Why I’m Grateful that I Couldn’t Stop Laughing

Can I just say, there is nothing better (maybe I’m slightly exaggerating) than having the time to sit down and write about something that started off so silly, but ended up being something really meaningful. Stay with me here folks, even though some of this may seem a bit off-kilter…

I was thinking back to this  particular memory early this morning (thank you, dog, for waking us up at 6AM ON A DAY OFF). My mind was jumping back to a time a couple years back when my (now) husband and I were sitting down to dinner on a Monday night. As we typically do, before we started the meal, we joined hands and proceeded to begin to pray the common table prayer to ask God to bless our food and our lives. Now, I can’t quite pinpoint what had been going on before dinner, but apparently I was in a…”cheery” mood that evening. And by “cheery”, I mean “prone to continuous laughter”.

That evening, as we began to come before the Lord in prayer, I LOST it. Seriously guys, I had no idea what got into me, but I could NOT stop laughing. We had to start over multiple times, and I couldn’t even get through the prayer. I was literally like a child.  How crazy does that sound?!

It had absolutely nothing to do with the prayer itself (I’m not making fun of Christianity here, calm down now!), but whatever it was, I could not control myself, even enough to get through a 15 second prayer. Finally, I just had to ask hubs to pray for us as I tried to stifle my laughter (my laughter from a completely unknown source).

After this all happened and I finally settled down, I felt absolutely terrible. How dare I come before the Lord and not be able to control my silliness enough to meditate on him before I eat? I felt like such a failure as a Christian, and someone that couldn’t be taken seriously after that.

And it doesn’t stop there. In the months following this horrendous incident, whenever we’d pray the common table prayer together, I had to stop myself from laughing due to the reminder of the uncontrollable silliness I had that evening.

Sincerely, even as I’m reading this, a smirk comes on my face, and I have absolutely no idea why!

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It was probably something funny that happened before dinner on that dreadful day (yes indeed) that I couldn’t get out of my head, and it seeped into our prayer time. As I’m reading this over in my head, how silly it truly all seems.

However: there is a part of me that is thankful for this.

Now, I don’t know if that makes me an icky person, that I would be thankful for the fact that I could barely stifle my laughter as I came before the Lord in prayer. But here’s the ever-so-clever way that God seems to work.

After that unfortunate event (and in order to not repeat this), I began asking hubs to pray for us, and not the common table prayer, but a personal impromptu prayer. Then, after that, I began to pray for us in a free-flowing way that was not a pre-set prayer. And for a while there, we were to the point where we barely said the common table prayer anymore! I have nothing against the common table prayer (even as much of this post may beg to differ), or any other prayers that have been memorized and repeated numerous times. But something I got out of this was that it is healthy and joyful to pray out-loud off of the top of your head. I know I happen to be one of those people that tends to fall into the old saying of “going through the motions” when something seems too familiar and routine to me. In this way, I opted to pray in a manner where I was fully engaged and focused on HIM during my prayer, not zoning out and mindlessly repeating words that I have said thousands of times. I honestly feel that this mishap was the start of my emphasis on intentional prayer. 

I recognize this is something I need to get back to-which is possibly why this popped into my head at dark-o-thirty this morning. (We love our dog, we do, but good grief, my loves).

What an absolute absurd and round-about way to come to this emphasis. However, God meets us where we are at and speaks to us in way that tends to impact us personally. For whatever reason, this opened up my eyes to my desire to be intentional about my intimate prayers with my Savior. Not only that, but it also reminded me of the blessing that comes from engaging in prayer with my partner in a way where we are both acting diligently and personally with our personal God. God reminds us, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12. Now, out-loud impromptu prayers is one of my goals to continue to implement!

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There is something so special about being able to be informal (yet respectful) with our personal God. And the added bonus that he hears our prayers anywhere, anytime, provides the extra assurance that nothing we say to the Lord falls on deaf ears. Psalm 6:9 states “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Whether his answer is “yes”, “no”, or “wait, my child”, we can live in full confidence that the Lord will always continue to hear our prayers.

Stay tuned,

-AF

What Will I Wear: Not Your Typical Clothing Post

Hello my adventure-seeking, coffee-drinking folk! (Haha, you knew that last part was going to wind up in here somehow!)

Sometimes I listen to podcasts. Sometimes I don’t. Simple as that. As I was leaving my Weight Watchers meeting this morning (holla!), I was thinking back to one of the podcasts that have stood out in my mind, and in which I’ve gotten constant reminders through lately. I had listened to one of Andy Stanley’s podcast series (LOVE. Download the app “Yourmove” and be amazed). The series I had engaged in at that time was entitled “Follow”-talking about being deliberate in your personal relationship with Christ. I was a little disappointed in the title of the episode in the series that I’m referencing: “Follow Wear”. Um, hello? Typo? Are we really going to talk about how to dress appropriately for the next 30 minutes? Sigh.

But then, once Andy had roped us in, he planted such a cool thought in my mind and heart that I simply just had to share with you.

When we think about wearing something, we think about it covering our body (hopefully most of it!) and truly embodying what we are wearing, almost to the point that it becomes part of us, and becomes what people may notice about us as we begin to approach them.

But have we ever thought about “wearing” or “putting on” a virtue?

Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people (can we just pause for a second and take that in? Chosen people! God chose you and me!), holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” –Col. 3:12-15

 Seriously guys, I was so inspired by this that I could go on about this all day, but I will try to keep it manageable to read.

“Putting on” or “clothing yourself” with these virtues is not simply being aware of what this looks like, but truly choosing and embodying these elements of loving others, ourselves, and Christ. I just wanna break this down for ya’ll (and for my own reflection!):

  • Compassion: giving off that you feel what the other person is feeling, engaging in empathy regardless of the fact that they didn’t make a good choice, didn’t listen to you the first 8 times, no matter.
  • Kindness: loaning your strength to someone else. WOAH! You extend of yourself to do something someone else needs. Doing something you didn’t have to do through loaning your capacity.
  • Humility: When in relationship to other people, seeing yourself as you really are in relationship to others and to God. Exuding that truth that God loves you truly as much as all his children, and that we are not above anyone.
  • Gentleness: the decision (decision!) to respond to someone in light of their strengths and weakness rather than coming to someone with your strength. Adjusting our approach in accordance to who we are trying to reach. Gentle people don’t maintain relationships in a position of “how great they are” or “what they’ve done”. They gear down to the level of the person in order to communicate that the relationship is more important than exuding your own capacity. This involves no leverage of our own or condescension, but rather truly valuing the other person’s abilities above our own.
  • Patience: deciding (again!) to go the speed of another person. Putting someone else’s pace ahead of your own.

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Paul states “ this is how I want you to be known”! And above all else, put on love as an umbrella that truly ties all these virtues together, the common denominator of all these approaches. We have to truly make a decision to put these on and embody these each and every day through the strength of Christ. Every day we have to remind ourselves to put these on, because Jesus wants people to identify us as his followers by the way we treat other people.

I think about all the times that God has put on these virtues for me: patience in the amount of times I have broken my promises to him, forgiveness when I truly didn’t deserve it, the list goes on and on. Paul is explaining that God desires us, when in relationship with others, to put on these virtues just as he has done or us. Now, that’s a tall order. But when I think about these virtues in this light and how Christ has done this again and again for me, it creates so much more urgency to extend in this same manner.

Same as I decide each morning what I will wear for the day (wouldn’t life be oh-so-awesome if we could just live in yoga pants?), I also need to deliberately and intentionally choose to put on these virtues each day. I already know in my heart I will fail so many times. But that’s when God’s grace steps in, where he covers me with love and abundance through the promise of his sanctification. As well as providing me with Christ-loving sisters to keep me in check 😉

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How have you put these virtues on today? I would love to hear and find inspiration in you all.

 

Stay tuned,

-AF