Thursday, June 22, 2017

Prayer Misconception #1: "It has to be just right"

            Misconception Number 1:  Prayer has to be “just right” or God won’t like it.  And that makes me freeze up because I don’t know what to say. 
            I have to say honestly that I used to believe this.  It wasn’t so much a spelled-out, conscious thought.  But it was always there in the back of mind, causing me to edit my prayers or to try to word them in pleasing, faithful-sounding ways. 
            I felt like there were so many things that Christians were supposed to be - faithful, joyful, trusting, not envious, not complaining, not doubtful, etc. - that I couldn’t just be honest about what I was feeling and thinking. 

Prayer Misconceptions: Intro

            I think that many of us in America nowadays do not see the immense value of prayer.  And so we do not engage in it like we should.  And this might be because of misconceptions we have about what it is and what it isn’t.  (Or it could be because we are preoccupied with self and being self-sufficient.)   
            In the next several posts, I want to look at some of the misconceptions that many of us have about prayer.  The things that prevent us from praying like we should.  And many of these come from my own experience.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Conversation with the Lord about Anxiety

            Years ago, I was going through a really rough time.  (One of many.)  I was panicked about our fruitless search for a new home (we needed to move our 6-person family out of the moldy, 2-bedroom rental we were in) and about my young son’s Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (he never even had a bottle or anything sugary to drink).  And I was a wreck! 

            But as I ruminated on my fears one day - conversing with myself about all that was wrong and what a failure I felt like - I began to talk with the Lord also.  (I didn’t actually “hear” His answers so much as I felt them and thought them, as though the Holy Spirit was helping me understand God’s answers.)  And the conversation in my head – my prayer – went something like this:       

Sunday, June 4, 2017

How I Broke!

            (FYI - this is a long post!  A really long post.  Did I mention it will be a long post?) 
            I had the pleasure of talking briefly with a friend the other day about her journey through depression/anxiety and about mine.  It was so refreshing to be able to talk a bit about my struggles, to not feel like I had to answer “I’m fine.  How are you?”  She actually brought up her struggles first, and it gave me permission to talk about mine. 
            For the past year and more, I have only been able to be honest with and share my struggles with one friend.  (Thank God for her!  What a blessing!).  And with everyone else, it’s always been “I’m fine.  How are you?” 
            And I could tell that it has been hurting me to keep it so bottled up inside.  I mean, when you talk to yourself every day, pretending that someone has asked you “How are you?” and you answer “I’m fine.  I’m fine” (and when you do this a couple times every day), you know you are not fine.  You know that you are bursting with stuff you want to tell everyone and anyone. 
            But there’s no one to tell (except for that one wonderful friend). 
            And that’s why you practice your lie of “I’m fine” - hoping that you look strong and pulled-together, and yet hoping that others will see through it and pull the truth out of you. 
            It’s not that I am trying to bottle it up or hide it from people.  It’s just that it doesn’t come up and that most people haven’t “earned” the right to hear my struggles and that talking with people has been stressful.  So I kinda gave it up.  Retreated.  Pulled back into a shell.  It just felt safer and simpler. 
            But it was so refreshing to talk openly last night, to not feel like I had to temper what I was saying or hide it or polish it up.  She understood because she has been there, too.