Do you ever feel like you are in a stage of life where one thing after another keeps happening? That is how this last year has been for me. I just want to throw the covers over my head—hide in my room—and never come out. I study and read God’s word. I pray over and over again. It is so hard for me to put into words how I feel. I feel like I have been banging my head against the wall! (Maybe that’s why I can’t think straight.)
One morning last week, when I was studying “the Quest” by Beth Moore, she mentioned a verse that I have had trouble understanding for a very long time. James 4:2b “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Is there anyone else out there that has had trouble with that verse too?? Because I do ask. I do pray. I talk to the Lord. But, after reading some of Beth’s very wise words, I have found out that I might just be asking for the wrong things.
These next words from Beth got my heart pounding. “Since we can’t avoid difficulties and sufferings, we can ask, seek, and knock with everything in us for every gorgeous thing that is ours in Christ, so that we not only can bear up in this race, we can shockingly thrive in it. No we will not always have fun, but, based on the authority of God’s Word, we can always abound.” Read that again.
So, sign me up for every gorgeous thing that is mine in Christ! I want to thrive! I want to abound! Beth states, “We have birthrights in Christ that can inject curious happiness into copious hardships. Let’s fight for them. Let’s fight for the things that make following Jesus so gloriously good that the sufferings won’t even be worth comparing.” I want my birthright! I want a curious happiness when I experience hardships because I definitely haven’t been happy with them. I whine. (Oh how I hate that about myself!) I complain. I feel sorry for myself. I feel defeated. UGH!
Are you ready for some spiritual truth? “So here are the seven graces that are our birthrights we need to fight for: Audacious Love, Ecstatic Joy, Unabashed Delight, Astonishing Faith. Unquenchable Hope, Extraordinary Fruitfulness, and Overflowing Gratefulness. Love, joy, delight, faith, hope, fruitfulness and gratefulness are the will of God for His children. We’ve got mounds of problems. We may as well take God up on heaps of privileges.” Moore
I sat there and let all of that information soak in my brain. (It takes awhile for me.) I do have lots of problems in my life. I always have and I always will. But, God gives me grace that I can count on to help me get through all the problems that I face. I really have never looked at it that way before. I would pray for my difficulties to get better, or for a person to change, or for me to change, or pray for certain answers to certain problems. I have never—and I mean never—realized what “I do not have because I do not ask” really means.
Yes, we should pray for people. Yes, we should pray for issues. But, sometimes we don’t see answers. Sometimes, we wait and we wait for answers for years. If we keep our eyes on the things that aren’t happening then that is not healthy. We get bogged down. I know I haven’t been thriving because I haven’t been asking for love or joy or delight or faith or hope or fruitfulness or gratefulness in my circumstances. I have been overlooking what God wants for me. I have been missing out on the beautiful birthrights I have in Christ my friends and maybe you have been missing out too!
I have seven beautiful privileges to ask for in my life. This gives me hope. Right before I started studying this particular part of “The Quest” study I was journaling. I was writing out many questions that I had for God. I am going to share some of them with you. “What lies am I believing Lord? Do I think that some day I actually won’t have problems in this world? I think I do. I want to be free of problems. How do I accept this life I am living? How do I come to terms with all the pain and sorrow? How do I keep putting one foot in front of the other? How do I change my mindset? How do I continue to deal with suffering for myself and others? How do I toughen my mind? I still believe in good. I still have trouble accepting all the bad. Should I? How do I stay hopeful? How do I keep my eyes on you?”
Because God is so good, right after I wrote all of those questions down, I read the part I shared with you in paragraph three above that got my heart pounding. That’s why I said to read it again. If you need to, go back up and reread it. The answer to my questions is to ask, seek and knock for all the beautiful privileges God has given me. Love, joy, delight, faith, hope, fruitfulness and gratefulness are now the things that I am asking for because it is the will of God for me. When we pray for the will of God in our lives, He will give it to us. I want happiness amidst my hardships. I want to thrive! I want to be a conqueror!
I just need to lay my problems and issues at the feet of Jesus. I need to give Him the things I yearn and pray for. Sometimes I care too much. I yearn too much. I want to see change. I need to let go! I care so much about people, but it can be really hard on me. I want change for people so much that I ache inside. I have seen so much destruction. But, I need to entrust the Lord to work and I need to back off and pray.
I am asking for the Lord’s truths and promises to invade my bones. I have let too many issues and problems weigh me down for too many years. I think a lot of my issues stem from a Dad I couldn’t trust. That has been difficult to overcome with my heavenly Father. I am praying for God to get me over that feeling. I can trust Him. I can entrust Him to work in my life and the lives of everyone I care so deeply about.
I am a visual person. That can be good and that can be bad. I focus too much on what I see or can’t see. I have to trust that God is working even when I can’t see it. Instead of getting discouraged, I need to ask for joy or hope or love or faith or gratefulness or all of the above to thrive in my circumstances.
It is almost Thanksgiving. It is a time of year for us to focus on what we are thankful for. I am so thankful for the truth that God shows me on a daily basis. I would like to encourage all of us to focus on those things and ask for overflowing gratefulness this next month. Beth states, “Grateful people are the loveliest humans on planet Earth. They smile easy, eyes crinkling, like they know something the rest of us don’t. They delight easy. They manage to retain a certain playfulness and childlike sense of wonder that make them sparkle like fireflies in a world of hornets.”
I want to be a firefly that sparkles for Jesus. Can you imagine what a change we could make in our world if we were just grateful??? I remember reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” a few years ago. Each chapter is a reflection of finding everyday graces. I bought the one with a journal in the back where you could fill in 1,000 lines with 1,000 gifts from God. It took me awhile to fill in all the lines, but what it did was make me grateful not only for the good but also for the bad. My heart became happy. I need to revisit this book and writing down all the daily gifts God gives me. Writing my blessings down, really does make a difference. It needs to become a habit of mine again.
Today, I would like to you ask you to join me in praying for audacious love, ecstatic joy, unabashed delight, astonishing faith, unquenchable hope, extraordinary fruitfulness and overflowing gratefulness in our lives. Let’s take God up on the privileges He has for us. It is our birthright as children of God. May we shine like fireflies for Him!
Until next time dear friends……
*I would love to hear your stories of what happens when you count your gifts or claim your birthrights in Christ!