Glory Be

Last semester, shortly before Easter, I went on a retreat. When I got back, I started a Novena (A prayer that you say for 9 days or weeks consecutively). I was at a time in my life where I felt I really needed guidance, and I felt like I needed it soon. I was wondering what I should do with my life, and what I decided would really determine how I played out my next semester in school. So, I decided to do a Novena.

Now, this particular Novena was a 24 Glory Be Novena. The Glory Be is as follows: "Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." This prayer was repeated 24 times, each for the intention on my heart.

Now, when I started praying it, I was simply asking for guidance, for an answer -such as it may be. However, as I began to really pray it and meditate on it, the prayer became alive to me, and since then, I have not been able to pray the prayer the same way or look at my life the same.

The first day I prayed this Novena, I began to realize just how much fear, insecurity, and selfishness I had. I was controlling my life, afraid to let God take over. My greatest longing since I was a child was that I would get married, have children, and be a good mother. However, as I am only getting older (yes, I know I am so old), and I have still not found anyone I'd even date, I was beginning to really wonder if God would give me that life or if he was going to call me to the single life. That idea terrified me, and I tried to come up with all the reasons why God would never be so cruel, how he gave me this great dream and how my ideas for my life were perfect. I even had a hard time believing he'd put me where I was for a reason because I had few friends I felt that I could easily connect with - all my closest friends lived states away - life had totally crumbled around me, and I had to somehow stay afloat while trying to wade through my muddled idea of what friends should be there for and shouldn't.... all in all, my fear of uncertainty was greater than my Trust in God. I wanted to be in control, because at least then, even if I couldn't make it the best, I could at least know what was coming.

So, as I was praying, God brought all of these into my mind and seemed to place his hand on my shoulder, asking, "So, will you give me these? Will you give them up to me and trust that I know best? Will you trust me with your future? Will you trust me with your family? Will you trust me not to leave you alone in this world with no friend to go to? Will you give me your life in it's entirety?"

Nearly in tears, I realized just how wrong I had been. I'd thought I'd given God the trust he deserved. But I had not. Praying this simple prayer opened my eyes to that. With my simple "Yes," the Holy Spirit changed the prayer in my mind. Now, I was saying, "Through my life be Glory to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Your will be done in my life as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen."

My life is to Glorify God. Everything I do, my every thought, word, smile, teardrop, hug, and breath are for the Glory of God. What I think I want, what I think I need.... these things do not matter. Only that I bring God glory. My life is not my own. When I accepted Christ, when I said I would follow him, I bound myself to him as his slave. His Will should be the desire of my heart, not what I think I should want. I am not supposed to be controlling the course I take, he is. He wants me to throw my hands up and enjoy the ride with all it's loops, spins, inversions, and free falls.

When that realization encompassed my heart, I knew what had to be done. I threw open every door and began sweeping everything out. I gave him my fears, my joys, my worries, my dreams. I gave him my strength; I gave him my weakness. I gave him everything and told him to work his Glory in my life. My soul and my heart were His to care for, His to shape.

After I finished praying that night, I felt the most peace I have ever felt in my life. Many times over the years I'd said I gave God everything. That time, I really did. I spent the next several days walking on a cloud of joy and jubilation because God had filled me with the awesome sensation of living for Him as opposed to living for me. I began to ask that God would never let me have control back and that he would clean my life up for me and make me more like him.

And He has been.

A couple days into the Novena, I began to be convicted about the books I read, the music I listened to, the things I've written. God brought them to my mind and asked me plainly, "Are these glorifying me?" I had to answer honestly with a "no." With that, he convicted me of giving him all my mind. I'd given him heart, now he was asking for my mind. I've also been the first to be able to justify all kinds of books and music and other such things that were not the cleanest, not uplifting, and not glorifying to God because "God wouldn't want me to be a total pariah and a snob, would he?" or "There's nothing that bad in them." Or even if there was, I would justify it by saying that it was nothing I hadn't seen or read before and that I was able to tell the difference between the trash in the novels and what was real in life.

But, having given God control, and not being willing to take that back just yet, I said, "Okay, God. What do I do?" And He began to show me what I should and should not be reading, listening to, watching, writing. He began to show me the things that broke his heart that I did every day. Listening to music that was sleazy, reading books that had no merit and often had steamier scenes in them, laughing at crude jokes, feeding my mind things that were not uplifting it and bringing it closer to God.

That was one of the hardest things to do, but one I am incredibly grateful for. It means my heart breaks when I go places like Six Flags and they have crude, sleazy music videos in all the lines, but it means my mind feels cleaner, more wholesome, and I don't feel as dirty - something I didn't always even recognize at the time. It's something I still struggle with at times, especially when I am with friends who don't have the same standards as I. When friends - especially my Christian friends - put on music like Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Usher, and all those other bands that are incredibly crude, licentious, or derogatory, my heart breaks, and often now, I begin to feel physically ill and have to leave or try really hard to tune it out.

But, I hate confrontation (Yes, I really do. At least, genuine confrontation, not debate), so I never said anything. Now, God has begun to remind me of the third part of that verse. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

My strength is in the Lord, and my strength is the Lord's. So, why do I say that I am not strong enough to do this or do that? Why am I not bold enough to do the things that I should? Because I am still controlling that part of my life. I've not yet let myself totally be his tool. I've given him my heart and soul, but my body is something I'm still trying to control at least a little. God has been faithfully breaking down my resistance and reminding me that I am His and that I said that He could do as He wished with me. He brought Ezekiel 3 and Ezekiel 32 as well as a few other passages in that vein to my attention, and began to prod me to speak out. I have had to in several places now, and some of those have gone well, others have not, but God doesn't promise all will end well immediately.

I'm still struggling with this portion of my life, partly because I struggle with wondering why I should be listened to over everyone else. I do not always have the words to say or the platform to say them convincingly. I like to use those - and my fear of confrontation - as excuses for not speaking up. Those excuses are rapidly silenced by God's reply to Moses. “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”

My requests for all those who read this are two:
1) Give your life totally - heart, soul, mind, and strength - to God for his Glory.
2) Pray that I too may be able to give my entirety to God and learn the balance between prudence, tact, and speaking up as I should.



"Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen."

Comments

  1. Beautiful, Bri. Please pray for me, that I will follow your beautiful example.

    ReplyDelete
  2. it breaks my heart too. unfortunately, I am breaking my heart as well.

    ReplyDelete

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