More to It than That

When I was in high school or college, I was given a bumper sticker that said, “Choose Life, your mother did.” As I considered the words, I felt as though the message was too narrow. “Choose Life” is so much more than just an anti-abortion sentiment. I need to choose to bring Life into the lives of those around me. I need to shine Jesus where there is darkness, both out there in the world and especially where I find it here within myself.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. He is the key to your life. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a, NLT)

When I have sinned, I need to choose to accept forgiveness. When I have hurt others, I need to choose to do whatever I can to bring healing and reconciliation. When I have been hurt, I need to forgive. That’s hard. Particularly that last one. I don’t want to forgive people when they hurt me. I want them to experience the same sort of hurt I have experienced because of their actions.

Lord Jesus,

By myself, there is no way I can push past feelings of hurt to pray for people who have hurt me. I want what I see as justice, but You have called us to something greater than meting out an eye for an eye (Matthew 5:38-48).

Help me to truly recognize the immense blessings You have given me. Help me to understand the grace You have shown me. Let me open myself up to Your Spirit and be filled up with You so much that I move beyond my own selfish, petty sense of fair. May I show Your love, mercy, and grace, not just to those who bless me, but to everyone You bring into my life. Amen.

A Dream Within a Dream

Several months ago I signed up as an independent consultant with a direct sales company. While I didn’t have any expectations that I would earn the incentive trip to Europe this summer or win any sales awards, I figured I could make a steady income and help balance the household budget. After a few weeks with the company, I discovered that the larger team I was a part of had been named “Dare to Dream” and the leader’s focus was on realizing your financial and family goals by building a successful business.

My business has not been very successful. In fact, I’ve spent the last couple of months teetering on the edge of deciding to quit, but arguing myself out of it because I was afraid I hadn’t yet tried hard enough. Just this morning, I realized that daring to dream is not something I often allow myself to do. Dreaming is scary. I am afraid to get my hopes up lest they be dashed against the rocks by a cold wave of reality.

I don’t want to dream because I don’t want to be disappointed. The god I imagine is much too small and far too concerned with tallying all my rights and wrongs to love me with the extravagance God does. In my fears, my imaginary god will give me what I deserve; he will abandon me because I have failed him.

May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. And may you know His love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.

God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by His power that is working in us. (Ephesians 3:18-20, NIrV)

Lord Jesus,

I have set up an idol of my own image in Your place. The god I have been looking to is not You. In fearing to fail, I have failed once again. Forgive my sin of believing that You are small enough to fit in my imagination. Forgive my unwillingness to ask for what I need, fearing You won’t give it to me.

Thank You that even when I wander off, You stay right with me. Thank You for loving me so much that You are willing to follow me until I learn how to follow You. Open my eyes to the dreams You have for me. Let me know that what You have in store is bigger and more amazing than anything I could dream up. Let me fear no failure, but trust in Your love that never fails.