There is something I have a big problem with. It could be called many things – faith, trust, control. They really all wrap in one! My prayer life struggles. I pray daily in conversation and thank him for his gifts and then give Him my list. I am not still and wait to hear Him back, to hear what He wants for me. After all, I had already given Him my list and usually instructed Him in what specifically I wanted. Prayers like please give Jim safety, be with my friend who had surgery heal her of pain, I am going into surgery give the Dr. wisdom. Yes, I say here is the person, here is their specific need. The irony is He already knows their need! He wants me to come to Him as a child with my small request, something as simple as their name, my needs, my hope, and MY PRAISE and then wait and listen and trust.
So, I struggle with the wait. After all, I just told Him exactly what I wanted, so it isn’t like He has to think about it. I did the problem solving for Him. Not only do I struggle with the wait, but I struggle with the answer is not the option I give him. I do not make my prayers multiple choice. I give one option. Now you see my struggle. I am sure, at least I think, I am not alone in this struggle.
I have refrained from starting to watch TV (except cartoon/ movie marathons with the kids) because I don’t want to get started on something I won’t have time to continue. Plus, I have always enjoyed listening to online videos from Christian authors, online sermons, etc….
One of the videos from speaker/authors I have listened to since being off was by Emily Freeman. She talks about how she holds an empty bowl while she prays – symbolic of having her heart empty and ready to receive. At first I thought… ok that’s different. Then soon thought what have I got to loose. I didn’t choose a bowl, but a new mug from an amazing friend that has one of my favorite verses on it… BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!!! I struggle with BEING STILL and truly hearing. So for over a week, since I have heard this video, I have sat on my porch or a favorite recliner with my empty cup.
I honestly could just cry writing how this has changed me. I have cried during the silence of holding the empty cup. It truly was symbolic of how empty I felt, and didn’t even realize. Empty spiritually, because I have allowed life’s chaos fill all the crevices of my life and weigh me down. Usually when I pray, my crazy to do list goes through my head. But now that I hold an empty cup I sit and truly visualize me waiting to receive from Him. I give him my small list of maybe just someone’s name – He already knows the need…. I give him what is heavy on my heart and then just sit and breathe and wait for His peace. I am STILL! Sometimes a song may come to mind and I sing a verse. He wants my praise! So many analogies have come out of this empty cup time, of how I have pushed Him away with my business and the need for control.
- When I hold up a full cup/calendar/mind, there is no room left for His will, for me to receive what He has for me. He knows the plans He has for me, but if I fill that with my plans, I miss out.
- When I go to Him in a hurry to hand over my list of Dear Lord please bless…. Say amen… and carry on my day. He sits there waiting to hear the heart of His child. It’s like asking your child “how was your day?” because you want to really hear and they say fine and go on to the next task. As a mom, I sit there wanting to really hear
- He knows my needs. He wants me to bring them with full expectation of what He can do with the needs and leave them there. He can do so much more than I can on my own strength (but for some reason I believe my ways are better when scripture supports His ways are higher than mine).
- When my heart is heavy and full He can’t pour into it…
- When my hands are clutched He can’t fill them (and I can’t open them in praise).
- At times I thought I should put names or needs in my cup, but again that doesn’t leave it empty for me to completely receive.
So tonight when I got an unexpected email, at first I was truly upset. It was a need I shared with Him over the empty cup. The email really upset me and I went into my typical mode of Why didn’t He answer it the way I expected. What am I suppose to do now? How can I fix this? (See the problem, I… I… I….) The chaos starts stirring and I struggle with faith, trust, and control. I wanted to cry because I wanted a different answer! I did start reacting and trying to fix it.… got a little angry at God… and then I started writing this blog. I am a writer at heart and use writing to empty my head / heart. Unfortunately, often I get so busy that I don’t write… which just keeps my head / heart full. When in reality that is when I should write more.
As I wrote the brewing slowed and the wrestling with God slowed (like I would win – lol). I then realized I needed to go to Him and pour out my heart. So, I paused my writing and grabbed my cup. I turned out the light and just paused, laid out my heart to God, and relinquished my control. The irony is the door He closed tonight wasn’t necessarily the one I wanted to be opened. I went back to my old ways of fix it mode and not trusting and not being still. I got caught up in the instant disappointment (and anger) that a door was closed, without trusting the answer was the best for me.
Does the cup hold any of the answers. No! But my Heavenly Father does. If it takes a simple act of holding an empty cup to remind me to be ready to be still, to pause, and to receive… then I will hold the cup… and He will bless my willingness to finally come to receive. I will be the woman of the well… thirsty… seeking… waiting…. Receiving!
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!