Archive | May 2013

A picnic with God

Sometimes I get tired of praying. I’ve made a habit of praying for other people either on my way to work or on my way home — I have a long commute — but sometimes I’d rather not. I always feel better after I do, but sometimes I’d rather listen to music or call someone or just sit. It’s especially hard to pray when I’m tired and need to stay awake. (If I wrecked from falling asleep while praying, could I claim religious reasons?)

picnicThere are so many things to pray for, and I do believe there’s power in prayer, but there are days I’d rather talk to God in a different way. Like invite Him on a picnic and hear stories about all those miracles that didn’t make it into the Bible. Or take Him on a road trip and ask Him why mosquitoes get to bite humans or why He didn’t storm down from heaven with thunder and lightning when that kid made fun of me in school. How cool would that be? (Side note: I guess if God and I really did take a road trip, I’d let Him drive. Is there a safer way to travel?)

There are days I’d rather sit across from Him as we munch on hoagies or stroll through the park and discuss weather. I bet He wouldn’t get the forecast wrong. We could even take a boat across the lake and re-enact that walking on water thing. … I wonder if He would wear Bermuda shorts. Is that a disrespectful thought? I don’t know why it would be.

Maybe He could teach me to play the piano in five minutes flat or tell me that 10 years from now, I won’t stress about this or worry about that — that life will be good and my worst fear of hitting a deer on a narrow back road will never be realized.

I know God is with me wherever I go, and I can see Him working in my life, but sometimes my feelings get in the way of those facts and I wish I lived in Jesus’ time when the God of the universe actually walked on earth. When I could have touched His robe or seen for myself whether he kept long or short hair. I’ve always envisioned Him with shoulder-length tresses.

I think one reason I get tired of praying is that my prayers all start to sound the same after a while. I repeat the same words and phrases over and over, things like “strength,” “comfort,” “help,” “guide,” “be with,” “lift up” and — my favorite — “please.”

Manners, you know.

I’ve heard some prayers that just blow me away. They’re deep and meaningful, and you feel like God is sitting next to you when they’re done. I know the way we pray doesn’t make God any more or less present, or make anyone more or less His child, but maybe I should pray to be a better prayer. I guess more for my benefit than anything.

(I do think I’m getting better at talking to Him like a friend and not a bearded cloud-floater, which He isn’t. I’ve taken a cue from some of the Bible’s big names like David and Habakkuk and started telling Him how I really feel … even though He already knows.)

I’ve heard people say that when we feel like God is far away, He could be closer than ever. Those are times that our faith is put to the test and He’s allowing us to grow. My Bible cover also reminds me that sometimes when it looks like we’re walking alone, that’s when He’s carrying us. …

Still, what I wouldn’t give sometimes for a Sunday picnic with the Almighty. (After church, of course.) If you’re ever in the mood for real food again, God, my Dixie plates and Solo cups are ready.



What I want(ed) in a guy

I recently found a list I made in high school titled “What I want in a guy.” The date on it is 2003 — either my junior or senior year. I remember my friends making fun of me for it, then making lists of their own. None of them even came close to my list, though; 210 things is hard to top.

The first thing on my list was “strong relationship with God/Christian.” Others included “doesn’t criticize my driving” and “can match clothes.” Here’s a peek at what I wanted in a male counterpart 10 years ago:

#2. Respects me, my family and my friends.

#5. Strong — mentally and physically (nice muscles never hurt).

#8. Likes dogs.

#10. Doesn’t smoke.

#13. Not obsessed with fake women, such as Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson, or any other diva, pop star, Baywatcher, or pin-up.

#20. Looks in my eyes, not up, down, or away.

#22. Brushes teeth on a regular basis.

#25. Doesn’t rush me. Patience is everything.

#27. Picks out his own mother’s cards.

#33. Rides roller coasters.

#35. Never tells me I look bad, fat, rough, dirty, or any other unacceptable adjective.

#46. Doesn’t tell stupid jokes to the point I can’t even pretend laugh.

#47. Has goals and perseverance.

#48. Encourages and supports me.

#51. Not constantly on a computer.

#63. Laughs well — not loud, breathy, gaspy, silent, through the nose, high-pitched, or too long.

#65. My height or taller.

#67. Has nice hands —  not rough or feminine.

#70. Doesn’t need an umbrella.

#71. Doesn’t go to strip clubs or Hooters — even “for the wings.”

#76. Doesn’t always call for a reason, but always has something to say.

#78. Never says, “I didn’t mean to lead you on,” especially when he knew perfectly well what he was doing.

#82. Has good taste in music — no screaming songs.

#88. Sociable.

#101. Thinks of more unique dates than dinner and a movie.

#106. Likes color.

#109. Puts the dishes in the sink, not on the counter beside the sink. The dishwasher is better.

#112. Likes to travel.

#113. Loves life and takes pleasure in the small things.

#117. Makes me a better person; good influence.

#127. Has decent feet.

#128. Wears sunscreen, and doesn’t go to a tanning bed.

#135. Modest.

#157. Remembers Valentine’s Day and my birthday.

#159. Open-minded and has own opinions, but doesn’t force them on others.

#161. Doesn’t leave shaving cream/hair/toothpaste in the sink/bathtub.

#167. Prays often.

#180. Knows what he’s worth; confidence.

#181. No dandruff.

#190. No weird diseases or hereditary dysfunctions.

#196. Doesn’t leave bugs in the floor after he kills them.

#197. Runs nice.

#203. Not a previous criminal.

#209. Can manage money.

#210. Has a plan.

I came across this list shortly after Pete and I got married and he asked me how he stacks up to The List. I have to say, he meets most of them, like #69. Looks great in a baseball hat, and #148. Knows about cars. … Not #36, though; “has nice handwriting.” But I love him anyway.

Other things I noticed is that it took me until #129 to list “smart,” and that my taste in some things has definitely changed since ’03. Like #162. No beard or mustache. … I was the one who told Pete not to shave before our wedding.

While my list is a tall order for anyone to fill, my favorite is #192. Not too picky.

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