If there is one thing that I've learned from this life it is the importance of praying dangerously.
It is one of my favorite things about being in a relationship with God - I pray dangerously. He answers.
And it's quite thrilling. I highly reccomend it to y'all.
So, when did this all begin?
2 years ago, during the last week of my freshman year of college,
I prayed a wild rambling prayer that went a little like this:
"Lord, everything in my life is going pretty great right now.
I've got this great boyfriend (sitting right next to me), I go to this great college, I have a great family, I've got great friends, I now have this great church - Life is pretty dang great right now...
but I for some reason I want M O R E.
Something is still missing. Something is still not quite right.
God, I feel like I don't really know you.
I know about you and I know I've definitely felt your presence numerous times,
but I still don't feel like I really know you.
All these years I thought I did, but honestly, I don't feel like I know you intimately.
I don't know you like I want to know you.
I want to fall in love with you - madly & deeply.
I want to completely depend on you - like my life depended on it (which it legitimately does haha).
I want to live my life for you.
I want to become more like you - mind, body & soul.
Break me down if you need to.
Make things harder or more uncomfortable if need be.
Strip me of the things that separate me from you.
Take it all.
I just want to know you.
Rumor has it, you are a God who is in the business of transforming lives.
That you take broken things and make them beautiful.
That you take ordinary and inadequate people and let them be apart of extraordinary and mighty work.
I heard that you are a God that can "make things new" - that you can give me a new heart and a new life.
Is that true? If so, do it, Lord. Change me. Have your way with me. Do whatever it takes to get me to grow and mature into the person you carefully designed me.
So, God, take this summer and do your thing. I'm all in. "
That summer, God answered that dangerous prayer.
Oh boy did he answer it.
That summer was the hardest summer of my life.
All the nitty gritty crazy happenings of that summer struggle is a story for some other time ;)
But just believe me when I say, it was one of those summers when, pardon my french, but $&#! just hit the fan -- in every area of my life -- ranging from my love life to family life.
It was the summer of heartbreak -- break ups, deaths, chaos at home, ect.
That summer I got nothing that I wanted, but everything that I needed.
That summer, when things got tough, I remember getting into my car and just going for these long drives.
While driving I would literally talk out loud to God like he was riding shot gun in my passenger seat.
Some drives I would just ramble on and on to this "invisible" God.
Some drives I would just shut up, wait and listen for this "voiceless" God to speak to me.
And during those long drives, I experienced God like never before.
God taught me so many things during those drives - lessons I'll never forget.
I'll share one with y'all:
Sometimes God strips us of certain things and certain people to show us that all we really need is Him.
This isn't God punishing us - not even in the slightest.
In fact, it's quite the opposite.
These are the times we get to experience God's love for us in the most raw, real & rare form.
Sometimes it is in our darkest days, months or years,
when you swear things are quickly and dangerously approaching "rock bottem",
where we're desperately waiting for somebody or something to just come save us,
that we get to experience something truly out of this world - God.
God shows up.
He comes to the rescue.
He saves us.
Like a loving father who sees that his kid's life is danger,
he comes running.
He hears my crys, he sees my brokenness, he understands my pain.
And he says, "That's my girl. That's my daughter that I love. "
He sees how hard I try to handle my heart.
And he sees how bad I try to handle all the heartache and pain by myself.
And like the greatest and most loving father,
he saves me from it all.
He tells me to take a step closer to him.
He tells me to rest my head on his shoulder and just cry.
And as I cry out to him in the ugliest, messiest and most childish way,
he does something unexplicably beautiful.
He heals me.
Like King David, who cried out to Him in his fears, disappointments, and sin,
"It's ok to cry my dear one. I don't expect you to pretend that pain is not real.
It is truth and tears that will give you the freedom that I want to know you.
Now let go of that part of your heart that only I can heal.
I'm even greater than your earthly dad,
and I can do things that even the greatest of fathers could never do,
so let me, your heavenly father, hold you while you cry.
I got you."
This is our God.
And this is just a mere glimpse of his love for us.
God's insane invisible, intangible, and inexplicable love for us.
How lucky are we?
That we get full acess to the God of the Universe.
And we don't even have to earn it or do a single thing.
And that we get the chance to call him our "father" or "dad".
And that we get the amazing opportunity to be loved by him and just dwell in his presence.
It's the most amazing thing.
We get all of that.
And what does he ask of us?
That we just accept it.
It is the world's greatest gift.
And it is also the most taken for granted.
And for years,
I downplayed the greatness of this gift.
I passed up the gift.
I said, "Thanks God. But no thanks. I got this."
But that summer,
in my brokenness and desperation,
I realized, "Hey God. I changed my mind. I don't got this. I need you."
And that summer,
I actually unboxed and unwrapped that gift.
And words can't describe how much my life has changed.
Since that day,
this gift just keeps on giving.
Unlike unboxing a new iPhone,
this gift's "newness" and "greatness" never fades.
My life has changed.
I am changed.
And I did nothing-
but let him in to my life.
That summer proved to me that God truly answers our prayers-
especially the dangerous ones.
The ones where we're begging to "know him more", or "grow more than ever", or to have your life "completely changed".
God hears those prayers.
And he answers them.
And while the process might not be pretty,
and while you might seemingly get nothing that you wanted or prayed for,
I can assure you,
God will give you everything that you need and more.
There is almost nothing that our God/ our Father
wouldn't do for his kids -
especially those who love him.
I want to dare you guys.
Give it all to him.
Let him do something extraordinary in your life.
Let it all go.
it might just be the greatest thing you ever do.
Praying the Dangerous Prayer - again
So, here I am, 2 years later.
And ready to pray that dangerous prayer again.
Ready for God to take even more of my life.
Ready for something bigger and better.
Ready for whatever he has in store for me.
So, here's my dangerous prayer for this year:
"I'm all in God. Let's do it big. Let the adventure begin. Your plans not mine. Let's do something extraordinary together in this life. Equip me. Make me more like you and less like the "messed up" me. Give me your pure uncircumstantial love and joy. Show me how to love and live like you designed me to. I want to give all of me to you. Strip me down. Mature me. Teach me. Change me. Strengthen me. Show me how to share the gospel. Show me how to live out the gospel. At this point in my life, I want to give you full permission to use me in any way you want. If you want to, use me and my life to bring others to you. I'm gonna suck at this. That's for sure. But I'm all in God. Let's go. Take this broken and crazy life of mine and make something beautiful out it. I can't wait."