What am I doing wrong?

“What am I doing wrong? I’d do whatever it took for my life to look a certain way, to get what I want… if only I knew what it would take.” 

“You’re looking for a method to make life work. That’s the Old Way. Whatever method you choose becomes your master. You’ve served many masters in your lifetime, but your goal has remained constant. You want nothing more than the Better Life that your experience has taught you is desirable. That goal is your idol. It must be abandoned… Why do you pray?”

“Ask and you shall receive; cling to God and don’t let go until He blesses you; pester Him, if you must, to get a response; settle for no less than every blessing He has reserved for you.”

“That’s the Old Way. Prayer is not the Old Way. Your prayer is. Your desires are too weak. Small affections create idols, unworthy gods to whom you sacrifice your life. Your prayers are idol worship. You’ve been bound to your desire for the Better Life, which you define by your experience of pleasure and pain. I’ve come to show you the New Way that leads to the Better Hope.”

“I only want to do what’s right so I can enjoy God’s blessings. Is that so wrong? Why won’t you tell me what I must do?”

“You want to know what’s effective. You aren’t asking to know what is holy. Following the basic principles of what is effective can sometimes make your life more pleasant, but it can never fill your soul. It will never bring you into the Better Hope. Be careful never to claim promises He hasn’t made.”

– “The Pressure’s Off” by Larry Crabb

Father, it is both freeing and frustrating resting in this new truth you’ve revealed to me. 

That the Old Way is what I’ve been doing. Believing that A+B=C. When that’s never 100% been the case. 

Yes, there have been instances where that has been the equation. But it’s never been foolproof. 

You gave me one of the most precious blessings in the midst of my WORST season. You answered all my prayers about that blessing in the midst of my WORST heart. Nothing I did earned that blessing in the first place. 

And now, here I am, on a much better path and according to the Old Way, “deserving” of that blessing and more, and yet – they aren’t coming. 

I’m over here trying to analyze and interpret so that I can be in control. Instead of trusting that the One who is in control, has better things planned for me tomorrow than I can see today.

In my Old Way heart, I see my desire and I manipulate to get my way. I want to know what will get me my way. I want to know what I have to DO. What actions I must take. How I can be most effective in order to earn and validate myself before the Lord in order to prove He should give me what I want.

But that’s a lot of pressure. That Old Way requires I must get it right and be in charge of discerning and figuring out what is RIGHT. That I must be spiritual enough to hear your voice and get it right so that you will tell me exactly what I should do to earn your blessings.

But the New Way says You’re in control. The New Way says You’ve got it. The New Way says there’s nothing bad enough I could ever do to lose Your blessings, and there’s nothing good enough I could ever do to earn Your blessings. Your blessings are Your blessings because You are a good good Father to Your children.

Praying perfect prayers daily for hours on end for 60 years straight doesn’t guarantee me anything. I cannot force God’s hand to give me what I want. I cannot trick God into believing I am worthy enough. Because of Jesus’ blood and God’s grace on my life, I am already deemed worthy.

My desire to walk in righteousness and faith should be because I want to please my Heavenly Father, not because I want to earn the desires of my heart. Although being a better caretaker of a gift can be a direct result of my righteousness and faith, it does not guarantee me that blessing tomorrow.

That is both freeing and frustrating.

Will I stop praying? Absolutely not. Prayer and praise are how I fight my battles. But I think my heart will be more discerning of my motives – am I coming to you to prove I should get something? Or am I coming to you because I desire your presence?

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