Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gratituesday: Could you, would you pray?

I spend a lot of time by myself. As a stay at home mom, I am in my head almost all day. I don't turn the television on unless I am sick (never) and I rarely talk on the phone. Unless I physically leave my house, I talk to very few people during the day.
(I do talk to the dogs, but they are poor conversationalists, very one sided in their topics).

precious, but not that bright or witty

I would like to say I pray, but the reality is that I don't as often as I should. Sometimes,  I pray in the shower, it is very serene there and very white, with little to distract my twenty first century mind. 
However, I don't really pray like I wish I would, like I wish I could.
I mean how hard is it to come out of my mind and talk to God? 
In my head it is me thinking of creative things I COULD be doing. Of delicious meals I will be making. Of lovely clothes that I wish I owned. In my head it is very easy to be comfortable and numb. 

me...in my head...

Talking to God is awkward and intimidating. First of all, I don't really think He could possibly care about all the monotonous things I want to talk about (me, myself and I). Second, all I do is whine, whine, whine. 
Third, by the time I get to the end of the conversation, I have forgotten why I started it in the first place. I mean, really, I talk to dogs, for Pete's sake.

However, I know that I really NEED to talk to God and that He does care about the little things...I mean, "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." (Luke 12:7) I have to admit, if He knows that little detail, He must care that I am sad my kids are growing up, that my finger hurts where I burned it, that my husband carries a very heavy burden at work and I feel there is little I do to lessen it. 

And the whining...well, I am whiny. "Little Tanya Whiner" didn't get the name being stoic. So, why shouldn't the Being responsible for making me hear my constant whine about every random thing.  And the rambling, well, I think anything is better than nothing, right? 

I believe in prayer, I know the effects of it are God's grace and presence being felt (He is always there, waiting). I see the devout women that I know that pray daily, openly and seek Him out. The light that shines from them is amazing. And surely, I am hoping, fingers crossed, that they feel like I do. That God has better things to do, like protect soldiers, and watch out for orphans, rather than listen to me ramble awkwardly. 

I am very conflicted, always in my faith. I feel that God does not make horrible things happen. But I also struggle to see how good faithful people can be allowed to suffer. What is the meaning of all of this? If I pray and pray for something to change, why doesn't it? If I ask and ask for a burden to be lifted, why isn't it? If I ask for healing, why do I not feel it?  I repent my sins, but still feel the guilt. 

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) traveled around the globe looking for redemption and peace in her life. God led her to feed her body, quiet her soul and find love AND Him. Epic, surely, but very painful. 

Is the key to  her journey that she laid on her bathroom floor, asking, begging for help? It took years for her to find her path. Then over a year to get on it and travel toward healing. I sense that my issues are me, my failure to "stick with it" and my impatience with God's answer ( or my inability to get out of my own head and listen for Him). Reading Elizabeth's book lead me a few years ago to change how I prayed. I started asking God for what I wanted and listening for His replies.  The amazing thing is that I actually think it made a difference. Praying became easier, and I prayed more often and with better focus. I have gotten out of that habit, mostly because it is not an autopilot easy way to pray.

As I start this new year, my quest is to return to that exercise in being patient and open. To be less in my own head and more in God's world. I am ever so grateful that I have to opportunity to try, try again to get it right and build that relationship. God's grace receives me every time.

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