Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day Two! Today's Theme: Brave

"We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give....
--Madeleine L'Engle

I'm not doing so well with this brave thing. It feels absurd to confess this so early in our 40 Days, but without honesty I'm sunk. So here you have it: last night as I went to bed (that seems to be revelation time for me lately) I realized that I still don't know what I'm praying and fasting for. Isn't that absurd? Don't get me wrong: I have some vague hopes that feel sort of amorphous and slippery, but they're not the problem. It's the specific hopes, and how they fall into two frustrating categories, that are tripping me up. Here's how:

First, there are the things I've prayed about already--in some cases, A LOT. Areas of life where I'm pretty much out of words to express, "Hey God, in case you missed my earlier memos, there's still this thing missing from my life...." I'm not sure how to pray without getting naggy and obnoxious, which seems to run counter to my self-image as super-together faith chick. (I suspect God is not really for that image, but still...)

And then there are the OTHER things, the ones that just feel too gigantic and ridiculous to pray for at all. I mean, I love the whole "Believe six impossible things before breakfast" bit from Alice in Wonderland, but today, I'm having a tough time believing even one.

I think God wants to challenge me (I'll take a guess that I'm not alone in this frustration, and say us...) in this. Not #1, so much. In my more rational moments, I know that he got the earlier memos; he's on it. But #2, definitely. It's pretty clear that he wants us to step up to the plate and actually PRAY our gigantic, ridiculous prayers. Sure, they're gigantic and ridiculous. But if we're going to dream these things (and even consider the possibility that these dreams CAME from God in the first place), we might as well dream them with Jesus--I think he's the only spiritual leader type who claims he can help us get there. As I mentioned on Sunday, he even said, "What's impossible with man is possible with God." How can I argue with that? (More importantly, why would I want to?)

Chapter 2 of Ruth fits right into this theme, as she heads out into a stranger's field to try and gather enough grain from the leftovers to keep she and Naomi alive (today, this would be like picking through recycling bins all over town, looking for bottles to return for a nickel). It's crazy for her to think any sort of a life is possible at this point. And yet...

So I'm asking God to make me brave. And each time I do, I'm going to dive in and pray my gigantic, ridiculous prayers, even when it makes me feel awkward and squirmy inside. Maybe prayer is like like working out: it counts even if it doesn't feel good.

In honor of this little decision, today's song is called--you guessed it! Brave. It's by yesterday's featured singer, Nichole Nordeman, which makes me feel like I'm failing a bit at the DJ aspect of this project, but hey--I can't argue with the lyrics. Tomorrow, perhaps we'll have a new artist. Until then, this rockin, happy song will give us all something to hum under our breath as we go about our day. All together now:

So long status quo--I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was, is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave....

What do you guys think of this?


Katie-Kate said...

Thanks for the honesty. Just wanted you to know you're my new favorite author. It was Candice Bushnell. Then I read "Sex and the City Uncovered: Exposing the Emptiness and Healing the Hurt" by Marian Jordan. Opened my eyes!!!

Kwana said...

Thanks for this post. I will try and remember to be Brave in my walk and my writing today.

Sarakastic said...

I am having this same struggle but as I read this I thought "If we could do it by ourselves, we already would have, what's left are those ridiculous gigantic dreams, God is good with the impossible"

Liza said...

I too have a problem being Brave. Thanks for the post. BTW, "Brave" is one of my favorite songs! I listen to it just about everyday.

Elizabeth said...

Bravery is important to distinguish from foolhardiness.
We are brave when we face our challenges with strnghth, determination and Faith. Facing our fears, speaking before an audience, maybe even going against the "status quo"(sometimes our own status quo).
I'm so glad to be here with all of you.
I will be spending the 12noon to 1pm hour in our Adoration Chapel with my children. I will offer up some special prayers for all of you! Pax, Elizabeth
PS. I had a couple of posts recently on my blog on Obedience and Humility, stop by if you like!

Patti said...

last night i climb into bed and i am thinking about how i was going to fast from snarkiness, and then as i was praying i clearly heard from god that he's ok with the snarkiness (i think he knows that i will only turn it on myself and spare others) but it really steams him that i am filled with disbelief.


but he's so right. lately i write and i go thru the motions of querying MY THIRD NOVEL but in the back of my mind there it is...disbelief.

I tell myself that getting published is my true pipe dream. sure, some find me humorous and i get a laugh, but on a big scale? nah....ain't gonna happen.


so, i am amending my fast. i am giving disbelief the boot. or at least i will try as hard as i can in these 40 days.

when i send my queries out, i will believe that i have it in me to succeed.

when i had my ephiphany last night, i felt a shift in the current that is my life. like when you finally give up worrying about how something will ever work itself out and then BOOM! worked out.

Today, I face this challenge excited to see what unfolds. Thanky Girl!

Patti said...

and my big prayer makes me look around the room to see if anyone can read my heart. it's embarrassing really...

ForstRose said...

Thanks again Trish.

And Patti thank you for the comments on disbelief. As far as that goes too though remember how Jesus blessed those who admitted their lack of belief and asked for help. So you are on the right track just by recognizing God's voice in that.

In some ways I feel like the man who wanted healing for a person in his household and all he could say was "I believe, Lord help my unbelief" He had to make a conscious choice to believe yet he knew he still struggled and needed God to help him past that lack of trust.

I think sometimes I avoid God because I am afraid to trust even Him although I know He is the only one capable of bringing my dreams or sometimes needs to fruition. Since I choose to trust in my own power which I know is inadequate I end up frustrated and stuck but I'm not allowing Him to exceed my expectations because I won't let Him do what He has in mind for me and trust that whatever it may be it is better than my dreams if not the ones I think I have or if it is the ones I have in mind His results will be beyond my imaginations of it.

Trish -

I think you're right about the brave concept applying to more than just you. It certainly takes alot more guts than I have alot of the time to trust Him.


Manic Mom said...

You know, I don't think I'm brave enough to do this. How are you brave enough to post for 40 days straight to keep us focused on the prize.

I'm not even brave enough to stop drinking Diet Coke. I didn't get enough warning for this!!!!

YIKES!!! I'm a failure already!!

K.T. Hernandez said...

Brave, yep, that's a tough one. Well I tell you, this morning I woke in a panic. My son had reconstructive ear surgery (real high tech stuff at UCLA) last fall and last night the ear was bleeding. Okay, my husband reminded me that ears don't normally bleed. So I woke with the impossible quest to get my son into UCLA asap. Which requires referrals, approvals, authorizations and many more hoops. Oh, and then, just for fun, the doctor is leaving the country after Friday. So Friday is the day. Outloud I said "impossible". Never will happen. But Trish is right, what's impossible with man is possible with God. So today I'm praying for a miracle and the parting of the red tape.

Blessings to you all.

ramblin' girl said...

I sometimes find asking for the big, ridiculous things is easier than asking for the small ones. As if somehow the small ones aren't important enough. And along with most of you, I don't feel I'm brave enough sometimes. May we all be a little braver.

the teacher said...

I think this is a perfect topic to start the 40 days on. Lately, I have felt like I am not brave enough to try and give it all to God without worry or trying to make things happen on my own.

As of RIGHT NOW, I am going to be more brave and let God have control of my life.I say I trust him, but I want it to show in my actions.

tootie said...

First, I love the idea of this 40 Days, especially since it involves dreaming big and praying big.

I'm currently training for a marathon, and I'll definitely need a dose of "brave," since I've never really been a runner before this.

Thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to the rest of the journey.

Larramie said...

Change IS good but it's still the Unknown and somewhat scary. So being brave and believing is the only way to achieve what we want...*deep breath*

Here's a sign, though. My fasting is not being at the computer well into the night and last night I lost my connection at 8:55 PM! No doubts here. ;)

Suzanne said...

Your post really spoke to me tonight as I read it I realized that I don't feel brave enough to believe that God will really answer the same three prayers I've been praying for years and which have not been realized.

These three have been a real stumbling block in my walk of faith because they are so central to my life. They have led me to believe that God answers prayers when I pray for others, but doesn't answer them when I pray for my own dreams.

My prayer is that over these 40 days I will find a closer relationship with God and an explanation of what I'm doing wrong, why I'm not getting through to God, or why He seems so silent in the things, the big things I need.


SLING WORDS aka Joan Reeves said...

Made it to day 2 without a cooky or any sweet to savor with my evening coffee. I think 40 days of faith to focus on a specific prayer is good for all of us.

I'm struck by how many are praying similar prayers and by those who have prayed these same prayers for a long time.

Sometimes I think God answers prayers in unusual ways or in subtle or convoluted ways so that we may miss the answer. We're looking for lightning to cleave the sky not for the still, soft whisper that may resonate if we analyze it. Sometimes it may seem like coincidence, but, as some wise person once said: Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.

Aimee said...

Thanks for this Trish, I think bravery is at the heart of the 40 days of faith and I can totally relate to your feelings. Having faith is an act of bravery and it is something we need to reaffirm and build up everyday. I know I sure need it - hopefully together we can create some crazy bravery!

heiress said...

It's not easy being brave but for these next 38 or so days I am going to try my hardest to stand firm. As I read the post for today I instantly was reminded of Mark 11:24, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, BELIEVE that you HAVE received it, and it will be yours. I focus on those two very important words spoken by Jesus, because having Faith is believing that you have already received what you asked for in prayer, and because that was a hard thing for Jesus disciples to do, it definitely requires us to be brave.

goodgyrrl said...

Amen for bravery! I'm in a bit of a sticky situation at work. When I was hired, there was one designer there,so they made him my boss. Once the CEO saw that my work ethic was far better, they made ME his boss! Because my employee is so accustomed to coming, going, and doing as he pleases, he doesn't take me seriously when I give a directive. Today was the last straw, however. I specifically told him a few weeks ago, that no one was to approach him with any design jobs without my consent, to which he said okay. Today, I found out that he accepted a job without my knowledge and I took my big girl pill and let him have it! It was tough, but I can no longer tolerate him underminding my authority!

Butterfly said...

I was told by my Dr the other day that He things I am the bravest patient he ever met, it made me cry!

I have been married since Sept 2006 and very early on I realized how bad my Husbands drinking problem was. A failed rehab session resulted in him home in Jan and in Feb I had to ask him to leave our home.
He then totally reached rock bottom and went back to rehab and is now 70 days sober.

So for the next 40 days I would like to pray for his continued sobriety, for some guidance from God to know when I should allow DH back home and for me to continue to be brave when I really fell like sitting in the corner and crying!

Stephanie said...

You know that's what's so funny! I'm actually a little scared he will answer my prayer. I guess I will have to be brave!

Swishy said...

I LOVE Stephanie's comment! I feel like that sometimes, like if I get what I ask for I will have no more excuses in other areas of my life. Does that make sense?

I am a big scaredy cat. I can use all the reminders I can get to be brave :)

Accidental Admin. said...

I love Stephanie's comment, too. I know that being "brave" is something I have compartmentalized, along with everything else in my emotional and spiritual (?) life. The things that are easily visible to other people--going forward and doing things I really want to do in my life (applying for PhD programs--and then getting in and now preparing to leave Boston, a well-paying if boring job with great health insurance benefits, and all of my friends--being just one little example) I am lauded for and called a brave, strong, and adventurous person for.

But when it comes to men? I'm still the girl who's shattered from all of the rejection I have had in my life and from the psychological drama of feeling different and inadequate from not having the interest in all of the boys, all of the time, like many of the girls around me had growing up; of feeling insufficient and inconsequential because of the overwhelming ways that I have felt violated, broken down, and deeply hurt by men; of limiting the capacity of men to find attraction only in certain shapes and sizes--all of which are not my shape, size, height, hair length, eye shape and color, etc.

I guess what I am saying is that I don't know how to be universally brave. The "pick and choose" type has been, I guess, my success strategy for so much of my life. It's been my defense mechanism. I want to be brave enough to accept wild love and an amazing man who is interested in totally understanding me and who seeks to build a relationship on trust, honor, and sincerity. I want to be brave when it comes to love and men and romance. I want peacefulness around that. And the part of me that freaks the heck out thinks, immediately, that this will not happen because I have not yet found the user's manual for my Model 2.0, glitch-filled sense of bravery.