I am going to go ahead and apologize up front because I already know this is going to step on toes and hurt feelings - but quite frankly I don't care. I'm tired of reading blogs and posts that elude to "all you gotta do is…." life has and will never be that simple - in my opinion. If it was there wouldn’t be so many people lost searching for their identities in a world full of chaos.
I find the "all you gotta do is" people either:
a) don't have anything to lose
b) always are talking about others when they make difficult choices
c) unhappy with where they are so they become life coaches to justify their own piss poor decisions
This is not a rant to discuss how hard life is and throw a pity party because we want to feel sorry for ourselves. I want to simply convey prayer is powerful, however it is not THE sole, surefire way of matriculating through life's harsh lessons. May is mental health awareness month - and I have been trying to figure out how I can write a sound, eloquent post about how important it is and why we need to seek wise council...but here we are. The truth of the matter is, we must first uncover what prayer really is.
Prayer (noun) - 'a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship, an earnest hope or wish.' -straight from the iPhone dictionary; not making it complicated
Now that's out of the way, let's talk about the posture of prayer. For example, if I really want to be married (I had to make this juicy) and I pray, "Heavenly Father, please let my husband find me asap so we can go ahead and get married. My clock is ticking and I'm ready to get this thang started; amen." I could be 1000% earnest and sincere however if that is not God's will for my life at this appointed time, all I am doing is making God a genie. Rubbing him to simply fulfill my own desires and not His.
A more effective, vulnerable prayer can be similar to the following, "Heavenly Father, you know my desire to seek companionship. Allow my thoughts and emotions toward marriage to be replaced with fully knowing and understanding your goodness. You will never withhold a good thing from me. During this time of singleness, I pray for a spirit of contentment. Reveal ways and behaviors I need to work on to become a better servant of You, wife, mother and friend. Let your thoughts become my thoughts. I pray against confusion and the urge to rush the process you have just for me; Amen."
Are you able to tell the difference? The amount of words or vocabulary used isn't valid. The humility and posture of the heart is what God is truly after.
Back to our first prayer example, there is a deeper meaning of that marriage desire - or any desire for that matter. It could be because I am looking for love that was not easily provided from men growing up. It could also stem from me always being overly willing to give myself to men with minimal return but still yearning for commitment..even if it is subpar. Naturally, I'm self aware - but the digging and revisiting of childhood memories that I've learned to bury are revealed from a magic, "spooky" word: therapy.
I am and will forever be an advocate. I experienced grief in a few ways toward the end of 2015 which lasted through mid 2016. Toward the end of that year, I felt those clouds of depression attempting to follow me. That's when I made the decision - find a black therapist quickly. I recognized I needed help. I needed someone to help me sort through my experiences without any bias. Our first few sessions, I knew I was walking in too prideful. Not willing to expose my most inner self to someone I just met - even if she had the degrees and experience to back it up. As time progressed, I made myself comfortable on that couch. I would still be reluctant to relive events in my life I haven't given any thought to for years, but I was willing to listen to her feedback and try the assignments given. And yes, when I get too far gone - she will pull her Bible out to reinforce our conversation.
Some of us may recognize and understand you can indeed pray and seek therapy simultaneously; that one is not dependent on the other. Unfortunately, there are many that believe otherwise.
"Have you no fear of God, no reverence for him? Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. Your own mouth condemns you, not I. Your own lips testify against you. “Were you the first person ever born? Were you born before the hills were made? Were you listening at God’s secret council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? What do you know that we don’t? What do you understand that we do not?” Job 15:4-9 NLT
Stop deceiving yourself. You don't know everything and that is okay; we were not designed to.
Wise council is not limited to those that reside in the four walls of a church. Doctors. Lawyers. Anyone that is in a position to serve others are all included in this category. The answer you may be seeking could very well reside in someone that is NOT in your immediate circle. By no means am I disreagarding the council of those within the church body. I have a spiritual mentor that provides great perspective that holds me accountable, while lifting me up in prayer. Just understand help can come from many different individuals and is not constricted to the religious sanctuary of your choice.
There are way too many of our people killing themselves because no one took the time to listen or disregarded the signs - which differ for everyone. It takes more than an altar call. More than a phone call every now and then. We are doing a disservice to our own community by not having open conversations about therapy and the importance of seeking help. It doesn't mean we are weak and unable to handle life. We just want to explore different methods to cope, accept and move forward with our lives - so we can extend the olive branch to assist others through their valleys and deserts.
Don't call the old school church mothers on me, but they would rather die with family secrets of incest, molestation and abuse thinking it's better off the next generation doesn't know. But we need to. We can't simply pray generational curses off effectively if we have no idea where they originated. Have those difficult discussions. Save a life; free someone that's been bound. There's no greater gift than that.