Do you sometimes look around and wish for more?
Do you sometimes think, is this all there is?
Or wonder to yourself, so this is how it is going to be?
Does life sometimes seem more like a chore than joy?
I think we can answer yes to some of these questions, depending on the day and season we are currently mired in.
We sometimes forget that our sticky mess we are questioning, is really sacred ground.
Sticky messes and sacred ground?
Maybe you can relate to sticky messes.
Perhaps there are sticky spots all over your kitchen floor. Places where papers would naturally stay put without tape. Maybe you lost your left shoe this morning and it’s still where the sticky ooze first grabbed it.
But sacred ground?
Nothing sacred about this sticky ground, you think.
Let me ask you a question.
Are you in the middle of an answered prayer?
I don’t mean this morning’s prayer, I mean a prayer or desire from year’s ago.
Maybe from before you were a teen. Maybe after.
Did you once long to be a wife?
Did you once pray for a job?
Did you once yearn to be a mom?
Did you once dream about renting your own apartment? Moving out on your own?
Did you desire to have your first house?
Did you used to dream about being an adult who could do whatever they wanted and stay up as late as they wanted?
That’s my point.
Many of us are living smack dab in the middle of our answered prayers and dreams. Sacred ground is below us.
We longed for this, and now we are here. Only it seems much different than what we imagined. Harder than we thought it would be. And there are more responsibilities than we ever imagined.
Don’t worry, we have lots of company.
The children of Israel prayed for years to be free from the Egyptians. To be free from slavery. To have a different and better life for themselves and their children.
That day finally came. They walked out of Egypt with their heads high. They were free. Off to a new life. Their prayers were answered.
We don’t get very far into their story before their attitude changes. They begin whining about walking so far. They complained about the lack of water. Were dissatisfied with Moses. Wished they were back in Egypt eating leaks
When they imagined being free of Egypt, they never imagined they would be wandering for years in a sand pit and sleeping in a tent.
We can’t fault them for not reading the fine print. Because there was no fine print.
Their prayers were answered, sure not in the way they imagined they would be, and they grew unhappy.
Does this feel familiar?
We pray for employment. Imagining a job so wonderful there is no bad news to write home about. Then we get a job, only it doesn’t match the image we had pasted on our frontal cortex.
We pray for children. Maybe spend years trying to get pregnant. Never thinking of all the dippers and mid-night feedings and the worry and guilt that goes into raising a child.
We pray for a house. Then the roof leaks. The neighbors are unfriendly. The furnace quits one cold night.
We pray for a mate. Only to find marriage is not as easy as it looks. And he is not as perfect as we thought.
We pray for friends. A church. Healing. And the answer looks different than our request.
Reality overtakes our preconceived fantasy. It makes us question the here and now.
We forget our prayers were answered, because we now feel stuck in a mess, mired in problems, hip deep in sand and sticky places.
The reality may be that we are smack dab in the middle of answered prayers. Standing on sacred ground. But we have forgotten this, because it sure doesn’t feel like we are living our dreams.
Life gets hard. We feel unhappy and tired. Dissatisfied. We whine and complain. Feel sorry for our self. Because that is what we as humans do.
I used to think that if I was a child of Israel wandering in the desert tired and parched, I wouldn’t have whined. Baloney! I would have joined right in with them. Because of one simple reason. We humans are whiners. We think back to our shiny and perfect prayer or dream and then we look around at our current reality and we feel cheated.
Wait a second, we think. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask for imperfection.
Only we forget that we live in imperfection. There is no Garden of Edan. And reality never jives with the dream in our headspace.
How to reconcile our sticky messes with sacred ground and enjoy our answered prayers.
Life is always full of sticky messes next to sacred ground because we are human. Remembering that the two go hand in hand, can be helpful. Here are also some other tips that may help.
Hint: Trying to implement all of these tips leads to overwhelm. Choose one or two that will most help you right now. Or come up with your own.
1. Remind yourself that life is hard. Even with a husband. 2 children. A dream job. A house. A picket fence. And 1 dog. Sure, some parts are easier, and some parts are harder. But life ain’t never as easy as we want it to be or as we imagine it will be. There is a disconnect between our dream and reality. Understand this.
2. Life unfolds in seasons. It is always changing. We may get tired of being grabbed by little hands and answering their 1,452 questions a day, but one day they will be grown. What irritates us today, may one day be missed. Or what irritates us today, may naturally cease.
3. Things could always be worse. Sometimes I play this game with myself. I imagine things worse. Much worse than they currently are. Which makes me thankful that things are not worse. It helps me count my blessings and thank God for what I do have.
4. Find ways to enjoy life right now. Don’t delay fun. Have fun right where you are. It makes life easier and improves our attitude.
Maybe even go for crazy fun. Dance and sing in the kitchen. And when someone steps on the sticky goo left over from junior dumping a jar of honey on the floor, they get to choose the next song.
5. Toss perfection and almost perfect out the nearest door. It just trips you up and makes you desire what will never be. It’s also a kill joy.
6. Spot the positive. The negative is easier to spot, but it yields less rewards. Spotting the positive will lead to feeling better about where you are right now in your sticky mess and help you count your blessings.
7. See the eternal perspective. You are right where God has placed you. This life is never all about us. Or about a clean home or finding the most enjoyable job. Or about kids or pets that don’t embarrass us. It is about loving others, our self, and God.
8. Remember the prayers that God has already answered in your life. God recounted to the children of Israel over and over again the story of bringing them out of Egypt. Why? Maybe to remind them that he answered their prayers. That he was on their side and had taken care of them. And that they were living their answered prayers.
9. Find the humor in your life. You may have to wait awhile for showing up to your child’s doctor appointment on the wrong day to be funny. But one day, it just might be. Humor helps change our perspective and cheers us up.
10. Create a tribe of support. Friends you can talk to. Encourage one another. 2 are better than one.
You got this.
Now go enjoy your one and only life.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.
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Join the discussion: What answered prayer are you living? And what helps you remember to enjoy your answered prayers?