God woke me up at 11:35pm last night and he wasn’t going to let me get any sleep until I wrote out these thoughts, so this is what came out of that wakeup call. Dana you have to find a way to cross the line. Figure it out and trust in me. I went to bed last night with these thoughts weighing on my heart. My physical human side is still wanting to "eat the stew" and my spiritual side wanting to put me out of my comfort zone.
Last night, Robert and I were at our church, (The Avenue church) watching the 2nd part of a series by Greg Groeschel called, " Get Weird, Love God", that’s all about being anything but normal and all about being weird and loving God. Robert and I have both been saved but are still very new in our faith and understanding of living for God and letting him use us for his purpose. We have come a long way so far in a short time and I know that we still have a long way to go and will never be truly worthy of the grace God has given us. Before I talk about what takes us out of our comfort zone, I would like to clarify that Robert and I both do pray privately, we have our own way of talking to God and do so frequently. I wanted to make note of that before my next statements.
Last night, we were both feeling out of our comfort zones. Bryan (our Lead Pastor), asked us to get into small groups and pray for each other if we felt comfortable, I panicked inside but quickly recovered when Bryan came prayed over our group. I know that this is God challenging us to step out in our faith and he woke me up to talk about it or should I say write about it. I know we are not the only ones that feel uncomfortable and awkward at these moments and I am feeling God’s push to ask the questions and do something about it.
Growing up in a non-Church going family and only being exposed to Church on rare occasions and hearing people talk about prayer I have a lot of confusion on proper prayer etiquette. I have heard things like always thank God first and don’t ever start a prayer asking God for something and other things that aren’t coming to me at the moment. All of these things have caused me to feel very inadequate to say an open prayer for fear of not praying to God in a way that honors him and making myself feel stupid too(human side).
So here is my list of things that are taking us out of our zone at church and things we want to overcome by knowing what and how we are to handle these different situations…
1.) Praying out loud in front of people – For myself, my thoughts race with… What will I say? How will I word it? How do I handle being asked to pray if it happens? My mind goes into a state of panic because that human side of me doesn’t want to feel awkward or stupid.
2.) Alter call - I wanted to go and have them pray for me, but once again that human fear of not knowing what exactly happens takes over with thoughts of...Are they going to ask me to pray out loud and pray with me? Do they just pray for me and not know exactly what I need prayer for? Or, do they ask me and then pray for me?
3.) Communion - I understand that this is done as a Christian, but I am once again uncomfortable with situation # 1 saying a prayer out loud and saying it wrong for this ceremony. (Janet gave me great comfort in this area just this past weekend and I do feel better about my personal prayer here. Thanks Janet!) I include this because I know how uncomfortable I have been and others are during the communion ceremony.
4.) Blessing a meal - I know this may sound ridiculous but to say a prayer from my heart and out loud at Thanksgiving I had to write it out and then edit it several times to get it to a point where I felt could read it and be okay with it.
Now, that I did get to go back to bed and get some rest I woke up, got ready for work, read what I had written so far to Robert and received his approval for including him in this posting, I got in the car and immediately called my life coach and best friend. I told her I needed a book called, “Prayer for dummies” and she reminded me, read God’s word. Sometimes it’s right in front of us and we have to be reminded. He teaches us through his word, when his disciples asked for him to teach them to pray in Luke 11: 1-4 and he responded with The Lord’s Prayer.
I know these are things we will eventually overcome with faith and experience but when and how do I "cross this line" and really step out in my faith. I know God has a plan for my life and I want to live by his plan. All of these things have weighed on me privately since finding our church home. Then, tonight, after wanting to go and have my church pray for me or with me and not going when I had that opportunity I was woke up with the need to write about this and post it for everyone to see.
I guess I am crossing the line in my faith after all. My pride doesn’t want me to let people see that I don’t know and that I don’t understand everything, but I also know, I can't be the only one that feels this way. So I am humbling myself today before him and the world and saying I am not perfect, I am a sinner, I am uncomfortable and it’s okay. He’s got my back and the right moment will come where I can step up and step out for him. I know he has a plan for me and this is another step to overcoming my fear of feeling inadequate and stupid. Like we have all heard the only stupid questions are the ones not asked. So this is what I had to ask today for Robert, myself and everyone else out there that hasn’t gotten to a point where they can ask.
Lord, Thank you for what you are doing in our lives and please continue to transform us into what you would have us to be for you. Help us feel safe to stand up and trust you to say and do what you would have us do in that right moment. Help us cross that line to show you our Faith!