[“I don’t understand – what’s the point of praying? It’s not like we can change God’s mind.”]
When I pray — when I ask God for what I want — I am opening myself up for blessing.
I am trusting that God is capable of meeting my needs, my desires. Beyond capable, even. I am trusting that He wants to.
But, just as possibly, I am opening myself up for disappointment. For “no.” For dissatisfaction.
I am reminding myself that I am vulnerable. That I can be hurt and confused by circumstances. That I am at the mercy of my God.
[“So you’re telling me that prayer is all about our attitudes? It has nothing to do with God’s actions?”]
If I do not pray — if I choose instead not to commune with the Creator, not to bare my wants before the Lord — then I cannot say I am hurt. I cannot say that God withheld from me what I am convinced would be good for me. I cannot say that he told me “no” or directed my life down a path I never would have chosen.
If I do not pray, I can convince myself of my own strength.
I didn’t want it anyway.
Like the fox and the grapes, I will slink away in sadness cloaked in falsehoods.
I didn’t want to sing.
I didn’t want a home, a farm.
I didn’t want him.
I didn’t want little blonde babies.
I didn’t want to be a writer.
If I never want, I will never be disappointed. It has very similar outcomes to not loving, really: If I never love, I will never be hurt.
[“Don’t we choose? Don’t we get to decide what our lives look like?”]
I’ve gotten good at prayers of gratitude; ever since my blood clot, I look to the sky, see the peachy-pink shades of a sunset, and words of thankfulness tumble from my lips. It isn’t hard for me to remember the Lord’s goodness in what He has already done.
I haven’t yet mastered the trust that God remains good regardless of what happens. And so, I come to the place I often find myself. The place where I must choose to live fuller – and probably be disappointed – or live safer, and walk the earth with shells of avoided disappointments.
Their very emptiness is enough to make me cry.
~ ~ ~
I prayed for the first time in weeks.
Yes, I’ve had random thoughts to the Lord, thanking Him, asking Him, talking to Him.
But I have been avoiding my desires. I’ve been avoiding admitting there are things I want. And I’ve been avoiding telling Him that I know He is in control.
Because if I don’t think He’s in control, He can’t allow (or not allow) things that will disappoint.
[“I just feel like He’s been removing all my reasons for going. All the reasons I thought I was doing this don’t exist anymore. I don’t understand.”]
I prayed for the first time today.
The first time in weeks.
And I asked Him for what I want. I do not know yet what the outcome will be. This could go the way of the beach house. This could go the way of so many of my life’s sister ships.
I do not know.
But I have prayed, and opened myself up to both the possibility of blessing and the possibility of disappointment.