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I’ve been listening to audio books during my morning and evening commutes. It’s a good way to fit books into my life and redeem time spent on the road. So far, I’ve listened to some good books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (in preparation for the movie), One of Our Thursdays Is Missing and, just finished today, The Sweetheart of Prosper County.

I thought this book would be mostly fluff, just a sweet sounding story, if anything. I honestly didn’t think it would provide much food for thought, just a means of passing time while driving. And it is a light read (or listen), overall (I love her comments about wanting to be a ‘hood ornament in the no-Jesus Christmas parade’), but some food for thought got mixed in with the fluff and thin story-line.

Austin Grey’s mama has always told her, “Pray the problem,” meaning, tell God exactly what the problem is and leave it at that. God knows far more than we ever could and only He knows the best solution to the problem at hand.

So, she prays the problem. “Dean Ottmer is PRESENT,” referring to the boy who makes her life miserable with bullying.

And she learns that God’s solutions aren’t always the ones we expect or would pray for, as we so often pray solutions. Dean Ottmer doesn’t move away, he doesn’t reform, but he does keep bullying, teasing and threatening her. That doesn’t mean that a solution doesn’t come. Instead, Austin grows stronger and more confident and she stands up to him. God changes her through the problem and provides the solution in her new found confidence.

I decided to take a page out of this book and apply it to my life. You know what I’ve learned? I don’t like praying the problem and letting God come up with the solution. “Work drives me insane,” I tell God and I bite my tongue before I can add on: “Please heal my co-worker of pneumonia stat. Please let the pricing specialists leave our department soon or stop being so noisy. Please let so-and-so stop being a pain in the neck. Please keep me from going insane!”

I struggle with letting Him decide on a solution because I’m nervous that it will require change on my part rather than with others that make up the problem. I’m afraid that He’ll let the problem stay and decide that I’m the one that needs to change. I’m the one that needs to change my reaction and learn patience or something all spiritual like that.

Bah humbug.

Still, I’ve found myself praying it. Dear God, family drama! Dear God, migraine. Dear God, month end at work. Dear God, HEAT WAVE. (Dear God, no time to write blog posts!)

It’s kind of freeing, if terrifying. Many of the problems I face on some days are ones that I have no control over. But I find myself wishing that I did, wishing that just by saying something or telling God my ideas and solutions, that it will turn out just as I think it should. I know I can’t fix it and it’s incredibly frustrating; my mind goes around and around in circles and thinks over all the aspects of the particular problem and how I’d handle each aspect…but I’m not in control. Just praying the problem: God, You know the problem! is freeing in a soul-soothing way. If only I didn’t keep forgetting this, if only I didn’t keep trying to come up with solutions and remember just to pray the problem and trust God for the solution in His way and His timing.

Maybe that’s the kind of changing in the problem the book talks about. Changing my struggle and desire for control and turning it into trusting and letting go. Hm.

Just to remember that, I suppose. Now pardon me, I’m going to go tell God about a problem: Dear God, it’s broiling again today. You know that little thing called the weather…?