I still remember the first time I prayed for reflexes.
Maybe I was praying for discernment, maybe spontaneity, maybe Christ-likeness...
But the word that came out spoken in the darkness was reflexes.
I was in my early twenties. I had been out with friends during a season of life when my home life was so consuming and physically exhausting that I hated going out. Every once in a blue moon, Neil would gently nudge & my conscience would remind me that I should make an effort to make friends and I would grudgingly leave the house and my babies and go out with a bunch of girls.
That's how it was - I wasn't very friendly or gracious or lovely or loving...
But I went - and I found that I was no good at conversation. Small talk grated, and big issues ignited a passion that made others uncomfortable.
I wasn't fun.
So I would sit red faced, trying to jump in to conversations that either didn't interest me - or interested me too much...
And my reflexes were poor.
Sometimes I would say too much and my words sounded like they were harsh and lacking love. Sometimes I would say nothing when the situation begged for a few words of mercy - or truth. How many conversations was I a part of when truth rang clear and unspoken in my mind... because it was awkward or heavy or altogether impossible to lovingly put forth?*
Every time, ('every time' is generous - these outings were so sparsely sprinkled over those years that they probably only happened a handful of times) I would go home to a silent house... I would tip toe to my room and my bed would be full with my huge husband and any number of bedraggled blond heads attached to soft little bodies. I would transport each little friend to their bed before climbing in beside Neil... and in the dark as condemnation loomed, reminding me of my failure to 'wear Christ' (Romans 13:14) I would beg God for better reflexes.
Reflexes... like when sin is exposed between friends and love is the first emotion witnessed rather than revulsion.
Reflexes... like when you wrap arms around open wounds - recklessly refusing to 'think through' anything - ministering as the Holy Spirit prompts.
Reflexes... like when you don't have to think WWJD because your reflex - your first instinctive reaction - shows the world that you're related to Him.
Like Father, like daughter became my prayer.
These are the types of reflexes that are formed when we, "put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (ephesians 4:22-24)
Reflexes! Gimme reflexes!
I want to be like You, Father...
And as I learned to listen, my reflexes have improved. He has whispered truth to me in my dreams, as I've read His word, as I've met with Him in worship and prayer again and again as the years passed by- and He has proved Himself a faithful teacher.
And He saves me... He calls me to a holy life. Not because of anything I've done, but because of His own purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:9) He calls me His girl. He lavishes me with love. (1 John 3:1)
And it makes me smile that in response, my reflex is to feel gratitude.
*disclaimer - I still struggle with this in conversations... :) Still wrestling to find my way and what God wants from me...