I got stuck again. For the last three years I have been using the same daily devotional for the advent season. The first five are about lament. About Zachariah and Elizabeth. About their barrenness and advanced age. About them walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. About them being righteous before God. About an angel appearing before them and assuring them that they will indeed have a son and he is to be named John. This is the child, the promise, that will go on as Jesus’ cousin, and be known as John the Baptist.
Scholars believe that Zechariah, as a priest was chosen to enter into the temple sanctuary, and had prayed many, many time for two things. First petition most likely included interceding for the nation of Israel and the second petition for a child.
For the past three advent seasons, I can’t seem to get beyond these particular days. It’s the lament that grabs me and holds onto me as though I was clinging for my life. It’s grip is hard and gentle all at the same time. So gentle, it has taken me three years to finally grasp what I feel the Lord saying to me. He is patient and has let me know that my lament in this is what he wants from me. He wants me to make known to him.
My lament usually comes when I am at my end. When I truly believe that I can no longer handle it. When I’m so sorrowfully and dowdy that I can’t seem to operate in life or anything really. When the consuming reality of my life is overflowing, I realized that I don’t like it. I don’t want it. I want something different. So, my intended lament becomes more of a pout. More of a whiney exacerbation of crap that has been let out without anything stopping it. Not really a true lament, just complaining.
What does God want from me?
He wants honesty. He wants truth. He wants what’s real in our hearts and in our minds. He wants to know where I stand with him. And truth be told, by doing all this, exposing ourselves like this, being vulnerable like this, we are showing him all he has created in us and created us to be. If we can’t be this raw and vulnerable with God, then how can we, how can I, expect to be truly real and vulnerable with other people.
My lament is about my desire for a family. A husband. Children. A home established to serve the Kingdom. A big table that has space for many to come to it. A table to share a meal and experience a glimpse of the community that Jesus experiences when he went and ate with people in their homes.
Instead of whining about it, or crying myself to sleep at night, my lament needs to be grown up. I need to put on my big girl pants on and approach God wholeheartedly. I need to approach the creator of the every intricacies of the vast universe with the mightiness that he has created me with. To be brave and lay it all out to him and for him. To pray the very dangerous prayers that will change my life.
Oh wait, I’ve done this before.
I have had a moment where I did strip all the gunk away and approach the throne with authenticity. I prayed to see people as Jesus sees them. To be aware of them. Not to judge a book by it’s cover, but to somewhat accurately know them on the smallest scale. To be able to discern the situation with some accuracy. And when I did that, it all became real. I took my ministry more serious. I started being able to meet people where they were. My heart started to ache for his people. I couldn’t just pass a homeless person on the street and not acknowledge that they to are heirs to the Kingdom. I couldn’t pass a drug dealer on the street and not see that they too are an heir to the kingdom, the exact same kingdom that I am an heir to. They too are children of God, knitted together in their mother’s womb, just as I am.
In these radical prayers, I found my heart tugging almost everyday. Thinking about things I never imagined that I would ever have a tought about. Taking actions on things that I never thought I would do. These radical prayers shaped my heart, shaped my life. They led me to make decision that was so in the face of what my norm was in life, that many people didn’t know how to take it.
So here I am. At a junction. Waiting to just simply make a decision. I can choose to continue being in neutral or I can just do it. I can decided to put my big girl pants on and expose my most inner being to the creator of the universe and take the risk that he will turn everything upside down. Or I can just stay. Just maintain the course I’m on.
I choose my big girl pants.