For the past few years I have been stalked by a bookmark. This bookmark turns up everywhere. My house, my Mom's house, my friend's houses, just when I think I may have escaped it for good there it is again, in all of it's challenging and soul-searching glory.
It is a bookmark which was handed out in our church about two years ago. I vividly remember the sermon that morning, receiving the bookmark as we were leaving, reading it, and hearing God clearly asking me if I was ready to do what this bookmark requires.
I have yet to comply.
Let me write down the words for you, and maybe then you will understand my hesitation.
I encourage you to mess with me.
Feel free to mess with my comfortable lifestyle,
my predictable patterns,
my long-held convictions.
Do not allow me to settle into safe, status quo Christianity.
Mess with me until I think like you think,
act like you act,
love like you love.
MESS WITH ME!
Is it just me, or do these words seem like an open invitation for God to turn the person who prays them into a modern-day Job?
And to make matters horribly, infinitely worse, after hearing and receiving these words my Mom and Dad proceeded to take them to heart. They prayed this prayer that very day to God, trusting that no matter what came their way He would use it to make them stronger in their faith.
Well, my Mom lost her husband, and my Dad lost his life.
And I'm scared.
I want nothing more than to be able to recite these words back to God in all honesty. I want to be able to lift myself, my job, my house, my husband, my children, everything I hold dear up to Him for Him to do with as He sees fit, willing to sacrifice any or all of it if that's what it would take to bring Him glory. In my heart I want so badly to be used by Him, to bring people to Him, to get to know Him better myself. But then in my heart of hearts, way down deep, I am just not there yet, and I am ashamed.
Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day ashamed to come before You, knowing that we both know I am not coming before You with all of me. I am so sorry, Lord, that my need to be in control, and my need to hold onto certain parts of my life continue to separate me from You.
I will continue to try, can that be good enough for right now? Because I do want to get there, get to that place in our relationship where no matter what happens I can handle it because I can still see You in it. It's just so hard, Lord... No matter how much I love You, no matter how much I tell myself I will do whatever it takes to get other people to love You too, there's that part of me that's still mine, only mine, standing in the way of what could be between You and me.
Will You help me? Will You break through my stubborn human streak and convince me that You are always in control, and that You have a purpose for my life and the life of my loved ones? I lost a little bit of that faith when my Dad died, Lord, but I know I don't need to tell You that.
At the very center of my soul I do love You, and want to do all You ask of me. I just ask that You help me live from my center, when it's so easy to stay on the surface. I need You to get me to the place where I will trust You to mess with me. To persistently, patiently, and powerfully mess with me. Don't give up on me, Lord, and I won't either.
In Your Name I pray,