“Factoring In Your Faith: Fearing The Thorn(s) In Your Side!”

My favorite color is purple, but I’m infatuated by the color red. My enameled cast iron collection is red, sports car look even better in red, red dresses are seductive on women and red flowers tend to capture attention like no other. I used to buy red roses every two weeks to naturally fragrance my apartment but those thorns caused me pain on multiple occasions.  The rose itself is definitely one of life’s natural oxymoron’s, it’s both beauty and pain but that seems to be a theme in the nature that God created, especially when it comes to humanity.  Humans are beautifully flawed, each of us have a stronghold (some multiple) that we struggle for most of our lives to control or rid ourselves of. We pray, self medicate, indulge, ignore, deny, and even try to surgically remove our thorns in an effort to cope or conform.  A rose is incapable of removing the thorns God has given it, but not humans, we refuse to accept our “flaws”.  While thorns protect roses from predators, our thorns protect us from ourselves. No matter what we do by our own hands, the only way for Christians to cope or permanently remove ourselves of the thrones of our humanity is to form a relationship with God. Prayer is not indicative of relationship, I lived this lie and discovered it’s truth many years ago.

Ask anyone close to me what is my most annoying trait and most will say the fact that I’m always late.  I was born 3wks early around 7:30am on a Sunday morning and I’m convinced that’s the only time I’ve ever arrived anywhere early.  I don’t like wearing watches because I loathe the moment that someone asks me the time and I’m forced to reveal my shamefully slow response.  I commonly confuse the short hand with the long hand and I’m not particularly skilled in counting the minute tick marks.   Since digital watches look too immature, I keep my cellphone close by.  Did I mention that I’m also a procrastinator?  Yes, I’m a procrastinator and a poor one at that.  Watches, clocks and cellphones are no match for my level of procrastination; and still I try to change what comes natural.  My affair with time causes my 24hr day to feel a lot shorter than everyone else’s.  My procrastination isn’t chronic, my efforts to be on time don’t always fail, but my tardiness has earned it’s notable mention.  Even so, I do believe this “thorn in my side” was placed there to humble myself before God.  I was not created flawless in the sense that I have no imperfections, but rather that my imperfections were placed their by God, thus He made me exactly to His specifications.   A few years ago, I began to ask the question, what if I submitted my flaws to God?  What would it feel like to have these “thorns” removed?  What would life feel like & is it even possible?  This entry is about the “time” God showed me life without my thorn.

One day, I woke up at 4am and prayed.  One day turned into a week which turned into a month, which turned into a year of waking up early to pray.  It may not seem like much to most but starting my day in prayer wasn’t the unusual part, it was starting my day at 4am.  I was doing shift work, going to college, caring for my Mother, performing household chores, etc.  My daily tasks normally began at 8am so waking up at 4am was major.  I didn’t set my alarm clock or have anyone wake me up, it was God getting my attention in the stillness of the night/early mornings.  God and I would have some of the best conversations in the mornings, so good that I was too involved to even record in my journal.  Initially, I was understandably concerned about how the rest of my day would go with so little sleep.  Would I fall asleep @ work or school the next day?  Would I need a 5hr energy to keep going strong?  Was I going to be miserable?  I quickly learned that when you’re working for God, He will give you rest like you’ve never experienced.

“Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. — 2 Peter 3:8-9”

How was it that the same 24hrs. that everyone (who lives to see tomorrow) receives can feel completely different? The fundamental difference was that when I tried to accomplish goals without spending intimate time with God, I was unsuccessful everywhere. I would become distracted once things began to fall apart and fail to focus on my goal as a result. Immersing myself in the Word of “The Father Of Time”, allowed me to manage it more wisely. I looked forward to getting up in the stillness of night to have conversations with God. This was years ago, I’ve been longing to get back to that place ever since. Something tells me I’m not meant to go back, I’m meant to go forwards. I wonder, what could possibly be a better experience with time than this?

Procrastination comes natural to me.  It usually seems that I have more time than I need, so I relax and enjoy the moment, only to discover too much time has passed me by.  Rushing gives me really bad anxiety and causes me to move slower.  I’m constantly left feeling like there isn’t enough time in my day for: everyone else, everything else, and/or myself.  I have to confess though, at one time (again, pun intended) I managed to establish balance in such a way that I had extra time.  I was able to leave no area of my life neglected and with plenty of time for myself.  It was amazing to be in a space where time was no longer an issue for me, I felt wholeness in a way that I didn’t know existed.  I also had a new respect for the “thorn” in my side, it connects me to Him in such a vulnerable way.  While the world becomes impatient and unforgiving over it, God shows me mercy, love, kindness and understanding.  It allows me to look at this thorn through the eyes of God and see myself with eyes of mercy, love, kindness and understanding.  I’ve made peace with who I am and aspire to who I could become in Christ because I’ve lived without this thorn. All the time I need to accomplish my goals, is in one 24hr day, I just have to factor in my faith.

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