Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Orienting My Heart

What I wanted more than anything my junior and senior year of high school was a computer of my own. After a wiped hard drive my sophomore year, I had trust issues with our family computer. I wished to write my papers in the solace of my room without anybody asking me if they could get on to put music on their iPod or check their email. I set about constantly dropping hints to my parents about exactly what I wanted. It was the Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun of my own life, the Apple MacBook. From our conversations, it seemed that my parents were all aboard for me getting it. I told them I was willing to sacrifice Christmas, graduation, my birthday, whatever it took to get exactly what I knew I wanted.

Christmas morning I shot out of bed, ready to see if my wish had come true. I found a couple of small wrapped presents under the tree and some stocking stuffers, but certainly nothing the size of a MacBook hiding beneath the branches. As William proceeded to open his gifts, I silently rehearsed the reserved and noncommittal tone in which I would receive my Christmas presents. I refused to allow myself to be crushed that I didn't get what I had asked for. After all, it wasn't that my life was in any way lacking or that I was deprived because I didn't get what I asked for.

Seriously, this is the picture I got on the Christmas tree
I opened my gifts and thanked my parents, still repressing any moodiness I may have been feeling inside. I knew what I was asking for was a lot. I had the freedom to ask, but my parents also had the freedom to say no. My dad looks to my mom and mentions as an afterthought, "Oh, there's one more on the back of the tree." No, they didn't hang my MacBook as an ornament. It was a slip of paper... with a photo of an Apple 13" MacBook Pro and a note telling me we'd be visiting the Apple Store to pick it up in a couple days time. Not only did my parents give to me what I had asked for, they gave me something that better than what I asked for.

You're probably wondering what the heck this story has to do with myself today. It's not anywhere near Christmas and I'm writing this on the library's computer on my lunch break because my MacBook is at home in my bedroom.

Looking back on entries from my prayer journal months and years ago, I can clearly see the specific desires that have been set on my heart. In the same way of telling my parents exactly what it was that I wanted for Christmas, I have laid out for the Lord what is on my heart. At one point, I feared that if I told the Lord what it was I wanted, He would say, "Well, that's awesome. Give that all to me. Thanks, now I'm giving you the opposite. You can have a Windows laptop." But Jesus tells us in Luke 11, "What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? (Or a Windows laptop when she asks for a MacBook?) If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” If my parents have exceeded my expectations, then how much more can I expect the Lord to hear my desires and give what it is good. That does not mean that He has an obligation to give any of it to me. I constantly remind myself that all is gift. But I can trust that the more I orient myself towards the Lord, the more my desires will align to His own for my life. What I receive may be in pieces and the timing may not be my own, but the gift of the life He has chosen is more than my desires can possibly begin to comprehend.

Here's a couple more thoughts from some journal entries over the last couple of months on this topic:
And now, here I am left waiting. For what? Only the Lord can know what is in store, but I can with greater confidence submit myself to small, daily fiats. "Let it be done to me according to Your word." There is so much anticipation in my hear to get this party started, but I know that His timing and will are so much greater than my own.
The hard part isn't telling Him my desires, but giving Him the power to do what He wills. But doing so has only provided fruit. How much more must He do to prove that He only desires goodness for me? ...How much more do I need to see the love He has for me and the good He wills for my life?
Will I trust that He will provide for me a hundredfold if I give my desires to Him? ... I think if I knew the whole plan and could see the Lord's itinerary for my life, I would run away. I wouldn't understand, and I couldn't understand. "Know the Lord is God, He made us, we belong to Him, we are his people, the flock he shepherds."
"Surprised by joy" ... The Lord has willed my life this far. And I'm accepting the joy that comes with the surprise. God has poured out His goodness on me and reassured me over and over that He wills my good-- He desires good for me. And all I can reply with today is: "God, you have been good to me."
I continue to look back on this last year and see how the more I align myself with the Lord, the louder the whisper grows. And as I begin to follow that whisper more and more, I continue to be surprised at the goodness in store for my life. I just want to leave off with a simple prayer that I wrote in January asking for Blessed Mother's help in orienting my heart to Jesus:
Great, bright Morning Star, guide my ship, point me to the Northern shore, that I may understand where it is He leads me.

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