The List: Should I Ditch It or Submit It?
Most of us have one, right? You know the one I am talking about, with all the gazillion adjectives from A to Z out of Webster’s dictionary, that describe the man of our dreams-our knight in shining, our Boaz. It’s a list of non-negotiables that we have written down. Somehow we crossed them out either literally or in our head when we compromised one too many times because, “He was nice” or “it just happened”. Let’s not forget the infamous, “But, I really love him”. Yeah, I said it!
I have had several lists over the years and even met a guy who came close, or so I thought. Hmmmmm….yeah, he came close until my list began to change. It grew shorter as I slowly began X’ing out things that I thought weren’t that important to me. I grew comfortable giving him a “pass” because of his upbringing or family life and thinking that somehow I could change him. That’s code for self-deception and denial ladies! Haha, I laugh now as I think about it, but if I had gone by that “list”, I would have been married right now with maybe 1-2 babies and most likely miserable.
I am not saying anything is wrong with a list. In fact, we should be very specific. Create a vision, if you have to, of what you want or desire to have in your ideal mate. I understand that some of you who are reading this may not have a list of the ideal mate. Perhaps, your list is of your dream home or car, the best school to attend in order to further your education or maybe even your ideal career. Whatever you want to call it, it is usually a group of items/words that reflect your wants and desires.
What does the Word say?
The Word does tell us to ask for anything in His name and He will it grant to us. It also encourages us to “ask and you shall receive”. This sounds wonderful and is a great incentive for presenting our lists to the Lord. However, let me give you some things to consider. I have been in the book of John for quite some time, maybe too long. Yet, I happened upon something a couple of weeks ago that may fit here. In Chapters 14-16, Jesus uses a common theme of “asking in His name” and then receiving what we asked. In chapter 14, there is a condition for receiving what we asked for: that whatever we ask in His name should bring glory to the Father.
Several books over from John, James reminds us of something as well. Sometimes we don’t receive what we ask for because our motives are wrong and we are focusing on self-indulgence or our own pleasure. This, too, does not bring glory to God. As we abide in Jesus more, which He tells us in John 15, and His words remain/abide in us, then we can ask anything we want. What we ask should begin to sound like the words from Him that we have abiding in us. Thus, if we are filled with His words, we will ask what is going to bring glory to the Father. Ok, stepping off the preaching soapbox now while I let that marinate for a bit.
I am sure some of you may have heard about the book The Wait authored by Devon Franklin and his wife, Megan Good, that came out a few months ago. Devon said something about the list he had and it made sense. Listen to it here: The List. Basically, he said that he had a list of the type of woman he wanted to marry and one specific thing that she could not be: an actress. Lo and behold, his wife is an actress. Isn’t that just like God though? He has a sense of humor that I am not always privy to nor do I like at times. Devon went on to say that God challenged him. He asked him if he was going to live by a list or have faith enough to believe and accept what God had for him even if everything on the list didn’t add up. Yes, that was a mouthful so I need you to do something for me right now. Pull your list out, whether it is written down, on your phone or even mentally tucked away in a special section of your brain. As you look at or recall this list, ask yourself these questions before you decide to ditch it or submit it to God:
- Is my list subject to God’s perfect will for my life or have I tried to make Him subject to it?
- Have I asked Him what He thought about this said “list”?
- Have I waited for the answer?
- Am I even listening to what He might say?
- Do I have faith enough to believe that what He has for me in terms of a mate, career, home, school, business, ministry, (you fill in the blank here _________) is better than what I could ever come up with on my own?
- What things on my list are glorifying to God?
- What things on my list are because of wrong motives, a focus on my own self-indulgence and/or for my own self-pleasure?
Based on your responses to these questions, hopefully you will have a good indication of what you should be doing with your list, e.g. ditching it altogether and allowing the Lord to help you rewrite it, making some minor adjustments to X out a few things or add some things. Perhaps your list is perfect and doesn’t need any adjustments right now and this is great. Yet, I would challenge you to continue to revisit this list periodically. Listen to the still small voice that helps you to adjust to things based on His plans, His purpose and His will for your life in every area. Who knows, He may ask you to chuck the whole list and simply trust Him. You just have to believe that His plans are always good, even if they look completely different than what you hoped, imagined or believed.
Photo credit: cupofjoy, unveiledwife.com