Prune, Restore & Improve

Frequently, when I seem to be in a rut, I ask others for prayer. In anxiety, stress, frustration, fear, I often seek others for their prayers before I ever force my knees to the earth.

A couple of weeks ago I was challenged to change my ways. Rather than seeking out the faith of others, I would put my own faith into play.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I both agreed that this year felt catalytic, as if something were coming on the horizon we probably wouldn’t be prepared for. Maybe it was the news of a little girl coming into our lives come November. Maybe it’s the growth we’ve seen in work. But none of those things (although wonderful and good) seemed to be the “thing” we were awaiting.

I get this way about life. I set my mind to the idea that circumstances, situations, our current dealing of life will come to a head, and then things will change. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it takes us stepping up to the plate.

I felt a serious pressing. The Holy Spirit was not going to allow us to walk through our life and this year as though it was just a passing. Just something to endure. God wanted change from me. And I was ever so hesitant.

So He pressed.

The “thing” I’ve been waiting for in this year? It isn’t there. The catalyst in this year is within ourselves, changing the way we think about our life, our purpose, our work, and our goals. Rather than inflate ourselves, God is asking of us, “Is all this for Me? Is the Kingdom getting major glory, or are you just satisfied with everything you have?”

When frustrations hit, I’m not going out of my way seeking the prayer of others. Not that I don’t want or need it, but God wants to hear from me. And I’m getting on my knees a lot more frequently, praying, “Improve me. Show me how to be better. Fix the sin in me. Show me how to walk out my set apart life and give you all the glory for it.”

He’s pressing us in these last five months of 2017. He’s challenging the way we talk. The priorities we seek. The conversations we have, and even the way we serve, love, and treat others. He’s pressing in, pruning off the parts to get us out of the rut of satisfaction in the world rather than in Him.

I often return to the day three years ago when I knelt in front of my bathtub with tears streaming down my face. Evan was beginning freelance, and I was pregnant with a baby I was not prepared for. It was God and I, not anyone else actively praying on my behalf in that bathroom. It felt like hell and heaven colliding, and I didn’t have any solid ground to stand on except for His commands. I prayed until my tears stopped. I remember the words coming out of my mouth sounding like pleas and fears mixed together. I knew I needed nothing more than His reassurance that our lives were never outside of His palm.

In the relatively short life I’ve lived so far, God has been kind to me. He has always heard me. He has always given what I needed and never what I didn’t. He has withheld, and He has sustained. If I’ve learned anything, it is that He must become more.

Sometimes I wake up, and the devil is waiting outside my bedroom door. He tells me my house is too small, our paychecks too little, and our life sub-par. Even worse, sometimes he tells me that there’s no need to grow, there’s no need for change, and there’s no reason to be teachable.

But the Lord. He presses.

So I wake, and I walk out the door demanding the devil to leave with Jesus’ name on my lips. I ask for improvement in the little things and small steps in the big things. I ask for less of me, more of Him. I ask for the Word to stop being a book and instead become fresh water. Over and over, I pray until He invades the parts of me I hide and the places I fear the world to see.

The thing of 2017? It is the Lord changing us and us being a people who responds.

Prune us, Jesus. Restore us, Jesus. Improve us, Jesus. All for Your glory.

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