I had an interesting start to the day yesterday. I woke up and immediately felt anxious and sorrowful about a problem that I thought David and I had solved already. But for some reason, I woke up with an extreme lack of peace about the whole thing.
God used this as an opportunity to teach me how to ask for something I need. And I don’t mean taking time out of your day once and saying, “Hey God, if You could take care of that…that’d be great.” (I can just hear the voice of the annoying boss from the movie Office Space.) That’s essentially how I handled this issue from the beginning. I had this expectation of God and thought (subconsciously) that I could just push the issue onto Him, making it His issue instead of mine. That way He could just deal with it for me and I wouldn’t have to fret about it anymore. I’d just sit tight, chill, and wait for an answer. I think now that there was a big problem with this approach.
I don’t think God intends for us to shove our problems off onto HIm like they’re not actually our problems. Of course He wants to provide guidance in our lives and lead us in the right direction, but when we come to Him with our woes and troubles, we can’t be passive about them. I think this is the difference between expecting something from God and waiting on Him.
When we expect Him to do something we are choosing to be passive about the issue. We are expecting Him to do something we would rather not bother with. But if that’s our attitude, how badly can we say we actually want a solution? If it’s something we say is important to us and then shove it off like it’s not our problem, I think we’re kidding ourselves.
When we wait on Him to do something we take an active stance. We take time and effort to pursue His heart on the matter. We flesh out all of our thoughts and cares to Him, leaving nothing out. We feel deeply that getting an answer from HIm is actually what we want more than anything else related to the problem. This is how we should ask Him to help us. This might be where Romans 8:26 is fleshed out in our lives: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” If our spirit doesn’t truly long for the problem to be solved or for an answer to be found, (I could be wrong, but) it seems hard to imagine the Spirit working very hard to communicate the matter with the Father, doesn’t it?
It has to matter to us, and it has to matter a lot.
I took the passive approach first without realizing it was wrong. I essentially asked God to sort it out and get back to me. I made it His problem, not mine. I didn’t think I had to do anything to figure it out; that was His job. I ended up settling on an answer and thinking, “Yeah, okay, this solution basically works”, and thought that the mystery was solved. But something deep down in me wasn’t quite satisfied with the answer. If I’m being honest, I didn’t have a deep, spiritual peace about it yet. Then yesterday, God brought up the entire issue again in a way that made me question the solution I thought I had settled on. He threw it all up into the air again, and, confused as I was, I had no choice but to cry out to Him for REAL this time. I actually petitioned Him. I realized that I was desperate for an answer, and that I was willing to divulge to Him every ounce of my thought and emotion pertaining to the situation (and this takes so much emotional energy, friends!). I was willing to actually spend time on it. (I have issues with this. It’s something I think we have trouble with in this instantly gratifying, technological age.)
It became very important to me all of a sudden because I felt like I was thrown into chaos and confusion about it. But what would have happened if I would have made it a priority in my heart in the first place? What if I would have approached it from a posture of humility and faithful petition the first time, instead of expecting that He would do all the work for me? I can’t say for sure, but I would bet that the answer I got would have been one that really came from the Heart of God, and it would have lasted long-term. It probably wouldn’t have gotten upset by the rough waters of life because anything that comes from Him is solid, steady, and immovable–even in turbulence.
I’m still waiting for my answer, but you can bet I’m learning to petition and present my requests the right way. I know that when the answer comes, it will come with a peace and a clarity that I didn’t have before.
Have you experienced something similar in your life? Have you been asking God for something the “wrong way”? What was His response to your situation? Have you ever asked Him the “right way”? Was there peace when the answer did come? I want to hear your story! Leave a comment or shoot me an email!
All my love,