Monday, October 29, 2007

Your idea vs. God's idea

Okay, so obviously, we need to shift the posting schedule a bit. I have a new small group, which I’m excited about because it means more new people to offend (I’ve already asked them which swear words I can use and if I’m allowed to flip people off in the room), and it meets on Sunday nights, making it hard to get a GIPIAN (is THAT what my blog acronym looks like? Ha! That makes you all GIPIANers! Hee hee hee) Sunday post on time.

So Sunday posting will now become Monday postings. Sometime on Monday.

I haven’t been doing the Enforced Secret Joys for a few weeks because #1 – I kept forgetting to put them in and #2 – Not a lot was overtly joyful outside of the obvious elements in the individual blogs.

But here we go, we’ll put it at the top. Enforced Secret Joy #53: this site What’s so joyful about it? Well, just observe the hours and hours of fun you can have.

I am not the type to talk about potentially good news in my personal or professional life, because every time I say even the slightest fragment of a sentence that starts with “I met a…” or “They’re sending paperwork over on….” POOF, it all goes up in smoke. Like, EVERY SINGLE TIME. So let’s do a substitute, shall we? Let’s pretend that instead of me ever wanting to be a screenwriter, I’ve always wanted to be….a lumberjack!

And I’ve been pursuing my dream of chopping down trees ever since I was 16, and I’ve been chopping something down every day, working on my craft, not letting the fact that I’m a chick, or that I’m in California (a state not known for its lumberjacking industry) stop me. God has given me this amazing gift for tree chopping, for log rolling, for cross saw cutting, and even though lumberjacking is a secular occupation, I’m gonna somehow use my gifts to be the proverbial salt and light to the tree world. Okay?

Now, let’s say that I was close to my flannel clad goal of winning the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition at the Lumberjack World Championships held in Hayward Wisconsin. This is something I’ve wanted very very badly, and I’ve worked for years and years to make it to the championships, and every time it looked like I was close, I landed in fifth place, I twisted my wrist, my flight was late and I didn’t make it to the match on time or something. But this time, THIS TIME, everything feels like it’s lining up how it’s supposed to.

So I want to win. I REALLY really want to win. And so, as any good little Christian would/should do, I send out the all call to my peeps to please pray to whatever Deity they believe in that my skills would be enough, that circumstances would unfold the right way enough, that Amy Winning The Underhand Chop Competition is in God’s plan for me.

I’ve already blogged before about the conflicting schools of thought about praying for what you want versus praying for how to be. But what’s weighing on my mind this go around is that it’s okay for what you want to happen if it’s God’s idea, but it’s not okay to pray for if it’s my idea.

Does that make sense? I don’t think so, let’s rephrase. We all know that God can and does use secular events for his own purposes, so the foreman who crushes your self esteem and calls you “The Bowlegged Wonder From Bama” as you studied 90 Foot Speed Climbing under him for three years was there so your skin (and hamstrings) could toughen and tighten and withstand future attacks from rotten personalities like him. There was no way you could change him into being a nicer person, and you weren’t praying to study under a jackhole like him in the first place, but that wasn’t why God put him in your life. Now, years later, you understand God’s plan, and you say, “Yay, niftykins, God! Thanks for looking out for me!”

But here we are, staring the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition right in the face, and MY idea is that I win it, achieve my goal, and move on to the higher plane of lumberjacking, where I can give God the glory, nab a Mountain Dew endorsement, give talks around the world about how you too can accomplish your goals and dreams through the glory of Christ, la la la (yes, this is where the metaphor breaks down, because I’m obviously not in screenwriting for the publicity, just work with me people, please.)

But I can’t help but feel that because it was MY idea to win the competition, that it’s not something God wants for me, and therefore, I shouldn’t pray to win it, nor should I ask for prayer to win it.

That anything, plan, goal, dream, wish, desire, that I come up with is going to be inferior to what God comes up with for me. I can’t tell you how many times in church I’ve heard the pastor say something to that effect, that God has bigger designs in mind than anything your troglodyte brain can come up with. Which means that all those missionaries and justice workers trying to bust up the international human trafficking circles just aren’t dreaming BIG enough, snerk.

So what do you do? Wait on God to do all the work? That can’t be it, you gotta do SOMETHING, right? So what, I practice chopping, spinning, cutting, and wait to be divinely struck with the next step (enter the championships)? Is that what I do?

When do you know how what YOU want is what GOD wants for you too? ‘Cause I’m guessing we should be praying for things that God wants to give us (and why is He waiting to give them to us, by the way? Because we have to put in a formal request? I am so READY to win this contest, God. HONESTLY. Consider this my formal memo to You.)

Oh sure, we can always hearken back to Tulip’s talk, and we should pursue “goodness, righteousness, and holiness” blah blah abstract concept, no grounding in reality blah.

See, my whole thing is that I hate wasting time. My time, or anyone else’s, and ESPECIALLY God’s. So I don’t wanna bug Him praying for stuff that He doesn’t want me to pray for. (Or for stuff that He has no intention of ever giving me, but that grumble grumble topic is its own blog entry for later.)

It’s like there’s two ways to pray:

Option #1 – Please oh please oh please let me do my absolute best to win the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition, and let my absolute best be enough to win.

Option #2 – Please let me reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control regardless if I do or don’t win.

Except I don’t know a single person out there who prays like Option #2. You kinda wanna kick Option #2 in the teeth, because that’s just dripping with sanctimonious bullhonkey. That’s not a real person. That’s an ideal concept that nobody can live up to. Sure, I can ACT like I’m Option #2. But that wouldn’t be me. That wouldn’t be real.

Oh, I bet I know the answer. It’s Counselor Gladys favorite comeback, “It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and.”

Option #3: Dear God, because I am human, and an annoying little brattykins, I’m praying please oh please oh please let me do my absolute best to win the Women’s Underhand Chop Competition, and let my absolute best be enough to win. But please let me reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control regardless if I do or don’t win. And please forgive me if/when I don’t completely embody those lovely spiritual gifts. Because, dammit, I’m trying. Honestly. Love, Amy The Writer.


Midlife Virgin said...

I think you should pray exactly how you want to and ignore the ones who tell you how you "should" pray. Your relationship with your God is yours, not theirs. Pray the way you want, He's used to listening to you that way. You may confuse Him otherwise.

Carlen said...

AWESOME entry. Like, my favoritest in a while. I laughed (and related) much. I think I'm going to English teachers' hell for using "favoritest."

The other day I entered (what I thought was) your blog address, as I'd lost all my bookmarks, and silly me, I entered "" - and it was SO NOT you. But amusing, nonetheless.