I grew up in a Christian home.
For as long as I can remember, I have been taught to love others as Christ loves the church (the church is really us, God’s creation…not the building with the cross on it). I have also been taught to pray.
I didn’t really start trusting God with my life until I was a teenager. Despite being brought up the way I was, I hadn’t really tapped into my faith yet. I had not lived through anything that challenged my faith. Not until I was a teenager going through my first heartbreak, and feeling a pain that literally made me have to cry out for God to save me (y’all know that PAIN).
I ended up praying that God would come into my life and save me from the path I was going down. I had tried everything else, and laying around crying while listening to sad R&B songs was not healing me.
I meant that prayer when I asked God to save me, and I believed there was power in it. I started to feel a peace come over me. It felt as if I could breathe a little easier. That pain I felt was still there, but my hopelessness had dissipated. That was GRACE coming over my life.
I would love to say that prayer was all it took. I prayed to be saved and that was all I had to do. I began a PERFECT life from that point on. But no, just praying is not all I had to do. I had to actually change.
I had to surrender my own ways and change my direction.
God gives us free will to choose, even after we have decided to invite Him into our lives. The difference was, now I was divinely connected to God and my decisions could be governed by His spiritual direction.
God is not going to just barge into your heart if you don’t want Him there. But once you invite Him, you gain a guidance that was absent before.
Think of it like having a GPS, the better path is highlighted for you. The road blocks are mapped out, so you can do your best to avoid them. However, you still get to choose if you want to take the recommended-highlighted route.
Sometimes you still end up going another way. Then BAM! You hit some traffic, because you thought you knew best. Now it’s going to take you an hour to get there when it could have taken 30 minutes.
Often times believers (in God) say, ‘just pray about it.’
As if, praying is the only responsibility we have.
But, prayer ALONE does not work. When you pray and begin to receive direction (answered prayers), most times it requires MORE from you.
It requires us to FOLLOW the direction. That often means we need to turn off of the path we think is best, and get on the highlighted route. If you’re not willing to follow the guidance, prayer won’t work unless you do.
“Dear God, help me to have a better attitude…”
But, every time you’re presented with an opportunity to practice patience, you SNAP.
“Dear God, help me to get a better job…”
But, every time you are given time to job search you end up scrolling on social media for hours.
“Dear God, help me to deal with my depression…”
But, every time you hear about resources like therapy, you quickly defend why you don’t need it.
“Dear God, help me to be better about saving money…”
But, every time you’re asked to go to happy hour, you say, “yaasssss!” – GUILTY!!
See what I mean?
When we pray and God answers, we have to be willing to change our path. Otherwise, praying alone doesn’t work…unless we do!
I pray about everything…down to my self-care practices.
But one thing I know is, all the self-care in the world (ALONE) has no power over my soul. Without my faith in God, all of those efforts would be empty ones.
Everything I do is built on the foundation that Jesus Christ is the God of my life; my steps are ordered. My path is highlighted. I believe God provides resources to sustain us through life. But. it’s up to us to acknowledge and apply. God won’t FORCE us.
My self-care is supported by soul-care. One without the other has never worked for me. Both require me to stay on the highlighted path.
So, the next time you decide to ‘just pray about,’ also be ready to FOLLOW the highlighted route.