We are eleven days into our two-week study, Praying Big Prayers to Our Amazing God. Our prayer prompt for today may stir all kinds of Amens and emotions in your heart. Author of Praying Upside Down and #Instaprayers, prayers to share, Kelly O’dell Stanley is back with us discussing, “I can’t even. But God Can. Ask Him.” Doesn’t that prompt just make you want to speed read all the way down to the prayer? Go ahead. We won’t stop you.
I. Can’t. Even.
I can’t even believe the things some people say.
I can’t even stand the bickering and belittling I’m witnessing.
I can’t even wrap my head around this pandemic.
I can’t even figure out what to do next.
I can’t even understand what motivates people.
I can’t even seem to get my laundry done… let alone wrap my head around all the craziness and fear and chaos and confusion in the world right now.
But you know what? God can.
And He does.
When you slam closed your laptop, turn off your phone, or click the handy-dandy “unfriend” button on Facebook, chances are you’re thinking it: “I can’t even!”
Here’s a truth spoken to me the other day by a wise friend (from a socially-acceptable-distance of 6’ away): Maybe the problem is that I’m trying to solve the problem myself.
She was right. I was studying and talking and seeking wise counsel. Researching and reading and exploring. Having endless debates in my mind with countless friends (and strangers), all worked up and my blood pressure skyrocketing and my brain in turmoil.
And I was no closer to solving the problem than when I’d started.
Because I was trying to solve the problem. I wasn’t stepping back and giving it to God. Was I wrong to do the things I was doing? Not at all. It’s due diligence. God usually requires us to do our part to change (or accept, or correct, or let go of) a particular situation. But the first and most important thing we should do is go to God.
Lay it at His feet.
Remind Him that you recognize who He is and how capable He is.
Remember ALL that He is.
Know that He loves you.
Trust Him to answer.
Trust Him with the truth of your feelings.
And then listen.
Do what He says.
Approach it the way He leads you to.
Be willing to let it go if He tells you to.
Be willing to pick it back up, but only if that’s what He wants you to do.
I’m one of those people that wants to fix things. I’m a bit of a control freak, and I absolutely have confidence that I can do pretty much anything if I set my mind to it. Except sing. But still. Even if I end up discovering that I can’t do it, I can promise you I will have tried my best.
Which is why one of the hardest things for me to do is to let go of something that is out of my control. Staying in my lane. Knowing that a situation is not always mine to fix. Knowing that no matter how hard I might try, I am unable to make a dent in it. And stepping back—in humility and trust—to let God do what I cannot even begin to imagine.
Because if I do it, people will see me. (And chances are good that they might see me fail.)
But if God does it—especially if it’s something I could never even begin to do on my own—then people will see God.
So I’ll close with this reading from Scripture, and ask you to pray these words with me—to help us both remember just who Christ is. To reinforce how much He loves us. And to keep in proper perspective whose role is whose.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
—Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Join Jodie and Kelly! We love to gather and talk about books that point us to “The Book.” We took the time to talk about Kelly’s new book, #Instaprayer, prayers to share, our prayer experiences, strategies, and struggles. To grab a copy of Kelly’s latest book and see all of the creative and colorful prayer tools that she offers visit her website kellyostanley.com
To learn more about Kelly’s photo contest that we talk about in the video visit kellyostanley.com/instaprayer-photocontest/
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is a graphic designer who writes. Or maybe a writer who also designs. Either way, when she found the place where writing and design intersected, she discovered that was exactly where she wanted to be. The author of Praying Upside Down, Designed to Pray, and (in Spring 2020) #Instaprayer: Prayers to Share, Kelly loves to explore prayer and faith in creative ways because she knows that God is the Ultimate Creator. And when she puts her creativity into action, she always discovers more of Him.
Twenty-some years ago, Kelly took a leap of faith and began her own business, doing advertising and marketing for clients across the U.S. Her work has been included in design anthologies and PRINT Magazine’s Design Annual, and she’s received awards from the NAHB, Public Relations Society of America, the Webby Competition, and Art Directors Club of Indiana.
Kelly’s writing awards include first place in Inspirational Writing in the 2013 Writer’s Digest competition, and she was a finalist in the Cascade Oregon Christian Writers Contest in 2017. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, and she’s written for iBelieve.com, Christianity.com, (in)courage, Internet Café Devotions, Today’s Christian Woman, Today’s Christian Living, Tiferet Journal, Sasee Magazine, and numerous blogs.
She’s a redhead who does a pretty good job of controlling her temper, a strong believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. (Faith always wins, but some days the competition is fierce.) She’s been married to Tim for a quarter of a century, which officially makes him a saint. And she loves her three quirky grown-or-nearly-grown kids, Katie, Anna, and Bobby. Even if they do call her all the time. (Or maybe especially because they call her all the time.) But most of all, she loves being a Mia to Sully.
Kelly lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana. You may connect with her on her blog, kellyostanley.com, on Facebook (Kelly O’Dell Stanley, Author), or on Twitter (@kellyostanley).