Apr 21, 2014

Finding Christ In A Rodeo Clown

Okay, before we get started a few small points:
1.This is a religious post. If that bothers you, you will not offend me by not reading it. But if you do decide you want to continue, I just ask that you continue with an open mind and heart. I love and respect you even if we don't share the same beliefs.
2. Yeah, yeah, yeah- I said I was going to start posting again in November. And did that happen? Nope. So there will be no false promises about future posts in this post. If I decide I have something I want to write about, I will. If not, eh.
3. So many big changes have happened just since November to the point where I honestly don't even feel like that same person. Someday, maybe, I'll get to fill you all in. But in the mean time, just know things are great. My new job is great (surprise!), my family is great, my friends are great, and surprisingly my lack of love life is great!
4. In true Destiny fashion- please go ahead and just prepare yourself for a lot  (I mean A LOT) of awkward honesty and TMI and okay, fingers crossed, maybe a little awesomeness?

That Time God Tried To Show Me He Exists (and I just wasn't having it)
AKA: Finding Christ In A Rodeo Clown

It makes me so uncomfortable to say I've "found" religion or "found" Christ. I mean, I guess that's true in a sense but it makes me feel like I somehow lost religion at one point in time and that's not entirely right. I grew up going to church with my parents. I went to sunday school classes (in fact, I even started my own Sunday School class in a very embarrassing way, but that may be another story for another day).  In junior high and high school, I hung around with a group of kids that went to church every Wednesday and most Sundays and I'd go along for the ride. After I graduated high school, several of the friends I stayed closer to were Christian and we'd talk about it from time to time- why they believed, why I wasn't sure if I did.  I never really lost Christ, he was always there. I just was never very receptive of his message. 

Honestly though, I was never in church, etc. because I was looking for a relationship with Christ. In fact, I was completely closed off to the idea. Yeah, I could memorize the books of the bible and I knew all the big bible stories, but it didn't mean anything to me. It was the same way I felt in a history class- bored and unattached. I was always just going because my mom made me or my friends were into it. I was never going because I wanted change or enlightenment. 

Don't get me wrong, I would pray but I always felt like they weren't good enough. I wasn't (and honestly, at the time, didn't want to) playing by the Bible and the standards it set forth. (Just to be real, I'm still in no ways legalistic about the bible but I do see it as a very helpful guide to living for Christ). It's hard to just believe something you hear in a book, especially a book that's as hard to comprehend and decipher as the Bible. The jist of it, it seemed to me was that you pray- they get answered. You have this person that loves you, you play by his rules, he rewards you. You are never alone- only thing is, I'd pray and they wouldn't be answered. I didn't feel especially loved and I'd look around but I couldn't see Christ. My prayers must not have been good enough, right? 


Looking back, I can actually pinpoint moments where God was trying to show me that he exists. I didn't see them at the time and, I know, God won't just give you signs because you ask for them (Disclaimer- you cannot pray to God for proof he exists and be mad that you don't see that anything happens- the point is that you have to have faith!!) That being said, I do think he sends subtle signs like directional arrows towards the plan He has in store for you. These can be incredibly subtle or not at all what you had in mind. Have you ever heard someone say "God put it in my heart that...", yeah it's kind of like that! In my case though, possibly because God knows my heart a little too well sometimes, he knew I needed a big fat road sign that said "HEY, CRAZY! I'M REAL! I HEAR YOU!"

And here it is... the first sign I ever got that made me think okay maybe the Big Man is real...

 I had just turned 18 and had also just broken up with the cutest boy I will probably ever date (still smacking myself on the head for that one, another story for another day). Mainly we were too different but if I'm being honest, he was very Christian and I was very not. I was in that "fun" rebellious phase. He wanted a relationship, I wanted my "freedom". My mom loved him. Everyone thought he was handsome... and if I'm being honest in a lot ways I just felt like I didn't add up (okay, I'm coming out of the closet right now- I struggle with insecurity from time to time! What girl doesn't?) Yada yada yada... not the point.  

Anyways, I was going to a rodeo with my family. (It's Missouri! We do that sort of thing! Even in my skater/punk rock phase I still had a soft place in my heart for country boys!) Now, I don't know how many of you have been to a rodeo but before it starts, typically, there is a prayer. As I said, I was feeling especially insecure and thought I could use a pick me up and so I prayed the single most stupid prayer I have probably ever prayed and, while my head was bowed, I silently threw in a little prayer of my own that sounded something like "Dear God, please let some guy hit on me!" (I like to think I worded it better than that but I was 18 and yeah, probably not!)

Mind you, we were at a rodeo! There was no shortage of cute country boys! I felt like this was a nice simple request (disclaimer: praying isn't really about requesting. It's not McDonalds! You cant just put in your order and expect it turn out exactly how you imagined it. Chances are that is YOUR will, not God's.). 

Well, God wasn't having it that day. 

I don't know if he was just annoyed by my lousy prayer like "Girl! You haven't prayed to me in years and THIS is what you waste your first prayer on? No 'hey, hows it going?' Not even like- 'hey, let's end world hunger'? You want to get HIT ON?!" or maybe he just wanted to answer my prayer in the best way to open my eyes and make sure to bring glory to him (and not get me too distracted by country boys) because you know what happened?

In that entire room of cowboys, you know the ONE GUY that hit on me? 
The entire night!

The rodeo clown!

I kid you not. Not 2 minutes after that prayer, he made a joke and looked up- straight at me- and said "dang girl you are pretty! You! Right there!" Mortified, I turned and tried to make it look like it was the lady behind me. "You! In the blue hoodie!" Oh, yep, no that was me. Shoot. 

And it didn't stop there. He continued to publicly hit on me the entire night. I think he even started referring to me as his girlfriend.

.... And yes, there is a point to this story. Honestly, it would still be years after this story took place before I felt the tug to go to church, to pray about real problems, and to turn over my life to Christ. But this is the first moment where I remember allowing myself to think about Christ differently than I thought about Santa Claus. The first moment where I entertained the idea that he was listening to even my prayers. 

The moral of this story isn't that you should pray to get what you want. Nope. Exactly the opposite. What I'm trying to share here (in my own, off-beat, around the bush kind of way) is that your prayers- even the ones that are stupid or shallow- they are being heard. They are probably being answered too just sometimes in ways you can't see or can't recognize. My mom used to say "sometimes an unanswered prayer is a blessing in disguise". But it's not unanswered, it's just not always answered in the way that we would like. You may be praying for a relationship (yep, I do that) and it's not happening- and that's the answer. He knows your heart better than you do, better than your friends and your family, and He knows the heart that He designed to be the perfect match for yours. It's not that He isn't giving you that relationship- it's that he's waiting for the perfect timing to give you the relationship He designed for you. And maybe you  are praying for a specific person or a specific job and you don't get that specific job or person, but he is answering your prayers in ways that are bigger and better. You just have to stick it out and have faith. 

But here is lesson #2. Yes, maybe the story above was about a shallow prayer, but I honestly do believe he answered that prayer. Which just goes to show you that no prayer is too stupid or little to be prayed. Yes, pray about the big stuff- talk to God when you are questioning things, when you are stressed out, but also talk to him about the little day to day stuff too. He wants to be a part of your life. He wants to know the lame little stuff. He's willing and eager to listen, if you are willing and eager to share. 

Oh, annnnd while I was gone- this happened!