It would seem to me that we are self-help loving people.
We spend millions of dollars every year buying up books and drugs and therapy that are supposed to fix us, to make us better.
I've certainly subscribed. The stacks of books lining my shelves prove it.
For me, the self-improvement applies to areas of spirituality. I want to know how to become a person of prayer, how to be involved in social justice and all the reasons why I should, how to practice hospitality, how to be a good mother and wife and friend and so on to infinity and beyond.
Its tiring, really. And honestly? While books, counseling and relationships can all be good things, the truth of the matter is that there are some things you will simply never be able to do unless you just do it.
Im not trying to sound like a Nike ad, but I'm learning that reading a book, even the Bible, is not going to teach me to be a woman who knows how to pray. Praying will, though.
Reading all about hospitality might inspire some ideas, but it won't help me get over my reluctance to let people in my messy house, where the walls are covered with smeared fingerprints and dirty laundry is piled high. You know what will? Inviting people over, regularly. Letting them see my mess and letting them help me fold my laundry, drinking coffee together and having those deep, stirring, soul-sharing conversations that are so much more important than Homes and Gardens picturesque rooms.
I can read all about being generous and getting active in social justice but that isn't going to stop me from being stingy and judgmental when I see a homeless person and I immediately wonder whether he is just lazy or on drugs and whether it would really be the responsible thing to do to give him that five dollar bill in my pocket. Giving will, though. Buying him some fruit and personal items and tucking a few dollars in his hand, whispering, "In Jesus' name", that sure has a way of crucifying the selfish jerk inside my heart.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be praying for God to change us. Of course we should. We should be flat on our faces, begging him to make our hearts like His.
But maybe, just maybe, we are sometimes meant to become the answers to our own prayers.
You can buy a book about flying helicopters and learn all about operating it but that don't make ya a pilot.
Maybe we're meant to cooperate with God, to take a tangible step towards being the people He created us to be.
You wanna be a pray-er? Pray. It's just as simple and as terrifying as that. God will be your tutor.
You wanna be hospitable? Invite over a friend or two. Try not to stress about the vacuuming. Ignore the pile of laundry. Make an extra pot of coffee and talk. Listen. Love.
You wanna be a giver, you wanna be an activist, you wanna be your own brand of Jesus-awesome?
Take a step, friend. Give. Give a little more. Look for opportunities. See where He takes you.
The long and short of it: Walk with Him.
Some things have to go further than the book you read, the dream you have, the prayer you prayed.
We learn by doing.
Let's do this, together, in Jesus' name. Let's start being the answers to our prayers, friends. Stop wondering why God isn't doing anything and realize His answer just might be YOU.
In fact, I have a pretty good suspicion it is.
So let me just encourage you, inspire you, commission you. GO. DO. BE.
To Him be all the glory.