in, Self-Improvement

I’ve heard it so many times before, “you better be careful what you wish for.” The phrase is so true and so applicable it hurts sometimes.

I started off this week in the woods begging God to help me regain control of some things in my life. I don’t need to go into all of those details here, but let’s talk about them in broad categories — habits (good and bad), relationships (think all four types of love), and work (paid and unpaid).

So I asked God to help me focus and bring clarity to these things so I can make better decisions and improve my future. I asked pretty hard.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” -James 4:3

14589887_10100252593058545_4430835775202593691_oI must have either not been asking the right way, or with the right purpose for the last couple of months, because I didn’t feel like I was getting an answer.  Maybe I was tired, or busy, or God didn’t think I was ready for the answer yet. I don’t know. What I do know is that this verse came to mind while I was thinking about all of the wonderful blessings God has given me, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

I found myself holding onto some hurt feelings and relishing in the sorrow and even anger, which as you may recall, is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

I found myself not doing things I know I should, and doing things I know I probably shouldn’t — nothing serious, no crimes against humanity, but just little things that alter my attitude and my ability to make good decisions.

I found myself unclear in my communication and intentions, which has led to misunderstandings between friends.

I found myself not being thankful. Not showing gratitude. Not being as cheery as I normally enjoy being.

I found myself becoming weary in working to help make things work, even being more interested in a successful outcome than those whom the outcome affects.

I’ve been sharing some thoughts on Facebook the last few days, I’ll repeat them here:

What is your goal for today?

Who are you doing this for?

Why is it important?

Where will you go?

How will you impact others?

Will your actions glorify God?

Have you asked for help, or are you doing this on your own?

These are posted on my door for me to see each day before I leave. I’ll admit that sometimes I leave in such a hurry the words don’t catch my eye and I don’t live every day with the purpose that it deserves.

14615763_10100254245586865_2366110302135077386_oI’ve been reminded this week that you just might get what you wish for. I’ve been reminded that when you ask and pray for God to intervene, He may very well give you what He knows you need, more than giving you what you expect or want. I’ve been reminded that gratitude changes your heart and countenance.

Oh boy, did God answer some questions for me.

Sometimes, the truth hurts.

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near…For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:6, 8, and 9

Sometimes, God has a way of putting us in our place. At least He does with me from time to time. Maybe you can relate, but you don’t want to raise your hand right now. That’s OK.

I planned to spend nearly a full week out in nature, camping and enjoying the peace and stillness of God’s creation. Alas, that plan didn’t last after contact with reality. In reality, my quiet mountain getaway was swarming with people, loud noises, and the bears hadn’t begun hibernation yet. I almost didn’t get a spot under the star to sleep. God saw fit to leave one campsite open for me, and if I had been five minutes later, my guess is I could have missed that one, too.

14884497_10100260064385945_8650516895912114027_oI slept peacefully the first night, knowing God was in control — so I didn’t worry about the mountain lions, deer, bears, and nocturnal creatures roaming the woods. However waking up was a more difficult task. I must have found a sleeping position that didn’t jive with my body’s needs, and woke up to what felt like a pinched nerve. After nearly falling over several times trying to walk (my back and knee would have shooting pain at the same time, causing me to believe my leg wouldn’t hold me up), I finally began to gain mobility and the pain subsided.

Eventually, I headed out on a hike, which I hoped would be several hours of quiet wandering in the woods. However, it was neither quiet nor several hours. After observing the density of the brush in the woods and the recurring sounds of hunters, I decided that it would be better to tackle these plans (for the hike) with a group of friends, rather than alone, and I returned to camp.

At camp, with all of the plans I had quickly flying out the window (figuratively), I decided I can find God at home just as well as I could in the woods. I packed up and headed home. Once home, I slept more comfortably in my bed, even though the pain kept coming back to my knee and lower back.

At home, I was able to continue to get what I needed and what I had purposed to achieve this week, and was able to enjoy some of my time off from work, as well.

For those of you who question the existence of a higher power, let me share with you plainly — God is not dead. If you have a reason to doubt His presence in your life, perhaps you are ready for some soul-searching of your own. There are a lot of ‘religions’ out there that all take a different approach to finding their own respective versions of God, but let me tell you – there is no perfect church, nor any perfect Christian – but there is a perfect God.

He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He wants to be involved in your life. He wants you to choose Him. You have this freedom. You can ask. You can want. You can desire.

Be careful what you ask for – you might get it.

Love others,