Prayer

PRAYER
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In the ten years we had been married, my husband had never started the “I am sorry” conversation. This time was no different. Irritated, I began talking to God. That’s it. I am done God. I am not going to be the first to apologize again. If we are going to get past this, he is going to have to start the conversation. I am not doing it this time.

Despite my frustration, I understood the immense benefits of holding my tongue when I am angry, so I left the room, shut my mouth, and stepped into the secret place- my bathtub. As time passed, my emotions began to settle. I talked to God some more. Rather than continuing to point the finger at my husband, I made a conscious decision to ask God to show me, me- a habit I started many years ago.

 
Whenever I am angry, when my feelings are hurt or when someone upsets me, I ask God to show me, me. I ask Him to give me clarity about the truth of the situation, to soften my heart, and to change me.
 

After praying this simple “change me” prayer, I felt a shift taking place inside of me. My heart was open to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

“Are you happy with how the first ten years of your marriage have gone?”

“Yes, Lord. I am.” I responded.

“Do you want to be this happy ten years from now?”

“Yes, Lord. I do.”

“Then you are going to have to do it again… Get out of the bathtub and apologize.”

In the quiet moments following, the Lord reminded me of a great truth about relationships: God uses people in our lives to make us more like Him. The people who drive us crazy; the ones who know how to push our buttons; those who are hard to get along with, they serve a greater purpose than what we see. Our spouses, our parents, children, co-workers, friends, and neighbors, they were put in our lives for a reason: to make us holy.

God gave each one of His children certain strengths and weaknesses designed to remind us of how much we need Him. However, instead of learning holiness from those we are in relationship with, we often place blame and point fingers. We waste our time dwelling on the flaws of our loved ones, rather than asking God to use their faults, to show us ours. We beg and plead with God to change others, rather than recognizing that these people are in our lives to help shape us into the image of Christ.

To become more like Jesus, we must learn to depend on Him to help one another in our weaknesses. We must invite His presence into our moments through prayer, listen to His voice, and obey His commands.

That evening, I made a decision that impacted eternity. I invited Jesus into my ugly mess through prayer. In doing so, I saw that what came out of me when I was squeezed wasn’t nearly as Christ-like as I wanted it to be. By opening the lines of communication with Jesus as I soaked in the tub, I was able to hear His voice and extend grace to my husband. Instead of resentment, I was able to put on humility. I got out of the bathtub, ignored my flesh, and asked my husband for forgiveness.

In doing so, I took one small step toward becoming more like Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV), “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

I wonder. Who is God trying to use in your life to make you more like Him? What difficult person are you avoiding? Who are you running from? Is there someone you despise that God is calling you to embrace? Who do you allow to push your buttons?

Go the Extra Mile:

When a person is squeezed, what’s on the inside comes out. The only way “ugly” will manifest in difficult times, is if it is already in you to begin with. Don’t be fooled. No other person can make you act unholy. Today why not move to a new level of holiness by inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit into your relationships through prayer? Rather than resisting God’s purpose, what if you asked Him to use the difficult people in your life to make you more like Him? Instead of pointing your finger at all that is wrong with others, invite Jesus in the middle of your mess and ask Him to change the only person you have the power to change… You.

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