Recently, I’ve seen major spiritual growth and recovery in multiple “problem areas” of my life that I’ve tried time and time again to change for years. I haven’t tried harder – in fact I’ve probably never tried less. I have simply changed the way I pray for aid and guidance.
My prayers would often begin, “Lord, help me”, “Grant me the strength to”, or “God may I start”. I would pray often and fervently. And yet, I would fail over and over again. My motivation was able to push me through a few failures, but eventually, it left me in one of two camps: either I was filled with shame, regret, and was convinced I was a terrible person, or I would direct my frustration at God for setting up a world in which the wrong choices are so easy and the right ones are so hard (and on top of that He didn’t seem to be hearing my prayers).
It became hard to continue and was pushing me farther away from God, unsure of Him and myself. My prayer life ceased to exist. What good is prayer if all it leaves you feeling is a. shameful, b. mad at God, or c. doubting His existence at all? And so I sat at the crossroads, unable to move towards atheism but beginning to grow weary following God and tired of trying.
It wasn’t until I took a good look at my requests for aid that things began to change. Who was the main doer is all of my prayers? Me. I. Myself. My conversations with God came from the assumption that I’m doing the work and getting close to success, but I just need a little extra push to get myself up the hill. That’s not a savior. That’s just a friend you’d ask, “Hey buddy, you mind giving me a hand over here real quick?”
My breakthrough happened when I realized I am not truly in control of my transformation. The only part of the transformation I have any control over is my submission to God’s will. It was really in looking at Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous that inspired me. It states, “[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” And that’s what we are – insane in our sin. God can restore us to sanity but not by our own doing. It is God that does the doing within us.
Humility is the cornerstone of the Christian life and of the Cross itself. It is only in admitting that we don’t know the way that we find it. God doesn’t desire to be just someone who gives you a little push when you need it but a savior who rescues you from the pit of despair. Not because He needs to be the hero but because He wants to strip us of the delusion that we were making any progress up that hill to begin with. It is only by fully submitting to God that we become our true selves that He created us to be, wonderfully made in His image.
My prayers are now empty, void of my own desires. I attempt to only consent to the Spirit dwelling within me. Though empty, they are fuller than ever because I have come to believe that it is God alone who can restore me. I am not in control. It is not God who gets in the way of my healing, but I who gets in His way. My prayers are still far from perfect, but God is restoring me to sanity.
Work less and trust more. Fully submit to God and allow Him to push you all the way up the hill, resting in His love. It is amazing to see that the more helpless we realize we are, the more help we receive. I think as Christians we often equate “carrying your cross” with grunting through labor and bearing the burden. But the Cross had nothing to do with what Christ did but what he allowed to be done. He could have saved himself. Instead, he humbled himself and fully submitted to the will of the Father. Let us all submit to the Father’s will and let His will be done rather than our own.
Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback
Thank you for your support!