Are You Texting God?

Have you ever texted God?

You know, when you send up a quick prayer in the middle of something else, like you’d text a friend.

“Hey, God, I can’t find my keys and we have to leave in 5 minutes.  Please give me clarity!!” 

“God, You are so good!! Thank you!!” 

“How do I reach this person?  Lead my words please, Holy Spirit.”

“Please heal [friend who is sick] and give them your peace during this time.”

Recently, I’ve realized that this has become the bulk of my prayer life, which I’m not OK with.

Why? (you might ask)

Have you ever met a friend at a camp, vacation, or other short-term experience?  You get close to them, exchange numbers, and promise to keep in touch. But how often does your relationship stay that close or get better? Not very often, at least in my experience.  Some friendships are close enough or evenly-enthusiastic (where both of you desperately want to talk to each other) to stay close, but it’s always a different dynamic over text. You can’t help it!

In my experience, when you have a solely text-based relationship, it deteriorates. 

Example: I have/had two very close friends from camp this summer, one I text, one I email.  The email relationship “lasted” longer, as in, we talked more, and more frequently, than my texting friend, but it still was less fulfilling than talking in person, and we’ve drifted apart by virtue of busy schedules and other important things.  My texting friend is a lovely person, one of my favorite people I’ve ever met, but we have different lives!  If we hung out in person, I know we’d reconnect really well, but it’s just not the same over text.

But when you spend quality time with your friend, even when that’s just hanging out after church because your moms are talking (this never happens to me 🙂 ), you get a feel for their tone, their personality, and their character. You invest in the relationship in an almost tangible manner, and that counts immensely.  (Also, as a physical touch person, being able to interact physically (waving, hugging, smiling, making eye contact, hearing actual laughter, and pretending (or not) to hit them when they’re teasing you) is huge.)

(wow, a three-deep parentheses nest! … I’m not sure I should be proud of that, lol)

This applies to our relationship with God tremendously. 

When the only contact we have with God is over text, we lose the personal connection we had with Him whenever we last (first) truly connected with Him, whether it be at church, church camp, or in a middle-of-the-night prayer session.

In the Psalms (I’m mainly thinking about 119, but there are definitely a lot of others), David raves about his joy in God’s commands, how they direct his life in blatant ways, how they give him a reason to live, and how God is really incredible (but that’s obviously a huge understatement).  He sounds like me when I talk with my friends about a close friend who we all think is awesome and are just really thankful for.

But do you know how we got to know that really awesome friend? BY SPENDING TIME WITH THEM.

We have to have “face to face” talks with God to really keep the beauty of our relationship with Him alive.  This usually works best in a private place, though I’ve had some intense prayer arguments with God that left me in tears at His goodness in a group setting. 🙂 Setting aside time for, well, anything is something I struggle with, but it’s so important that I can’t afford to let it slip away from me. 

This is my resolution. To stop letting other “priorities” in my busy high school lifestyle get in my way of my time with God. Texting Him needs to be a supplement to our awesome recurring “face to face” conversations.

Sydney

Giving vs Getting

It always feels good to receive good things, doesn’t it?  Help with some hard things, hugs, money, wise counsel, birthday presents, etc. are all exciting things to get.

But have you ever experienced the joy of giving those things?

Giving someone money isn’t always the easiest thing financially, but seeing their joy when they are able to buy something they need or maybe just want is priceless.

Giving (and receiving) wise counsel bonds you with the person on the other end.  I received some amazing advice this summer from a friend I trusted, and I gave some good (I hope) advice to a couple different campers.  When you have serious talks about serious things that directly relate to someone’s life, you get to learn more about the person’s heart and thought process, bonding you with them in a very unique way.

When I need help, I don’t struggle with letting people help me because I think I’ll look stupid.  Instead, I freely accept their assistance and thank them profusely for their help while smiling hugely because I did need the help!  I often want to become better friends with those who go out of their way to help me, especially if I don’t know them very well.

But giving help is something I’m not very good at, simply because I don’t see the opportunities around me easily.  Some people have a gift of sensitivity to the needs of others around them, but I really have to work at it.  So, usually, by the time I realize someone needed help, someone else has already taken care of it.  But, the few times that I’ve been able to help someone by carrying something for them, opening a door, explaining a math problem to them, etc., it has been extremely rewarding to hear them thank me or see them smile.  Doing or saying something that brightens at least one person’s day a day is a goal I read somewhere that I really try to strive for.  Being the light, you know?

I hope this inspires you to get out of your comfort zone and give something to someone, whether it be your time, effort, money, or kind words. 🙂

-Sydney

God Teaches Through Trials

The date was July 28th, 2007, the place was Florida.  The food? Chocolate-covered strawberries, highest of all on the Best Food Chart to a newly-turned seven year old on her birthday.  Four of my friends came over, and I was given some awesome presents, one or two of which I still have today.  We had a slip-n-slide, a water balloon toss, and pin the tail on the donkey.  I was a joyously contented little girl having the BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER.

But looking back, there is a smidgen of sadness associated with that birthday.  A little dab of regret that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it.  It was the last birthday that I had before I experienced a consequence of sin that wasn’t my own.  You see, lots of things happened during my 8th year on this earth.  Things that I wasn’t responsible for, but things that shaped the course of my life.

My parents got divorced and we moved about 15 minutes away from my dad.  My sister and I still saw him a lot more than most kids would in that situation, but it couldn’t compare to seeing him everyday when he came home from work.

Flashback:
Before the divorce my mom, little sister, and I went to OH without my Dad for about a week and I missed him a lot.  I was probably 5-6 years old and it was the longest I had been without him.  When we got back to FL we were standing in the airport looking for him when we saw him step out of an elevator down a hallway carrying what looked like to me giant carrots.  They turned out to be inflated balloon flowers, but I still remember that sight and the joy I felt when I saw him.  My daddy.

  • Before the divorce I would wake up in my room and think about that scene, start crying (because I remembered how much I missed him) and run into his room, wake him up, and cuddle with him until stopped crying and felt better.  It was such a relief for me to know that he was there, not a thousand miles away, and that he was holding me and wouldn’t let go.  This happened relatively often I think, at least to my memory, and I can’t remember him ever being upset that I woke him up at whatever unholy hour it was. 🙂
  • After the divorce I couldn’t go and cuddle with him.  I would lie in my bed and cry and cry and cry into my pillow, trying not to wake up my sister/roomy.  I missed him so much.  This would happen in the middle of the night, I would have dreams about it, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I was a generally cheerful child, but the separation from him was so hard.

When I was 7 I never thought that things would change.  I thought that I’d grow up and stuff, but nothing drastic.  I now count divorce as drastic, and see how naive I was.  It shaped my childhood.  Made me aware of some consequences of sin in this world a little sooner than I should have.
But, you see, God worked in me through it. I grew to know the God of creation as my heavenly Father.  The one who would always be there for me to cry to when my earthly father couldn’t, though he wanted to desperately.

I can’t remember where I read this analogy about prayer, but it was like this; we enter God’s throne room and fall on our knees before Him in humility, knowing we don’t deserve to be there, yet he scoops us up into his arms and sits us on His lap, cradling us tenderly as the little children we are, as we pour out our hearts, even the trivial things to Him.  And he listens, he hurts for us, he knows the desires of our heart, and he acts on it.  Sometimes he knows that what we want isn’t good for us, (like Adam crying because we won’t let him stick his hands into electrical sockets) but other times he just wants us to wait on him and trust him.  I’ve seen it time and time and time again!
God. Knows. What. He’s. Doing.  

Sometimes it’s rough being one of the only divorced families in our circle of friends, but I see what God is doing in my heart, and I think I’d rather have that than be father from God in a perfect family.

As I write this, I’m listening to dc Talk’s Free At Last album, and Free At Last just played, and it feels like God’s way of reassuring me that the “yoke that I was totin’ has been taken away” and that I don’t have to carry the burden of my parents’ divorce anymore, but give it to him.  I thank him for his freedom and peace that he gives to those who surrender themselves to him.

If you’re seriously curious about my past
Well I was once lost but I’m free at last!

-dc Talk , Free at Last

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