Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tell Me What You Want... What You Really Really Want!

Pinpoint Prayers.

Have you heard of these?

Recently a coworker of mine told me to "try praying pinpoint prayers". Be specific about what you want in life. What do you want in a husband. What do you want for your family. What do you want help with. 

I think sometimes we run the risk of being too scared to do this because we don't want to overstep our bounds with God. Well... why would I pray for a new car if it isn't God's will. 
The bible says: 
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" - Psalm 37:4

Here is the key. If we are delighting ourselves in the Lord, aka running after him, pursuing him, putting him first in our lives, then our desires will ideally line up with his will - so these pinpoint prayers should essentially be things that God wants for us anyway.

Before praying these prayers, we first need to make sure we are right with God.

Repentance for our sin.
Why should we repent?

Falling humbly at the feet of God acknowledging him as our Saviour and recognizing how much he loves us allows us to understand that we fall short. We miss the mark. We really don't deserve the love God has for us (and we only get this when we fully understand his love). We sin daily and just verbally asking for forgiveness for these sins even does something for us - it reminds us how much we need Jesus. At the end of the day, come to Jesus in prayer about what happened in your day. First thank him for every breath, and every opportunity that came your way. Remind yourself that you got to and from work safely, that you have food in your belly and a roof over your head. Then ask for forgiveness for the things that you have fallen short of. Maybe you were short tempered. Maybe you took advantage of your work time and procrastinated. Maybe you didn't keep your word or you complained a lot. Maybe you gossiped or complained about a coworker or acquaintance. Whatever it is, bring it to God. He already saw you do it anyway.

Then chase after Him.
Read the word and what he says about the things you are struggling with.
Is it fear? Anger? Empathy? Distrust?
Find the concordance in the back of your bible or find a reading plan on the YouVersion Bible App on that topic and study. Find out what our God has to say to you about the very thing satan may be abusing you with. 

Finally, seek wiser counsel.
A friend who has gone through it and growing in spiritual life. A pastor who is easily accessible and that you trust. A parent or grandparent who has strong faith. Seek this counsel and ask if what you desire, what you specifically want in your life lines up with what God wants for his children.

When I decided to write down pinpoint prayers for my future - and as a single 20 something, of course a lot of my prayer life is for direction in current relationships with my family, friends, coworkers, and more specifically about my future husband. 
When I say "I do" to someone, it is going to be the biggest decision I will make in my entire life so you best believe I will be praying for guidance for this one.

Deciding to no longer shy away from these pinpoint prayers, I created a list for the IDEAL MAN, a list of what I want in a husband. It was fun! I quickly found myself writing one, two, now three full pages of specific things I desire in a man. Trust it the number one thing (and always has been) and once that trust is compromised or broken, that person is not attractive to me whatsoever so I wrote down things such as trust, respect, love, compassion, drive, and heart for Jesus, strong convictions, spiritual leader, prays, reads daily, isn't prideful, etc.

But I also wrote down "idealistic" things such as plays sports, has a good career, dog person, perfect heel height, eats well and stays active, stylish, clean record (how sad is it I have to include that), loves movies, extravert, handy around the house, etc.

Now my list, as I mentioned, was over three pages long and very quickly you can already tell which things I want because thats what I find attractive, and which things God would want for my life (things I desire because of my relationship with Christ).

I desire a spiritual leader because of how God has placed man head of the home. I want someone I can look up to, trust, pray with, and respect in the home because that's the example Christ has set for my life. 

I do know that this entire list is far above and beyond and I do not expect one person to fulfill all of it however it is freeing to put on paper what you want out of life. Who you are looking for and why. What is important to you and what isn't important to you. I do believe that when I meet him, that this list could probably burn to the ground as long as he is pursuing Christ and consistently trying to be a better person and humbly falling to Christ's feet.

Pinpoint Prayer Benefits.
This list allowed me to recognize what kind of man I wanted to be with and made it easier to wait on him.
This list also pushed me to really consider who this man was and what kind of woman he would go after. I therefore had to make a second list - a list for the ideal woman (who would hopefully be me!).

THIS was humbling.
I studied Proverbs 31 - what a Godly women looked like in the bible, and I can tell you I don't even meet half of those requirements.
It made me realize how much work I have to do in order to become a woman of God who is "Clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future" - Proverbs 31:25

So instead of posting my "Ideal Man" list on here for the world to see. I thought I would humbly and hesitantly put the list of the "Ideal Me" on here which developed from the pinpoint prayers of my perfect future husband. 

Here it is:
- Heart for Jesus
- Reads and Prays daily
- involved in church and ministry
- loving/caring/gentle/nurturing to others
- can cook (really well!)    [i have a lot of work to do on this one]
- cleans without complaining [ahahahahaha]
- well dressed/put together
- modest / pure
- loves her family / family oriented
- considers others first before self
- good Godly group of friends
- outgoing and willing to try new things
- is fit and takes care of her body (eats well/exercises)
- loves to travel/plans trips
- smart with money / can budget
- disciplined/driven/passionate
- optimistic
- can follow sports!
- loves music and surrounds herself with positive faith-driven music
- can host a party/get together
- reads books / intelligent 
- guards her heart
- heart of gratitude
- invests in others (even those who can't give back)
- desires to be a better person daily
- humble
- trust worthy
- brings good, not harm, to those around her
- gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for the household
- energetic and strong - a hard worker
- extends a helping hand to the poor
- opens arms to the needy
- is clothed in strength and dignity
- laughs without fear of the future
- speaks with words of wisdom
- instructions of kindness
- watches over the entire household
- is not lazy
- Fears the Lord. 

Needless to say, whoever he is, he is already making me want to be a better person.
I see the kind of man I want to be with, but I know that I am far from the kind of woman I want to be. Through my desires, my pinpoint prayers, i discovered that just waiting around and praying isn't going to get me very far if I am not willing to make some changes and desire to become the woman God created me to be.

This was an interesting exercise and one that will be keeping me busy for a while now. Both prayerfully and physically! 
**Goes for a run**

xoxo S.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Four Things While Waiting

Have you ever had that feeling that something incredible is just around the corner?

Lately I have been told by many people that they see God preparing me for something great to come. I didn't really understand and I felt they were just telling me that because I went through another break up and they wanted to encourage me. Thinking back now, I truly feel they were planting a seed in a way.

Lately I've been feeling anxious... to anxious to stay. I've been wanting to get in the car and drive and just keep driving. Just leave and see where the Lord leads me.

Do you remember in elementary school when you used to run races against your classmates? You would walk up to the start line, standing next to the runners faster then you, your heart racing while you prepare. Your eyes focused on the ground, noticing the other shoes around you up to the line.


That feeling. The heart racing. The feeling of preparation. The feeling of readiness. I feel that now.

I know anxious is not a good thing and you may feel "that's not of God" however, I know what Im feeling within my soul and I feel he is preparing me. Preparing me for something incredible. He is calling me to something bigger and I don't know how to describe what that will look like or what that even entails.

What can I do while I wait?

4 things.

1. Pursue Him

At this time, where you are at a crossroads in your life, it is vital that we draw closer to the one who offers direction. The author and perfecter of our faith. The more I pursue Christ, the more I will be in tune with His voice and therefore the more I will be able to understand when he signals/calls/speaks to me in a specific way. Discernment. One of the more important things a Christian can have that allows us to understand if something is truth, or flesh. of God or of man. Discipline or the enemy attack.  Discernment is something I have been praying for like crazy recently and need to continue to do so.

2. Reach out

Mission. What is your mission? what is your purpose RIGHT NOW? God has us all in different seasons for different reasons, but we can all serve where we are right now. Are we consuming our time with pointless activities? What is it right now we can push aside to make room for God. What can we do to serve His kingdom RIGHT NOW? Take the time to write to your sponsor child. Get involved with the youth group at your church. Take someone out for coffee/dinner. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while and encourage them. Reach out. Take that extra movement, that extra intention to serve others and remove focus off yourself for once.

3. Focus on the Promise

God is not too concerned with our comfort. We face breakups, loss of loved ones, rejection, pain, isolation, and complete anger. Some of these are results of our of our own disobedience, some are just life circumstances beyond our control, some we didnt even see coming. I do know that God says to "consider it PURE JOY" when we face trials.
PURE JOY..... really?! because I believe that is the LAST thing we FEEL when we go through trials. We feel down, not joy! But He has something else: GOD has a purpose for the trial. And even if He did not necessarily CAUSE the trial, it may have been of your own decisions, He will still use that trial, that circumstance for a purpose.

We need to understand that trials (regardless of God provided or self inflicted) do test our faith. They push us to question things, it pushes us to reconsider what we believe, reevaluate who we know God to be. Trials test our faith BUT that develops PERSEVERANCE. 

Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty 
or with little or no indication of success.

Little or NO indication of success?! Doesn't sound good! But isn't that what FAITH is? To the world, there is little or no indication of success in relying in God. But FAITH is perseverance. It's continuing in the course of action (trust, prayer, love, relying in God) when we feel things are difficult and when we can't see the whole picture. When we feel there is no indication that the trial will end any time soon - we TRUST our Father in heaven, that he has a purpose for our trials and can make them into something beautiful.

 Perseverance MUST finish its work so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE - not lacking anything.

Mature: Fully developed in mind and body

Complete: Having all parts or elements, lacking nothing; entire; whole; full.
Trial:  state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief

These temporary moments of discomfort should be something we can see from a different perspective based on this one verse. I have seen first hand how God, my Father, can turn a complete heart break (one to the point where I didnt know when I would ever be able to stop crying) into something so incredible and beautiful. If it wasn't for that trial, I know I wouldn't be where I am now, working for an incredible ministry in my dream position at 25. Based on that first trial I experienced as a Christian, I can see hope in every circumstance I face now.

So I know this one is long - but we need to see our trials in the perspective of the God we serve. When we are facing our giants in life, we need to stand up, and press on. Because the promise is on the other side.

(Please watch the video I posted earlier of the frontman of Tenth Ave North who experienced a near fatal car crash which lead him into God's purpose for his life)

4. Get Uncomfortable!

I know that sounds weird, but God called many people out of their comfort zones and through that, he was able to move mountains and rescue people out of slavery, etc. Moses didn't feel comfortable speaking with his stutter, and so he was uncomfortable when the Lord called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Jonah didn't feel "comfortable" with the mission God gave him to go to Nineveh so he ran. Yet as soon as he got there, they believed the message he had from God!  

When we are willing to step out - in faith - and get out of our comfort zones, the Lord can use us in tremendous ways. 

We need to check our hearts and ask ourselves what we are willing to do if God calls us.
Quit our job?
Break up our relationships?
Reach out to someone we don't want to?

I believe there is at least ONE thing we are all facing right now that we can acknowledge that God may be asking us to do... which would require stepping out our comfort zone.

So I believe, as I wait, these are the four main things I can do right now while I am in this season. I believe the Lord has purpose for every season as I have seen in my own life so i will embrace my hardships and praise my Lord as I walk through my trials, as I know His plan far exceeds my understanding and my Trust needs to be fully in Him. <3 nbsp="">