind the security guards were. They had to keep directing the line of people waiting to get their number back toward a wall to keep a walkway clear. The guards could have just been annoyed by their job; by the monotony of it, by the fact that for some reason, humans hate to stand in line along a wall. But they weren't...they were asking people how their holiday was, asking the children if they were excited for Christmas, offering chairs for those who were having a hard time standing. Would I have seen that had I been absorbed in myself, my to-do list which wasn't getting done, MY rights~MY kid's needs~MY understanding of what MY family is entitled to?
I watched the couple next to me who were playing with their toddler girl and trying to keep her quiet enough so she didn't wake her baby brother in his car seat. Dad would tickle the girl and she would say, "No, Daddy!" and laugh, but then would say, "Do it again!" She reminded of Evie. What was that family there for? Did they need money? Was one of them sick? Had there been a death in the family and they were there to secure some of the final papers that needed to be filed? I didn't know, but DO know that I would have never found as much joy as I did in their presence had I been more concerned about MY space, and getting bumped as the little girl jumped around, and the lack of foot room with a baby carrier and diaper bag on the floor.
Two and a half hours in, my number was called. For weeks prior to this I had been fighting the fact that I needed to do this...it didn't make sense. We had gone through this process in WI, WHY did we need to go through it again? Why? Why isn't it easier for us? Why? I had visions prior to prayer-fasting of walking up to the window and sarcastically explaining why I was their and how stupid the system was, and what a waste of time this was.
But, with this new mentality; humbling myself, lowering myself from a position of importance in my own eyes, denying myself "rights" to food and "me-time", I went to the window and explained that I needed a denial of SSI for my daughter in order to complete our application for medicaid. I said, "Is that something we can do today, they've only given me until Friday to get it?" She smiled and said, "I can get you that letter right now." Within minutes I had the letter...the letter I had been fretting over for weeks, the letter that I was fighting to deem as "a waste of MY time."
When I walked out of the office and into the warm December day, I had a smile on my face. A woman who had been finishing her cigarette outside, who I know had been waiting there for an hour or more, looked at me and said, "Oh my goodness. You're so pretty."
And that's how I know that I was successful in my prayer and fasting yesterday...not necessarily that I had any of my prayers answered (not that I know of yet)...but that she had clearly seen Jesus...
in little old me.
|Image found on Pintrest from Carleigh Rose|