Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Day Thirty

I'm over- and underwhelmed. So much to do, so little time...and energy...and motivation. I'm not enjoying my cereal this morning as much as I planned to. Random thoughts, I know, but it's that kind of morning. What in the world is this day going to be like?

"Focus Abuse!"

This cereal may be legitimately nasty, but that's beside the point right now.

Yesterday was pretty good. I had my camera all day and never saw anything worth photographing. No real answered prayers either. What is wrong with this cereal? Anyway, it was just a day. I was less productive than I needed to be. Today, Lord, I've got to be off the charts productive. For no other reason than I procratinated, but I need your grace. Bless me. Which reminds me: confession. I've got to go to confession today or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow.

As for gratefulness, I guess what I'm grateful for is creativity. Creative outlets. The imagination. "It's a h#$@ of a thing," as Rick James would say. While it can be hell, it's heaven sent and can take us as close to heaven as we're able to get on this earth. I feel most alive when I'm creating and enjoying what I've made. Yesterday was a good day for that.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Day Twenty-Nine

Yesterday was great. We took a trip to Great Falls (pics are available at my Flickr site), which was just what I needed: enjoying God via the beauty of his creation and the fellowship with his created. It was so much fun. On a less pleasant note, yesterday also made me feel like I'm becoming more unreliable. I don't want to be ruled by obligations as I have been in the past, but I don't want to completely disregard them.

I guess those would be my gratitude and my prayer. Thanks for a great trip and the fellowship that went along with it. And I pray that I can find a way to let my "yea be yea" without letting my "yea" run my life and cause me to become resentful and burned out.

Saturday's prayers were answered in spades. The trip from Falls Church was safe and impressive, in spite of my less than considerate design of the route. It was really good. And the wintry mix which inspired our trip to Great Falls came on Sunday morning in the form of the best snow fall all season. Thanks.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Day Twenty-Seven

So, yesterday's prayer for my co-worker was not answered. It's going to make for a hilarious story. She's the most incredible storyteller I know. Everything is funny when she tells it. Everything. Gut-bustingly funny. So, I'm looking forward to that, but I really wanted her trip to be perfect. Unfortunately, she arrived to find that our company's travel office had arranged everything to her exact specifications, except that they had not booked her a room to stay in. They somehow figured she didn't need one. And the hotel where her meetings were scheduled was completely booked.

I didn't see a prayer answered yesterday that I can think of off-hand, but it was a good day nonetheless. A little weird, but good. I ended it with the thought: I have a life that I love, no matter what and I have amazing friends. I woke to the same feeling. That's what I'm most grateful for.

For today, I want a safe trip from Falls Church and a good birthday celebration...with no wintry mix.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Day Twenty-Six

It's a good morning. It helps a lot that it's Friday. It also helps that I have no class and no concrete plans. That's a good feeling. REST!

My Lenten fast changed yesterday. So, I'm grateful for God's signs that we're going the wrong way. A thunderbolt by any other name stings just as sharply. It's too bad I needed it, but I'm glad it came.

God answered my prayers for the men in my Living Waters small group. Not all of them, but most of them. That was good to see. It was a good LW night. It was on the true feminine, so it was potentially a night to check-out, but pretty much everyone (including me...most of the time)stayed present.

My prayer for today is for a safe, productive, and seamless trip for my co-worker. Her horoscope promised her a bad trip full of delays and forgotten items. I rebuke that. God, I bind that right now, on Earth and in Heaven. Lord, I pray now for a good report when she comes back. Fun, jokes, laughter, joy. All of that good stuff. Thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day Twenty-Five

Today, I pray for grace for tough honesty. I don't really know what else to say. I need to be honest in a way that could be risky and maybe hurtful. That stops me in my tracks in a way that little else does. I need help.

Yesterday was good, except that I missed Ash Wednesday. I really like Ash Wednesday, I just forget that it comes right after Mardi Gras at the beginning of Lent. Oh well, I'll just have to wait for the Stations of the Cross. Oh...and confession.

I don't think any prayers were answered yesterday.

Worship, my private time worship, has been really good. Not sure why, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Well, technically, I am, but not this horse. Thank you God for the gift of worship, and if there are strings attached or little soldiers inside, they're of God. So, even if there's a battle to be fought, and even if I die, I win in the end. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Day Twenty-Three

I have a new plan to get consistent. With the help of one of my roommates, the quintessential morning person, I'm waking up early to journal. That way, I'll have nothing else taking up my journaling time. Hopefully that will also encourage me to go to bed earlier, too. At the very least, it's making typing more difficult. So, there is a difference.

Yesterday was a long, tiring day. That will probably affect the rest of my week. I really shouldn't claim that, but it's tough not to. So, I'm going to..."acknowledge" that my energy level for the week could very well be screwed already, and I'll pray against that. I hate praying for rest and energy because I have so much unexercised control over them. But, alas, I will. I need to get more and better rest. The better part actually is God's department, so that's valid. And I really need the rest I get to return increased dividends in energy. Crap, there's my Lenten fast.

Answered prayer: is both a great choir and yesterday was a safe move and ride in one of the less safe and mechanically sound U-Haul trucks I've seen. I guess I also got my fast outlined, which was a prayer in passing.

Gratitude: God's still, small voice method of answering prayers. The answer crept up on me and before I knew it. I had the thing I've been asking for since before I had the words for it. I was distracted looking in a different direction, trying to manufacture the answer myself, which for me was akin to God's putting Adam to sleep while he made Eve. As it has been suggested in Adam's case, my being uninvolved kept me from screwing up God's plan with opinions and "help". Thank you for putting me to sleep and waking me up only in time to say "Thank you."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Day Eighteen

Tonight, in the middle of our pre-game prayer before Living Waters, I noticed that I had this overwhelming need to be touched. It's tough to explain, but I needed a hug or a hand on my shoulder, something. I just needed to feel touched. In a startling change of pace, perhaps because we were already in prayer, I reached out to God instead of the people around me. I told God that he would have to be the one to touch me. He would have to be the one to meet that need. I basically demanded it.

It is something that I've felt for a long time: God's wanting me to turn to him with my needs. And so, I finally did. And he came through in a major way. In the middle of worship, the leader invited everyone to sit down for the next song and put themselves in a mindset to just receive from the Lord. I stayed standing, and as he played I felt...held. Just a full-on bear hug from God. It was incredible and just what I needed.

So that was tonight's prayer and the answered prayer, and the thing I'm most grateful for.

The worship period started out with me going directly into worship, something that hasn't happened in a long time. Recently, I've had to fight tooth and nail to get my heart and mind to a place where I can worship. Tonight, that wasn't the case. Something broke. Right away I felt God challenging me to let him be God in my life again, and I felt myself say "okay." It felt even weirder than I imagine it sounds. But it also felt like coming home.

In that moment, I also realized how much of myself I've buried and given away over the last year. In a very real way, I've lost track of who I am. I know that "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, gosh darnit, people like me," but I don't know why. I can imagine why: I'm basically the bomb. But in my quest to relate, I've become all things to all men and so little in and of myself.

I mistook diving headlong into the lives and interests of my friends for a part of loving them. But, alas, I was wrong. As is usually the case with love, it's an exchange. And I was holding back on the goods, not giving them a chance to get to know me and what interests me, what I'm passionate about, what makes me the person that they know and love.

It's a rookie mistake and clearly not fatal, but it's one that I'll be correcting, forthwith. I'm looking very forward to some exciting changes in my life. Starting this weekend. I have a free evening and I can do anything I want to do. Although I don't really remember what I like to do with my free time, I'm going to have a heck of a time finding out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Day Seventeen

Tonight, I'm grateful for grace. As much as I'd like God to think like I do a lot of the time. I'm glad that he doesn't because I'd be dead. If God was as unforgiving as I am or if he found the same bad habits inexcusable in me that I find inexcusable in other people, I would be "dead sleeping in my grave," as the saying goes. I'm really glad that he challenges me to come to his level rather than stooping to mine.

I did pray that I wouldn't have to go to school tonight and that prayer was answered. This was in exchange for the prayer that I wouldn't have to go to work. That one, unfortunately, was not answered. It ended up working out to be the best possible scenario, short of both work and school being cancelled.

My prayer is to linger with you. No, seriously, my prayer tonight is for courage to be honest and forthright. Even when I'm not forgiving or gracious, I want to be clear with how I'm feeling. Within reason, of course. I don't want to be cruel and tactless. I just want to be honest. Which, I guess, translates into a prayer to be loving. One aspect of love for me is sharing the truth with grace and mercy. That's what I want. Try me and build me in that. I dare you.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Day Ten

I'm not sure what I'm feeling today except for tired. Today was completely redeemed by a good lunch and a good class. Yesterday, I was borderline despondent with exhaustion. Today, I'm tired, but I'm not as bad off emotionally. So, I'm grateful for lunch and class and their redemption of what could have been another bad day.

I think I've found my new camera, so that prayer was answered. Just have to get the price worked out. really looking forward to having it, so I can go out taking pictures. I'll get to go for walks and explore the area. I'm gaining weight like gangbusters, so I can use the exercise.

My prayer request is what it's been for a while - too long, I think - a scheduling anointing. Nothing short of divine intervention, except maybe discipline, will rescue me from running myself into a ditch and dragging everything in my life down with me. It all sounds very melodramatic, because it is. It's also because I'm tired and that's how I get when I'm tired. Just the same. I don't function as well and I have a lot going on that requires a reasonable level of functioning.

Also, I want Deli Devotional to go well, tomorrow. That would be great!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Day Seven

I had a good day. Nothing exceptional happened, but it was a good day. I tried my hand at racquetball. I lost soundly, but built the foundation for some decent play in the future. It also made for some good male bonding time. I got the speakers back for my computer (I had taken them to work for a presentation), so I can again enjoy music and other errant noises produced by my PC. The Colts won the Superbowl and Prince performed at halftime. If either of those events had gone a different way, I wouldn't have really cared, but it's cool that they turned out as they did. Prince is a genius and the owner and coach of the Colts like to talk about God and Jesus in interviews.

There is a lot to be grateful for, and I can't really choose one thing. So, I'll just say thank you, Lord, for everything.

I don't know what to pray for either. I want a camera, but that's not really a prayer request. Well I guess it can and probably should be. I need wisdom and favor. I want a camera that I'll be happy with. That is not cheap or cheesy, and isn't too complicated for me to use. I want the ease of a point-and-shoot and the functionality and features of an SLR. I want it to inspire me and allow me to capture moments and all of the amazing beauty that God's hidden in plain sight without pulling me away from experiencing them. That's not really the camera, I guess. That's more me. Regardless, I don't want to pay more than $400.

I saw a prayer answered today, but I can't remember what it was. Crap! It's not coming to me. Several times today, I prayed to bring my mind back into focus and it worked amazingly well. That's not what I was thinking of, but it is an answered prayer. Several, actually. So that works.

Day Six

Today, I prayed to get my mind back, if only temporarily and I got it. Focused, undistracted, for nearly all of Forgiveness Saturday. It was pretty cool. Forgiveness Saturday was cool, but having my mind unhijacked was even cooler.

I pray that I can rest tonight. I don't need anything fancy. Nothing supernatural. Just good, ol' fashioned sleep.

My gratitude for today is for the blessing of seeing the men in my Living Waters small group happy. It was a heavy, emotional kind of morning, but I saw them receive from God and I saw them happy. And for that, I'm grateful.

Thank you, God.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Day Five

The day I feared has arrived. I don't have an answered prayer to report. I'm sure something happened, but I can't think of anything. It was a good day, just the same. I had a hard time focusing with lots going on in my head, but it all worked out.

Which reminds me, I'm grateful for good friends. I had what could have been a tough conversation with my best friend, but he made it easy. Always coming through in the clutch, that guy. One of these days, I won't be surprised when that happens. I'll expect it.

That, I guess, is my prayer for tonight: that I find a way to trust the goodness that I see in the people closest to me. I don't have any trouble seeing good in people. It does get harder as people get closer to me for me to trust that. It's like my trust and discernment are far-sighted.

Maybe it's my defensiveness. I've let these people in and now I'm on guard, looking for their one false move that will end in my being hurt. So, I see the good which is always in front of me, but my focus is on the bad. Just in case.

That is dead. There's no life in that and I want it gone.

So, Lord, free me to trust without guardrails and defenses all of the people you've invited into the depths of my life. I'll get hurt, but so what? It won't be the first time and it won't be the last. That's life. That's love.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Day Four

Today, Living Waters came through on both the grateful thing and prayer answered fronts. The prayer that was answered was not one that I prayed, instead it was one prayed for me. I shared with a team member that I needed to feel reconnected. She prayed that God would meet me in worship. He waited until the end and then stopped me cold with a word of Encouragement directly from Him to me.

I'm grateful that I am the first-fruit of the work of God's hands. I am His tithe. He created me for exclusive communion with Him, but in an act of sacrifice, He gave me to the Church. To further it. To build it. To maintain it. So that there will be meat and sustinence and life in it.

Today, I pray that I can live up to my peculiar and specific purpose for being on this planet. I have my flaws, but all in all I'm a pretty cool individual. I want to live like only I can. Tomorrow, I want to make a difference in a life in a way that only someone that God created to be me could pull off. Tomorrow, I want to have a for-such-a-time-as-this moment. Amen.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Day Three

Today, I pray that I can be genuine. I wrote a post about my being a spin doctor. I never finished it. I don't want to be a spin doctor. I want to be a straight shootin' son-of-a-gun. I'm getting better, but I want to arrive, already. I want people to know exactly where I stand and where they stand with me.

I'm grateful for my life. I bless God that I can be happy (or sad, when the mood strikes me) and not feel guilty about it. I can have joy and happiness, and not have a tagline playing in the back of my head: "This moment of bliss is brought to you by Ignorance and Denial, LLC." Right now there are plenty of things in my life that I'm screwing up consistently, things that are going wrong with no help from me consistently, things that I'm working on changing consistently. Everything is not perfect. I'm not perfect. But, I'm still happy. I still have joy. And I'm incredibly grateful.

I got to work this morning with a wrenching stomach pain. I decided it was hunger and maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. Either way, I decided to eat. But I didn't have anything to eat except my lunch. So, I prayed. "God, I need food." Lo and behold, I opened the refrigerator to stow my lunch and there was a yogurt I had put in there a week ago, but had never had a chance to eat. I asked and I received. Not quite as cool as yesterday's answered prayer, but my stomach pain went away.