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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

You getting specific?

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires!  (Psalm 37:4 VOICE)
I took a class once designed to help me do a better job of "relating" to others - something most of us think we have down pretty well, but likely could use an occasional refresher course on from time to time. In that class, one of the exercises was to write a list of what we believed to be the desires of our heart. In other words, the teacher was asking us to get "specific" about things we might say "off-handed" in conversation like, "I would like to find a soul-mate", or "I sure would like a bigger house". Both comments are "solid" in that they specify we want someone to be that "other part" of our life we call a soul-mate, or that we are desirous of more room to spread out, but neither of these is very specific. I don't think God wants us coming to him with a list a mile long, outlining exactly how we should receive all these "desires of our heart", but the exercise gave us a moment to "clarify" what we meant by those things we simply say in that kind of "off-handed" manner. Sometimes God wants us to actually get a little specific, helping us to see more clearly what it is we really are striving for, what goal we are reaching to meet, etc.
Something began to emerge as the instructor sent us back time and again to "finish our list" with a little more detail. In other words, we put down we want a soul-mate. He sent us back to describe some of the qualities we were seeking in a mate. We came back with that "expanded list" only to find he sent us back again to be more specific about how those qualities are manifest to us. For example, if we said we wanted our soul-mate to be kind, or attentive, he asked us to describe what "kindness" or "attentiveness" looked like to us. In essence, he was helping us bring clarity to our "stated desires". The intention to find a soul-mate was one thing, to answer the other "details" we all had to dig a little deeper and think a little bit more about what these attributes actually "look like" when we see them in another's actions, words, and attitude.
There is some definite value in being able to describe our heart's desire in a little more detail than saying we want a new house. To describe the desired square footage to meet our family's needs, the neighborhood or school district we wish to be in, and how much we can afford to pay monthly toward a house payment is one thing. To describe how that house has to meet very specific needs, such as a laundry room capable of holding a large sized stacking washer and dryer, a handicapped accessible shower, a double oven so we can bake the scones we sell to a neighborhood deli each week, etc. - these are details we just might miss if we don't know that we want them before we go looking to find that house. I think the same can be true when we voice "off-handed" remarks in prayer like "God bless our family" or "God provide for our needs". To pray that God will help your family to spend one night a week together playing board games, a day each month exploring in the desert to find "treasures", or to ask him to help you read through a specific book as a family while discussing the lessons taught is much more specific and might actually help focus your intent.
When we ask God for his blessing, or we honor him in praise and worship because of past and present blessings, are we specific? Are we truly getting at what our heart's desires are when we spend time with him? If not, maybe we need to get a little more "specific" in our "relating"!  Just sayin!