Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Genie In a Bottle

It's been almost a month since my last blog topic and I've had a ton of "aha" moments that I want to share! Maybe this will prompt me to post on my blog more than once a month! :-) Life just gets so busy that it's difficult to find time to do everything. I will certainly need to prioritize better!

On Monday night I returned from a trip to NY. Yup, we decided to travel to the cold state of New York just in time to meet Elsa and her arctic crew there. I love using Elsa (from Frozen) whenever I talk about cold weather. It's just so appropriate! When I tell you it was freezing, I'm not sure that it relays just how cold! I just had a flashback and started to shiver! I digressed...Although it was cold and a few things went wrong, it was still great to get away with friends. Experiencing joy and making memories, that is what life is about. Many times throughout the weekend I just felt full! When I look at my life, I realize that I am truly blessed. God surrounds me with so much love! I'm okay with being alone (#SingleGirl) because God makes sure that I'm not lonely. I have an amazing group of friends and family. Coincidence?!??!?! Not at all! Everything is by His design. Thank you, God for the people in my life!

Now on to business! Since it's a few days after Valentine's Day I decided to talk about relationships, well, not relationship in particular. Oh boy! Yes, prepare my soapbox because I'm getting ready to stand on it. This edition will be called...genie in a bottle and no, I am not referring to Aladdin or Christina Aguilera.

I read the best analogy the other day from a Bible app that I follow for my "read the Bible in a year" plan. Anyway, the devotional referenced going to the doctor and reading off a list of things that are wrong. The writer made the point- would I go to my doctor and say "I have a fever, chills, running nose, back aches, and headaches," but then leave before he is able to respond. The answer for many of us would be no. I know that I would stay so that I could hear his response and possible next steps; there would be a conversation. Our relationship with God shouldn't be any different. Genius, right? I started to think, how often do I pray? Most of the time I close my eyes and tell God my problems, end in Jesus' name, and go about my business, not once stopping to listen for the next steps or plan of action. I give Him my honey to-do list...and expect Him to answer them all on my timing! Boy have I learned that it doesn't work that way! Not one bit!

Praying, although simple in it's definition, is something that I don't do enough. When building relationships with people, I talk to them often. I check-in on family and friends to say hello and just to see how they are doing, so wouldn't this be the same with our Heavenly Father? I'm learning through my journey that praying is a lot more than just making a request. We should pray to give thanks, to say this day kind of sucks, or to mention how beautiful the sky looks, and/or to pray for someone's situation. Anything other than just "I need your help, please guide me, or please fight this battle for me." It's not just about MY needs.

God longs for our attention. He wants us to seek Him (Matthew 6:33 and Matthew 7:7). I'm constantly reminded by my pastors to read my Bible daily. This is how you build a relationship with God, so that you don't have the "Genie in the Bottle Syndrome (GIB). Did I just make this a disease?? HA! You might have GIB Syndrome if you ONLY pray to God when something goes wrong, you need a new job, you want to be married, you can't pay a bill, or you need a new car-you get the point. Please don't get me wrong, I do think that prayer is important during these times but I don't think we should make a habit of that being the only time we spend with God.

I am starting to read and search a lot more for information that will help me to understand the Bible and my actual relationship with God. How can I hear God, if I don't know Him? If I don't spend time in His word, learning His ways, learning from other people's stories, how can I hear God in all of my situations? How can I know when God actually answers a prayer. It won't always be that God will get rid of my pain, hurt, or complicated scenario. He may just be guiding me on how to get through it, or how to help someone else, but how will I know if I don't know His voice?

This morning I watched The View and they made a very general comment about Christians saying "Christians are so judgmental." This isn't my first time hearing that, so many people have this view of Christians. However, if we spend time with God, we start to understand that Jesus was never judgmental in the way that some Christians (not all) seem to be. I also have a problem with people making statements about an entire group based on a few people's actions but that truly is another topic for another day. Anyway, I gave this example to say that building a relationship with God isn't only about following His "rules" it's a part of it. But how can you understand how the rules are applicable to your particular situation if you never spend time listening to God. We have to understand that God may move in my life one way, but move completely different for someone else. This is why you should "never look to the right or left...keep your eyes up!" Read the Bible, so God can speak to you. Have a conversation with God about more than just what He can do for you. Overcome the GIB syndrome.

The other night after my quiet time (time I spend reading the Bible, different devotionals, and writing in my prayer book) I decided to just sit and listen. I made some requests in my prayer binder (for other people) and just decided to "Be still..." (Psalms 46:10). So I waited...In my mind I pictured hearing a voice like James Earl Jones or something dramatic like that. Could you imagine?!?!?!?! I laugh thinking about what my reaction would be. But then the Holy Spirit says--it doesn't work like that...I can't rub my genie bottle and expect God to just pop-up in dramatic form, but...

He is always on time! He will guide me, talk to me, stop me, pull me, calm me, teach me, discipline me, hide me, when needed. He doesn't have to talk it over with me first! But I have to know His ways in order to hear it, recognize it, and accept it! The amazing thing is that God doesn't just do this for me. It is available to anyone that is willing to seek Him! (Matthew 7:7,  Matthew 6:33, Deuteronomy 4:29, Psalm 14:2, Psalm 53:2) I can't imagine how He handles all of the requests...but that is why He is almighty, all-knowing, and just all-great! I mean, He made everything you see in six days and relaxed on the seventh...need I say more? Drops the mic and walks away on that point!!!

But seriously do you have the genie in the bottle syndrome? Are you trying to build a relationship with God? Do you seek things not just for yourself but for others? Your homework assignment for tonight--yes you! My imaginary readers;-) Talk to God...just flat out have a conversation about your day, about your dreams, about your life, about your honest, be you...God knows everything about you already but He desires ALL of you! Remember to be honest because God just doesn't listen to your words, He knows your heart, the real you.

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