Saturday, June 28, 2014

Strike Up a Conversation Today

I really hate constantly spewing weird confessions about myself out into cyberspace.

But here comes another one.

When I'm talking to a friend or a coworker, I often get all nervous and start to trip over my words or stammer or rush my words together unintelligibly.  Sometimes spittle is involved. Over the course of these many years, I've figured out that it's because I'm subconsciously thinking to myself, "I better hurry up and make my point before this person gets bored with me." I guess there's a shy school girl still lurking somewhere inside me worrying that what I have to say is not worthy of another person's time. At her prodding, I rush, end up sounding like an idiot and never manage to make that point.

Maybe you can't relate to that feeling of being weird, awkward and shy. You're probably poised, eloquent and brimming over with healthy self-esteem.  That's great.  No, really, I'm thrilled for you.

Perhaps you can relate more to this situation. Have you ever been perched on the exam table at the doctor's office and felt like maybe you'd better knock a couple questions off your list because the doctor seems to be getting a little antsy? Or felt like the doctor thought your concerns were laughable? Today, I horrify friends and family with a wrist that cracks every time I rotate it because over twenty years ago some rude doctor scoffed at my suspicion that I had carpal tunnel syndrome. After he dismissed my symptoms, I was too embarrassed to mention it to any other doctor.

What's that you say?  Nothing like that has ever happened to you? 

Well, of course, I'm genuinely relieved to learn that your physician is enraptured by your fascinating recitation of ailments and pleads to hear more. It seems your splendid good fortune has rendered my humble blog post quite unnecessary. (Sorry, reading a Regency murder mystery.)

What I was going to say is that, if by any chance you could relate to sometimes feeling that your conversation might not be worthy of people's time, or that others find your concerns laughable (or maybe even that your readers don't seem to empathize with you) there is Someone who has plenty of time and concern and empathy to lavish on you. 

God doesn't have a schedule that requires Him to cut your session short. You don't have to rush to blurt out everything you want to say before He has to rush off to his next appointment. He has all the time you need. Psalm 46:1 assures us that, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." He is always there to listen.

And when you stumble over your words in prayer or otherwise have trouble expressing yourself to Him, you can relax and just rest in the knowledge that, "your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8 NIV)

An occasional rude doctor might walk away from you rolling his eyes, but God pursues you with joy. The Bible is full of beautiful metaphors illustrating how God chases after us, like a shepherd after a lost lamb, a loving father after a rebellious son, a forgiving husband after an unfaithful wife. He is not willing for even one person to miss out on a relationship with him. Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

You are precious to Him! Psalm 139:13-14 expresses how He has known you and loved you since before your mother started researching baby names. "For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  His works are wonderful! That's you! 

You can vent to Him, cry to Him, confess your darkness secrets to Him. You can be honest with Him about your frustrations, your feelings, your failures and sins. He already knows the worst, even the stuff you try to hide from yourself, and He still loves you. (Psalm 139:1-4)

Wait! Wait! Don't walk away! I'm almost finished talking, I promise!

On those awful days, when you feel that no one can know how you feel or understand what you're going through, you can know for sure that God does understand and He hurts with you. In Psalm 31:7, the writer says to God, "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul."

So that's what I was going to say. God is there for you always and wants to hear from you. You can relax, open your heart to him and be your genuine, imperfect self with Him without fear of rejection. "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Thank you for staying with me to the end. I am sorry if, in my rush, I got spittle on your computer screen. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests,
to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                                            Philippians 4:6-7

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Do be nice to everyone.