"Name It and Claim It"
I flew to Hawaii today with my husband to celebrate our marriage for 7 days here. That means a week of lots of writing, I expect, because one of the things Steven and I have to celebrate is that we both need huge doses of solitude, and neither of us needs huge doses of that cling-y kind of "couple time" that marks the expectations of newly-weds or those newly in love. So, while he sleeps, I will read and pray and write . . . and actually hope to major on the 1st 2 this week!
I have been thinking through all the scriptures on prayer, and also all the scriptures on jealousy and bickering and disharmony. An assignment for you, if you have inclination . . . take a look at the apostles' prescriptions for jealousy and dissension, and take a look at Jesus' words on the same. It is clear as can be!
If I have my focus on "His kingdom and His righteousness", and they are really first, then jealousy or dissension go straight to God and then straight to reconciliation. The "straight to God" piece is powerful, though! Ask for the things you want, so that your joy may be full! But don't ask to spend them on your own passions, but rather on His purposes for good for all of us.
So I am to go after what I want with full faith that He will give it to me if it fits His purposes for the Kingdom. And I can do that boldly, knowing that He will answer the real need: to give me what I ask for when that works for His plan, and to heal my perspective and desires when that is the first step toward giving me His abundant life.
How much of our jealousy and politics within a church are because I act to bring about my own agenda and to protect it against your agenda, and I'm jealous when your agenda seems to be succeeding and mine seems ignored? Or how much is based on a desire for affirmation that I'm just as . . . whatever (smart, devout, popular, powerful, valuable in service?) as are the people around me?
This is a gender thing again, too often. We seem to think that there is something un-feminine about owning your own agenda, praying for your own agenda, and then submitting to the real result as God and the community act. So we manipulate both God and the community (and often our own perceptions of a situation) to get what we're after and then grieve when we don't get it. But perhaps our agenda IS His best agenda, but we're being disobedient in how we go after it?
He says to ask for what you want with faith. He says to be persistent. He says God moves mountains.
So when I see a friend who is frustrated in our political and social life at St. Andrews, I am resolved to urge that woman to speak up for exactly what she wants, and to pray to that end. She may still not get what she asked for, but she will get the deeper request! God will be able to work to bring her to the place of real satisfaction as He works through her understanding her real motives and being honest with Him, us, and herself about what she's doing to get what she's really after.
Men have been trained to do that in our culture. Let's train us all to do that! It is honest and effective.
Jealousy and hurt feelings are a pointer toward what you really want. Ask for it! And go after it!
And then reconcile with your brother or sister, or with the community. Reconciliation will be full on the day when we all see His face, and it is in that light that we now can live in unity. He is TRUTH, and knowing that the truth about all our conflicts and emotions and various perspectives and agendas will be seen clearly "soon and very soon" puts today's reconciliation in a whole new light. My selfishness or anger or refusal to forgive or whatever else is wrong on my side will be seen clearly by all at some point -- even by me!! -- and all the hidden positive and negative stuff on their side will too -- by us both! -- and so I will do my best each day to truly be at peace with my brother.