Have you ever had an experience where you said something to God and He did the exact opposite? Or He took you seriously? Or He listened to what you said and not what you meant?
Yeah. It's something no one warns you about.
So here are some things you should never say to God:
- I never want to live in [insert name of place].
We ended up living in all of the places a certain adult in my family named (I was a child. It wasn't me). It turned out pretty well in the end but....well...you should never say those things if you actually don't want to go somewhere. I stupidly repeated this error myself, as an adult, and here I live in the very town I didn't want to move to. And like my parents, we've ended up loving being here. OK, so maybe this is a prayer worth praying. The results are surprisingly good. It won't seem like it at the time though.
- I never want to marry [insert name].
Can't tell you how many people I know who said they would never marry a certain person and then ended up marrying that exact person. Sense of humour anyone? Mr Busy assures me he will never marry the girl I adore in his class. He's doomed.
- Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Never, never say this out loud to God if what you mean is "give me a special thing to do that is meaningful to me. And You".
Over the past two weeks I've been reading blog posts from a group of women (including Jen Hatmaker) who have just been on a trip to Rwanda, called "Style for Justice" (click on the link for links to each of the stories). This group of women told heartbreaking stories from Rwanda. The injustices. The challenges. The unspeakable atrocities endured by these people who have lost so much. And they told stories of hope. Strength. Determination. Faith.
I cried an ocean for the week.
Then I began reading "Dear Mr Knightly" by Katherine Reay. More heartbreak as I read about a young woman trying to overcome her coping mechanisms and insecurities developed through years in the foster care system.
More heartbroken oceans of tears.
At one point I just had to put the book down and walk away to have a chat with God. "What do I do with all this now that You've broken my heart? I don't have a 'thing' I'm passionate about. I can't even buy Noonday jewellery because they won't ship to Australia...and now I feel guilty because I'm meant to do something about and for the poor, the homeless, the widowed, the orphaned and the oppressed. What do I do?" I asked.
"I want you to teach", blew quietly across my heart.
Oh. That's right. I am passionate about that!
I'm too scared to ask what that will look like. My heart is for Christian education...I don't think I want to know if that's not my path!!! Maybe I'll just focus on finishing my degree. Eleven and a half weeks to go.
Just so you know - word your prayers carefully.