Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Trust Me. It's not me.

When God woke me up a few year ago and invited me back to the Catholic Church, I accepted.  Instead of sleep-walking through an awful childhood catechism, I delved into learning about the Faith, which includes a lot of face-time with Jesus.

Praying is a conversation, whether you're using traditional prayers to help you express your thoughts or  you're stumbling through your own verbiage to tell Jesus what's in your heart.

The most difficult and rewarding aspect of prayer is the part where you close your mouth and listen to what God has to say. Prayer takes effort--not the kind of effort it takes to scrub the ring from the bathtub, but the kind of effort that comes with any deliberate act.

I wasn't shy about my relationship with God. It wasn't bragging but an expression of joy.

And that's when the comments started.

They were meant with the best intentions...usually. Sarcasm raised it's head, but for the most part, relatives would congratulate me on my "pipeline to God." I even received credit for leading people back to Him.

It really irritated me. 

I'd remind the speaker that the Holy Spirit is solely responsible for the conversion of hearts, but that has the same ring as when the actor accepts his Oscar and says, "I really couldn't have done it without the crew," and then everyone thinks the actor is talented AND humble.

Getting credit for a relationship with God is kind of like getting credit for having a piece of delicious wedding cake at a reception.  It's not as if I baked the cake, and it's available to everyone. Some people discovered the cake table before I did, and some will discover it long after I've eaten my slice. I'm not a better person because I snagged my piece before you noticed that industrious volunteers and cut up the confection and set it out.

As wonderful and unique as I think I am, God calls each and every on of His children into relationship with Him. It's difficult to hear over the noise of this world, but if you listen, the most exciting invitation you'll ever receive has already been delivered. It patiently waits among the worrisome bills and exciting announcements and newsletters filled with family drama and gossip. All you need to do is open it.

The irritation comes because the speaker has the same opportunity for prayer that I have, and by congratulating me on my "special" ability--as if I had a secret decoder ring that allowed me to interpret executive communiques--it seems they are copping out on making their own efforts.

It like a dieter who ruefully comments on your delicious piece of wedding cake. "You go on and enjoy that. I'm just happy you're happy." Except there aren't any benefits to this type of abstinence.

So the next time you're tempted to congratulate someone on their prayer life, why not cultivate your own relationship with God instead? Direct messaging guarantees that nothing will get lost in the translation.

Give in to the craving, bypass the fear of calories, and take the first step in snagging your own piece of wedding cake. It's beyond anything you've ever tasted, and the satisfaction lasts forever.


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