Oranges off the Tree

1/9   What are a couple practical steps you can take toward your three soul words? 

 A couple months ago, Ry and I were in the car on our way home. She talked about oranges for six straight exits off the 101. ' Want orange peese mama.'  Over and over. We walked in the house, out to the backyard, to the very corner of the fence. There- hanging low- one glorious orange. Oranges off the tree? FRESH for my soul. 

A couple months ago, Ry and I were in the car on our way home. She talked about oranges for six straight exits off the 101. 'Want orange peese mama.' Over and over. We walked in the house, out to the backyard, to the very corner of the fence. There- hanging low- one glorious orange. Oranges off the tree? FRESH for my soul. 

Deeply jarred in my heart is the hope that every first 'practical step' toward change or altering our soul starts with prayer. You may love to pray. It may come easily and fill you up. Or, like most of the world, you may find it awkward, hard and impersonal. I have found prayer to be a practice. Like the thousands of reps I took jump-serving a volleyball in college (eventually) we develop muscle memory to know how to do something with little-to-no thought. Prayer should not be thoughtless, but with practice it does become easier, less awkward and even exciting. 

Friend, do not condemn yourself today if you think prayer is hard. The guys who spent every waking moment with Jesus for the three years of his ministry could have asked him a MILLION things to teach them. But they asked, Jesus, teach us how to pray. They were lost. Just like us. Take comfort in the fact that even when these men were in the physical presence of God they needed help to know how to do this prayer thing.

Reading through the words of Jesus about how to pray will be invaluable. A couple other helpful tips that generate authentic & audacious prayer in me? Read on...

  • Remember and acknowledge whom you are talking to. It's not the air, it's not the wall, it's not your Bible. When you pray you are conversing with the one and only God. The creator of oceans and your very brain. The living, breathing God who says himself that NOTHING is impossible for him. The one who delights when you ask things of him- like a good, good father. 
  • Come as real as you can. The Psalms are the teacher of all things real when it comes to prayer. David and the other Psalm writers are straight up rude, angry, hopeless and harsh in addressing God. And it is so refreshing. Because you know what? Sometimes I don't feel prettied-up, faith-filled and clean in my belief of God. So instead of waiting until I feel those things, I bring him my angst. I bring him my doubt. I bring him my drama. I bring him my confusion and heartache. Nothing has made prayer more alive in me than coming exactly as I am. God welcomes this. What great news.
  • Set your timer to hear from God. Sit as still as you can for as long as you can. So much wisdom and peace is lost in us because we refuse to allow part of our prayer life to be listening. THIS can be awkward, friends. When you are not used to it- soon you become distracted, bored and want to give up. I believe this is hard. Yes. You want to know why it's so hard? BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE SOULS ARE MADE. Our souls can change, be refreshed, and expand in this space more than any other. If you have no idea what it means to 'hear from God' you are not alone. Sit still and quietly before him, rotate a promise of his around and around in your head until some other amazing promise enters your head. Stick with it. This is hard because true growth happens here.

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PRACTICAL STEPS

At the end of 2017 I want a soul that is fresh, delighted and quiet. Aren't those words so lovely? So idealistic? So how do I get there? I believe often we know more about how to get to where we want to be than we give ourselves credit for. I know what makes me feel fresh. I know what makes me delighted. I know how to quiet my soul. I just don't do these things. I don't make room or priority for them. Let's change that in 2017...

FRESH 

  • Setting an alarm to read God's word
  • Going for walks
  • Strolling through the Farmer's Market
  • Praying with my sister on the phone on Saturday mornings
  • Reading Life Beautiful or Darling magazine (actual pages, actual words- reading)

DELIGHTED

  • Family beach days
  • Watching Ry play when she doesn't know I am
  • Long baby snuggles over chores
  • Holding hands and walking down State Street on a date with my man
  • Physical hugs from my family and best friends. Eating and laughing loudly 

QUIET

  • My chair, steaming-hot tea, a quiet house and a sleepy world around me
  • Hours and hours with no screens
  • Getaways
  • Hammock time
  • Listening prayer. Palms open, heart exposed

How will you tend to your soul practically this year? Let's revisit this list over and over. How am I doing? What could I cancel today in order to catch some time hand-holding with Austin? What do I have to do the night before to make time in my chair a reality?

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