Monday, July 22, 2013

Gratitude and 2x4's

When I was going through RCIA,  my teacher would give us several prayer cards each class.  While I haven't really looked at many of them since I finished the class, there is one that I keep going back to over and over again...
Lord,
If what I seek be according to Your will, then let it come to pass and let success attend the outcome.  But if not, my God, let it not come to pass.  Do not leave me to my own devices, for You know how unwise I can be.  Keep me safe under Your protection, Lord my God, and in Your own gentle way guide me and rule me as You know best.
Amen
It seems to me that I, at least, tend to pray for what I want, rather than what God wants.  This prayer reminds me that I need to be looking for God's will in what is going on in my life rather than thinking of God as an ATM for my wants and needs.  Usually, when I pray it, the phrase, "Do not leave me to my own devices" tends to get emphasized, as I have moments of silliness, stupidity, and downright obtuseness.  I would be a total wreck if it were all up to me!!!  I'm afraid that I usually also add the phrase, "or not so gentle as the case may be" after "In Your own gentle way,"  as I am convinced that God has a 2x4 with my name on it (it might be a 4x8, considering how thick my skull can be at times.  It isn't like I actually see what He hits me with--I just feel its effects!), just so He can whack me across the back of my head and get my attention....The older I get, the better I get at listening to His still, small voice, but that doesn't mean that I'm good at it yet!!!

This past weekend is a case in point...I went on my first and only date since my divorce was final, and God used it to hit me upside the head and say, "WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING???"  No matter how many people have told me that I need to wait at least a year before I started dating, I didn't get it until this past weekend.  Some of this is the nature of my failed marriage, and the fact that it was never really good to begin with; some of it is that the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back happened 14 months ago; lastly, some of it is that my ex moved out 10 months ago, even though the divorce was not final until the beginning of last December.  Even so, actually going on a date made me realize how incredibly not ready I am for dating again.  I like the idea of dating, and I like the thought of finding true love, but that doesn't mean that I'm really ready for the reality.  Frankly, I'm enjoying the freedom of being single, even if it can be lonely occasionally. 

In the process, I have also come to realize that online dating really isn't for me.  I have too fertile of an imagination, and it is very easy to create a false sense of intimacy from the first stages of getting to know one another online.  I've cancelled my memberships and have decided that I will go with old fashioned, face-to-face dating when the time comes for me to try again.  In the interim, I will count my blessings, and contemplate the enormous gift that God has given me--namely time to heal. 

I also finally broke down and started another journal today.  Like I used to in college, I have chosen a theme for this journal, which is "gift."  So often, I look at the healing that I still need to do, or the deficits in my life, but I forget to be grateful for the blessings that my life is over-flowing with.  As I move closer to my Aug. 29th Camino departure date, I want to focus on those blessings and cultivate a sense of gratitude in my life....When I focus on the Good things God gives me, it is then that the most healing takes place.  More importantly,  when I show my gratitude for all that Christ has done in my life, it is then that I am most content and at peace, and it is when I am least likely to need a whack from God as an attitude check.  Lastly, I suspect that, when we are truly grateful, it is then that we are most in line with who God created us to be--we were created to Glorify Him, and we do that best when our hearts overflow with gratitude.

I doubt that God will destroy that 2x4 with my name burned into it any time soon, but at least my focusing on what I am grateful for will give it (and me, for that matter!!!) a much needed rest.  May we all think about the blessings we have in our lives and thank God for them.  What are YOU thankful for???

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