Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Psalms 143:8, 10 NLT
You’d think speaking to God would be easier. I mean, He already knows what you’re going to say, right? So, why is praying so difficult? You know what I think? I think I find praying difficult because I have a tendency to get caught up in trying to use just the right words. I’m a writer and a perfectionist, so I fall into that trap ALL THE TIME when I write, but I never really thought about how similarly I treat praying.
See, when I get stuck on a word, I get S-T-U-C-K… or, at least, I used to. I’ve gotten better about saying, “Never mind, just get the idea down. That’s the important part.” Did you notice what happened? My focus shifted. I went from focusing on saying everything perfectly to focusing on saying what I needed to say in whatever words came first. I finally realized the PURPOSE was far more important than the method.
Guess what? The same principle applies to praying! God doesn’t care if we use big, frilly language that sounds like it came out of a poet’s pen or if you say, “Hey, God, I love you. I need your help with _____. I’m giving it to You. Do Your thing. You da best!” Now, that last part is not how I pray but not because it’s wrong. That’s just not how I talk. So, why’d I include it as an example? Simple: I have had campers pray a very similar prayers. God loved those campers’ prayer just as much He loves the fancy prayers we’re all so accustomed to; He may have even enjoyed it more for its honesty. The point is God wants to hear from you, and I mean the real you.
Yes, be reverent to who God is. He is your Heavenly Father, but that doesn’t mean you have to speak to Him like He’s some cold, cut-off stranger Judge to whom you always have to say “yes, sir,” “no, sir,” “I’m sorry, sir,” etc. There’s no need to be as stiff as you possibly can be. Yes, God is God, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the Ruler of All, but He is also:
- Your FRIEND
- Your FATHER
- Your HEALER
- Your PROVIDER
- Your REDEEMER
- Your COMFORTER
- Your CONFIDANTE
He is everything and everyone you need. He is your God, your personal God. You don’t have to hide anything from Him, and you definitely don’t need to make yourself or your speech up to impress Him. He knows you. He loves you – just as you are. Say what you mean in words you understand and feel comfortable saying. Just talk to Him. He’s listening. He’s waiting to talk to you, too.
Sometimes, it’s good to just be. When you keep yourself going every instant of the day, you forget to take “you” time. At first, you’re still fine without it, but eventually that lifestyle of “Go! Go! Go!” catches up to you, and you just can’t handle it.
You may think “No, not me. I can handle it, but I’ll let you know right now that you’re wrong. You may be able to deal with the stress “better” and longer than others, but no one was made to be mentally, emotionally, or spiritually prepared to handle that constant movement. Something or someone always ends up forgotten or neglected. Quite often, that someone is God, and that something is our spiritual health.
God did not call any of us to be constantly on the go and busy. His purpose for our lives never leaves Him out in the cold. If your plans leave Him out of the equation, it’s time to reevaluate. He’s a jealous God. He doesn’t appreciate being placed on the wayside when you chase your dreams with such force that you forget who brought you to them.
Take time for yourself. Take time to breathe and experience how blessed you are. Take time to talk with your Father. He misses your conversations together.
It’s okay to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to be busy. Just don’t be so busy that you neglect the important things: family, friends, self, and – above all – God.
Y’all, God is just SO good. I’m wrapped palpably in His presence right now. He’s doing some great things in my life. I don’t know where I’m heading, but I know I have a trustworthy guide to lead me to my new destination. There’s a quote by E. L. Doctorow that says, “It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” That’s kind of how it is with God. We can’t see the whole plan, but we can see enough to take the next step. All we have to do is trust our road, which is the path God has laid out for us. It’s when we stop following the road that we start wrecking.
I pray guidance and clarity over each and every one of you that you will be able to see the path ahead of you, that you will pay attention when God reveals to you with his light like Moses paid attention to the burning bush. I pray peace and trust into your spirit that you will have no doubt in your steps, even though you can’t see far ahead of you. But, most of all, I pray courage into your hearts that you will keep going when the path gets steep, when the path gets bumpy, and when there are so many twists and turns you think you must be lost. He’s got you! So long as you hold onto Him and keep your eye on His light and His road for you, you will not ever be lost.