I caught myself complaining a lot about how school is going on lately. I would sigh in the middle of crossing things off my to-do list, feeling overwhelmed because it seems never-ending. Unnecessary pressure also adds-up because of my desire to not let any of these be an excuse to cancel on or not make time for people whom I should intentionally reach out for Jesus. So I kind of get disappointed (which really should not be the case) when the ones I find time for would bail out on me last minute. I would also get anxious (which again should not be the case) when sudden meetings tagged as ‘urgent’ adds-up along the way.
In my attempt to finish papers after papers in the fastest way I think possible, there were times when I would find it hard to pray. And whenever the Holy Spirit reminds me to pray, my mind would wander left and right about the pile of essays that I need to do. The cramming nights and restless rest days became so centered on how I can be able to finish all of it, instead of relying on God who obviously knows better.
The more I rely on myself, the lesser I pray. And the lesser time I seek God, the more unproductive I get and the more foolish decisions I make. At the same time, the joy of honoring God whenever I study became neglected – ’twas all grumbling and no gratefulness. I have forgotten that it is not about what I do, but about my heart motives which God sees beyond crystal clear.
My lack of dependence on God is also the reason why even though I am on hiatus from tennis coaching for more than a month now, and even though it is only the third week of the semester, I would often ask myself, “Why am I so tired and anxious yet I remain unproductive?”. Certainly, I was fighting a battle on my own which was not my own battle in the first place. And I have allowed satan to rob me of the superpower God has given to His children: prayer.
By God’s grace, these realizations drove me to my knees. In the middle of trying to beat a midnight deadline, I turned off my laptop, placed all my reading materials inside my bag, took my phone away from me, went inside my room, locked the door, got down on my knees and prayed, “Father, You are far more important than any of these. Forgive me if I allowed all these to consume me instead of allowing You to fill me.”
God reminded me that prayer is not something I can just tick off from my to-do list – like something optional or something I choose to do when I am not B.U.S.Y. (or Being Under Satan’s Yoke).
- Job came before the Lord in his brokenness and desperation (with no complaints), and he found mercy and peace. Read: Job 6:8-13 and Job 42:1-6
- Nehemiah prayed his heart out for guidance and instruction, and God answered his prayers by helping him in his pursuit to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Read: Nehemiah 1:4-11
- Paul prayed fervently for others and for the advancement of the gospel – even in trials, persecutions and imprisonment. And his prayerful ministry was used by Jesus even until today. Read: Philippians 1:3-11
Job had many burdens in his heart. Nehemiah had many urgent things to do. Paul was constantly in life-threatening situations. But they prayed – demonstrating not only boldness and complete dependence on God, but humility before Him. Their busy-ness and burdens did not stop them from praying; instead it pushed them to pray even more.
- And above all, Jesus prayed in heartfelt supplication for His disciples, all believers and Himself, demonstrating empathy and a genuine love for God. Read: John 17
I am grateful because God allows circumstances such as this to reveal many things about my character (which obviously needs a lot dying).