Do you have days when you have no self-confidence? Are there times when you wonder how anyone even likes you? Do you have times in your life when you look in the mirror and don’t like the person staring back at you?
These days happen. I’m not saying they are in regular rotation in my mind, but they do tend to happen. I doubt myself. I forget why I’m trying to accomplish the things I once had a burning passion to achieve. I become crippled under fear and forget that I can create wonderful things.
I pray every morning. One addition I added to my prayer list a few months ago was “self-image.” Previously, I had a self image that was probably overly confident, but I wholeheartedly believed in my self. I had a determination that nothing was going to hold me down or knock me off my game. But as I’ve gotten older, my confidence in certain areas of my life have been shaken.
For example, I struggle with my physical appearance some days. Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m at a healthy weight and that I’m managing my body as best as I can with three small, energetic boys. However, some days I can’t help but see other women my age (sans kids) that have these killer bodies. What kills me even more is when they do have kids and they’re still rocking a rock hard body.
This is when I have to step back and let God step in. I’m not those other women. I am me. God knows me. And He loves me just the way that I am. He knows my heart. He knows my soul. He knows how hard I’ve fought to get into the shape I’m in today.
So when I pray in the mornings for my “self-image”, I ask God to give me the strength and power to love myself the way He loves me. Unconditionally. Inside and out. With no questions.
Prayer is something I’ve mentioned here several times. When I pray, how I pray, and what to pray for are just a few aspects I’ve shared. Today, I’d like to tell you about realizing when God has answered a prayer.
This may sound hokey to some people, especially if you are new to prayer or a skeptic in general, but the easiest way to know when a prayer has been answered is to daily write your prayers down.
I write the same prayer list every day. Most of the time its contents are identical to the day before, but sometimes I add people’s names who may be struggling with something I just found out about. Sometimes I add tragic events to the list, asking for God to guide the people affected when they aren’t quite sure what their next move should be. And then, sometimes prayers are answered.
My husband found out yesterday that he’s going to be getting a raise at his job effective at the first of the year. I was extending my gratitude in prayer this morning as I was working my way down my prayer list and then I stopped and started laughing. The item on the list that brought me to laughter was the debt line item I’d been praying for.
You see, my husband and I have been trying to pay our student loans off so they are gone forever! I’ve been praying very specifically for the amount that I thought would help us put a huge dent in that goal. His raise was just shy of the amount I’ve been praying about for almost six months!
Had I not kept track of this specific prayer and the exact number, I’d probably chalk his raise up to a boss’ kindness or giving in the holiday spirit. But that’s not correct. This is an answered prayer.
I encourage you to write prayers down, even if it’s only on a weekly basis and you keep the same list throughout the week. I’ve seen time and time again where God has answered our prayers. You’ll be amazed at how awesome this process can be!
I don’t take medicines unless I’m burning up with a fever or the pain somewhere in my body has finally got to the unbearable threshold. I’ve always been this way. Vitamins, supplements, and the occasion vitamin C are my daily pills.
But there are people who are dependent on medications they truly need (not the ones that are toxic and destructive). If you asked one of these people how important their medications are to them, I’m sure they’d tell you they are a completely different person without them. They need them. They physically and mentally don’t feel like themselves unless they get the proper dose each day.
This is how I feel about gratitude and prayer.
Sure, I can live without doing it. I won’t die. I’m not going to collapse one day because I forgot to get down on my knees and pray to God above. But I know I won’t be myself. The signs won’t show up immediately. It’s okay if I miss a dose once or twice ever so often. But it can be detrimental to my well-being if I don’t get my “meds” for several days.
I turn into a person my family doesn’t recognize. I turn into a person I don’t even recognize.
Gratitude and prayer are my stabilizers. They keep me grounded and my head clear. Their ability to steer me in the right mindset has proven more effective than any dose of anything else.
Try it some time. I promise it can do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
We all watch people in our lives make bad decisions. Sometimes it’s as simple as them getting a speeding ticket on the way to work. Sometimes it’s watching them stay in an abusive relationship. Sometimes it’s them settling for less than when they could have the life they have always dreamed.
Watching someone we love struggle isn’t easy. Especially when it’s from a distance. Hearing from other people that your friend is known as one of the “druggies” in town doesn’t help either.
I wish I could convince her that she has so much potential! Why does she keep throwing her life away? Why is she hanging around with people that are no good for her? Why won’t she listen to me?
I wish I could sit here and say I’ve been able to say all of that to my friend, but the truth is I haven’t talked to her since May. She won’t call me back. Whether she’s decided I don’t belong in her new life or she truly is busy with other things, I’m scared for my friend.
What I really need is an Al-Anon meeting.
Her decisions are completely out of my control. But still, that’s incredibly hard to accept when you love someone and want to see them happy.
Maybe she’ll wake up one day soon and realize she’s living in a toxic environment. Or maybe she won’t. All I can do is continue to call and check on her, even when those calls are never answered and voicemails never returned.
One day at a time…
I’m not sure what type of relationship you have with your Higher Power (HP for short), but I know that sometimes I get a clear and concise message that I know was meant specifically for me.
For example, I’ve been working on creating a website. For months, I’ve created/managed/published/modified everything on this site myself. I built it from a pre-selected layout I chose and went from there. Now let me be clear, I am not a web designer. I am not a graphic designer. I have the ability to use Google to my advantage to figure things out, but that’s about it.
I started praying for guidance about someone helping me build a more professional looking site. And I kept praying. And I kept praying. “Am I just supposed to figure this out on my own? Do I need to hire one of these fancy people that I can’t afford to make me a really cool website? Do I need to scrap the whole thing and go get a real job?” All of these questions crossed my mind several times a day.
Then one day, several months after my initial prayer for guidance, I met someone by happenstance at a workshop I was attending. It was no coincidence that this woman sat right next to me, my mom, and my grandmother. As I was busy helping coordinate the event, all of the ladies at my table began to chat and one conversation led to another. Come to find out, this woman was a well seasoned web designer! What?!? By the time I came to rejoin our table, she had already jotted down her contact information and encouraged me to email her as soon as I was ready to take the next step.
Some may see this as coincidence, but I see it as God’s divine appointment. We don’t know when they’ll come, but I try to be as prepared for them as I can be. So I keep praying for things to happen in my life and I keep encouraging others to be on the lookout for these events to happen in their own lives.
Be alert to the people you meet and interact with everyday. You never know what message God is trying to deliver to you.
Have you ever been to therapy before? I have. Several times actually. I went by myself once when my husband was still drinking and I was on the verge of filing for divorce if he didn’t stop. I went another time when my husband found out I had an affair several years ago (in the prime of all of the drinking). And then my husband and I went together for marriage counseling. Yes, I’ve been to therapy. I know the drill.
Lately though I feel like it’s time to go back for another round. I struggle with a lot of things internally that I don’t believe I should suffer through alone. But who am I supposed to share these deep thoughts with?
Some people say, “You should share everything with your spouse!” We both know the crazy that lives inside each of our heads so we decided a long time ago that we share things when they are necessary or really need to be spoken.
Some people say, “I share everything with my best friend…everything!” Though I do share a lot with my best girlfriend, I don’t believe she would quite understand some of the things I struggle with since we aren’t always on the same page. Plus, I can tell when she holds back and doesn’t say something she really wants to say to me.
Some people say, “You should just pray about everything and God will work it all out.” I’ll be perfectly honest, I pray every morning. I pray about all of the crazy in my head. I pray about all of the people I care about. I pray about my hopes and my dreams. Most of all, I pray for all of the burdens on my heart. But I still feel this nagging that I should go speak with someone. I need more guidance.
Maybe this is you too. Maybe it’s not. Maybe you think therapy is a joke. But from someone who has had my fair share of counseling sessions, I say try it if you are left with minimal options on dealing with your inner demons. Recovery meetings are great and I’m sure they are the outlet most addicts turn to when they need answers, but I also believe therapy is a safe place to be brutally honest with yourself.
Talking about prayer is something that can catch some people off guard. “Oh no, what is she about to say? We’re going to a real personal level here and if I don’t agree with what she’s saying then it’s bye-bye forever!” Anyone else ever had this thought? No? Just me. Okay, well I promise I’m not going to preach at you on how you should change your prayers or your beliefs. I’m simply going to share a story with you.
I was struggling through a very difficult time in my life and in my marriage. We were desperately seeking to make things work, but we knew it wasn’t going to happen on our own accord. Stubbornness and not apologizing quickly were our strong suits and neither one of us were ready to budge. But instead of playing the blame game forever, possibly ending our marriage as a result, we decided to start praying together.
Now, maybe some of you grew up in households where prayers were often said together, out loud, and in your daily routine, but neither one of us grew up that way. We prayed in church, at holiday meals, and on our wedding day as a new couple in the eyes of God. But neither of us were used to praying out loud extremely personal feelings, or with someone else right there to witness it nonetheless.
We had decided if we were going to make our marriage work and keep this family together, we needed some divine intervention. So we resolved to try prayer. That day, as we lay in our bed together with our eyes closed and an awkward stillness in the air, we were truly connected together. We both felt vulnerable and slightly stupid with what we said in our prayers, but we both honestly poured out our hearts and gave our situation over to God.
Believe me, we still struggle to this day with marital problems from time to time, but now we have a new tool in our toolbox. We now know how to calm our anxieties when things get to be too overwhelming or when we don’t even know where to begin to fix the mess.
Maybe it’s time you tried it out for yourself. Maybe not. Maybe you aren’t quite ready to pray with someone else, but I urge you to do it for yourself at least. It can totally change your life.