Mike's Life

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Tag: Finding Faith

Some things need no prayer

I am currently reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. Just finished chapter 2. The book, to this point, has offered ideas at how to follow the Holy Sprit’s lead in our lives. In chapter 2 the author talks about believing that there are some things that need no prayer, and other things that we can stop praying about. He explains that in discovering our “God-ordained passion”, prayer is certainly vital but that at some point we need to quit praying and start doing. I agree with that. At the end of chapter 2 he asks the reader: “What do you need to stop praying about, and what do you need to start doing?” So, I asked myself the question and my first thought was that I need to stop praying for strength and just be strong. A little too visceral of an answer I think, not that my initial thought was wrong. Not at all. I feel there is definitely something valid about that, I just need to go deeper with it. Unfortunately, it is the “going deeper” part that makes my brain hurt. Okay… think, think, think… “stop praying for strength and just be strong”. Yea, I think can live with that answer for now. Discussing this at our Band of Brothers group tonight helped me see through the soup. I often have to verbalize before I gain clarity. Talk it out. I really need to follow that advice because I have had so many “ah-ha” moments when I speak the words and hear the words. Not sure why it makes such a difference. It’s the synaptical wiring or something. Anyhow, back to “seeing through the soup” – talking about it helped the sediment to clear away and allowed me to see it differently. I need to stop praying for strength because I have strength, I’ve shown strength, I’ve been strong, I’ve bent, I’ve twisted, I’ve been down, but I’ve never broken. God has seen to it that I haven’t broken. It is like Aesop’s fable about the oak and the reeds. The story says that the mighty oak stood tall, proud, and strong (and alone) and proclaimed: “No storm can break me, but look at you reeds down there, bending over at the slightest wind, twisting and flopping all over the place. You are not strong.” The reeds responded to the oak simply: “Someday you will learn.” Someday did come. It was a day in which a fierce storm came. A storm not just with forceful gusts but a storm with sustained strong winds and exceptional gusts. The oak did stand tall and strong, at first, but then his roots were pulled violently from the earth by the storm’s fury and down he came, crashing alongside the graceful reeds. The reeds looked at the oak, broken and dying: “You see”, they said, “you stood strong and proud, refusing to bend, but that very refusal is what has killed you. We survived, however, and flourish still because our strength is that we do bend.”  The reeds continued: ” The winds were indeed fierce, but today those storms have receded, and as the morning breaks across the land we rejoice, for now we are even stronger.” So, I am saying that instead of praying for strength, I need to use my strength, act on my strength, enjoy my strenth, and love my strength. I need to pray for God to help me apply my strength, and even then I might not need to pray on it for very long. I realize now that in knowing where my strength is, I know that my passion lies nearby. And in defining my passion, I’ll also discover my God-ordained calling. THAT is what I need to pray on.

God, my sovereign Father, I pray to you now and give thanks that you have blessed me with incredible strength. God, I know that I am strong, and I ask for guidance and discernment to help me live my life with that strength, and by your design, and to be filled with the passion you have crafted just for me. I pray to be so filled with that passion that it pours out of me and into the world around me. I pray that the passion you have gifted to me can be my map, and I open all of myself to you Lord so that you may work in me, and through me. I pray to you now that my God-ordained passion, my calling, my path, will be lighted by you. I know that my strength is growing, and that my love is growing,  and I know, regardless of  how clearly I see it, that I am truly on that path right now – I am so incredibly thankful for that.   Amen.

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You

I crave –

to be righted,

to be lighted.

I desire –

to feel the safety of Your love,

to be warmed from You above.

I am –

sometimes weak, sometimes strong,

often struggling to belong.

Now I know that all along –

YOU –

You have been with me,

and You surround me,

and now I feel you all around me.

Finally, I know now that

You are in me.

    ~ Thank you God

MMG 04/07/09

Light Me

God – I’d like to ask if you know,

why my growth seems so slow?

Am I in your sight?

Why God, do I feel so slight?

Where is my path?

What’s the deal?

Could you brighten my road

to help me feel real?

           ~ Thank you God.

MMG 04/08/09

Pandora Radio gave music back to me

Pandora Radio Gave Music Back To Me

Music has played an important role in my life. Music was an early connector in the relationship between me and my wife (R.E.M. and many others). The power of music helped lead us to accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s hard to beat that! We currently enjoy a lot of Christian music but our musical tastes flow in almost every direction. My wife Beth was actually in a band at one time (you’ll have to talk to her about that!), while I failed out of piano lessons at age 7. Last summer I bought an old guitar at a neighborhood garage sale. It has been a goal of mine, or maybe more of a dream, to learn to play for over 15 years.  It was actually a questionable decision at the time to plop down the relative few dollars that the old thing cost. I had zero energy to haggle on the price. Anyhow, I would have been haggling based on the money I had (or didn’t have) in my bank account and not based on what I thought it was worth. I knew enough to know that it had probably been a nice guitar in its day. I’d rather have a beaten down well made guitar than a cheaply made and cheaply priced piece of junk. I thought about it as I wandered around the driveway for 20 minutes looking at all the other stuff the older couple had on display; old tools, used fishing gear, refurbished snow blowers, and an old red fire-fighter’s axe that was owned long ago by the man’s father. Certainly there have been times during the past decade where I could have afforded a nicer guitar had I chosen to learn to play then. Back then, however, I didn’t make time for things like learning to play music, writing, art, or even reading for pleasure. Being unemployed, like I was then, and like I am now, has changed things for me. So, feeling  just a little like when in the past I’d made a spontaneous purchase on the newest techno-gadget, I bought the thing. The odd thing was that, although the guitar cost about 20 bucks, and the tech-gadgets were in the hundreds of dollars, the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach was about the same. It is all relative, I suppose. I need not have felt guilty about buying the guitar though. It was a good buy, and for a good reason, and it would provide a mental health benefit as well. As it turned out, the thing broke about 10 days after I got it. It lasted just long enough for the desire to learn to play start to burn inside me. Well, this certainly created a convenient opporunity (excuse) to buy an inexpensive (but decent) new one. Learning to play has been very slow going, although I am still going, and intend to keep going.

Pandora Radio single-handedly brought music back to relevance in my life. I think Beth would share equally strong sentiment about Pandora. After our children were born music took several steps backward on the priority-meter. Music never leaves you, thankfully, but for 5 or 6 years we did not explore new music or listen to much of our existing collection. Between 2001 and 2007 all the sounds emanating from our speakers came from “Baby Einstein”, “Blues Clues”,”Dora The Explorer”, and any number of Walt Disney films. Pandora woke us back up to the beauty of music and to the vital role that music has played in our lives. Our children, ages 5 & 8, love music and already have their own separate musical tastes. 

Some of the great artists Beth and I have discovered through Pandora are Eva Cassidy, Josh Rouse, Snow Patrol, Missy Higgins, Say Hi (To Your Mom), Ben Harper, Jose Gonzalez, Janove Ottesen, Vienna Teng, Iron and Wine, Allison Crowe, Nickel Creek, Pierce and E.J. Maggi, The Decemberists, and many others.

What sounds best right now, is to go listen to my Eva Cassidy playlist on YouTube. Am I ever plugged in!

Much of the information contained in this post comes from my Pandora Radio profile. You can view our full Pandora profile and all of our bookmarked music at http://www.pandora.com/people/trueleader04