Saturday, January 15, 2011

Birthday, Christmas, and lessons in between

“Hey Stine, what do you want for your birthday?”
The question I knew was coming, and the question I was dreading most. You see, I could think of a million things I wanted (I mean really, what girl couldn’t?) but I had decided that there is a big difference between want and need, and if I was really honest with myself, I needed nothing. And if I was realistic, there were so many people I could think of that really needed something, so who was I to ask for what I really wanted. And so I told my sister I wanted nothing, a decision that did not come easy and, if I were truly honest, took much self-coaching.

Funny thing about sisters; they know you, often better than you think. So when I gave her my lame “I don’t want you to get me anything” answer, she knew I didn’t mean it, even though I thought I did. So, my birthday came and with it so did my birthday card and gift card from my sister. Even though I told her “No!”
Then I came to a realization. Not just any realization. One of those realizations that you hate to come to, knowing things are going to have to change, and change means work. But change is a good thing. Change means growth, and growth is good (growing pains and all).

Four words were all He needed to say. “What do you want?” These four words; this one question, were the first words; the first question, that John records in his Gospel, of Jesus Christ. And these four words; this one question, gets me every time. Jesus, the Son of God, asked this question to the disciples, not because He didn’t know what they wanted “for He knows the secrets of the heart” but because they needed to know what they wanted, why they were there, what they were wanting to received from Jesus. And, in a response equally as lame as mine to my sister, the disciples asked, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus, the Son of God, God with skin on, asked what they wanted, and all they can come up with was to see where He was staying. Jesus simply responds, “Come and see.” as if to say “Sure guys, whatever you want.” And I can’t help but wonder; if they had asked something different, something more than to see where He was staying, would He have still said “Sure guys, whatever you want.”? My bible says, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” So, according to Ephesians 3:20, He most definitely would have granted any request they had. Yet they simply asked to see where He was staying; and I simply said I didn’t need anything for my birthday. How foolish of me.

Yet we are all guilty of this mentality. We buy into a mindset that we shouldn’t ask for certain things because, if we were really honest with ourselves, we don’t really need them. And if we really thought about it, we could think of so many other people who really needed something, so who are we to ask for what we really want? We lack one major truth of who God is, forgetting that He has the power to provide for the needy AND make our wildest dreams come true. We forget that our God “owns Cadillac’s on a thousand lots” (in the words of Pastor Judah Smith) and ultimately settle, accepting our current state while secretly dreaming of something different, yet never telling God what it is that we truly desire. We even sing “How great is our God” while not realizing, or not believing, in how great He truly is.

What would happen if we began dreaming? What would happen if we tested God in the promises He has given us? What would happen if we took the Word of God, believed it with all of our heart, and put it into practice?

My birthday came, and my birthday went, and with the realization that God can do epically more than I can dream, I began thinking of what my Christmas list would consist of. Yes, it was September still, but I was expecting great things from God. I was going to be ready with my answer when the question came “What do you want for Christmas?” and when the question finally came, I found the closest piece of paper and writing utensil and scribbled it down: 1. Canon 30D 2. Canon 50mm f1.4 3. Adobe Lightroom 4. Adobe Photoshop.

Christmas came, and Christmas went, and with the realization that God can do epically more than I can dream, I beamed with joy, because my camera and lens were in the mail!

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