“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” 1 Peter 3:10-12
Visiting my grandmother, who is suffering from the awful disease of dementia and very near the end of her life here on earth, is never an easy thing for me to do. Last Saturday, before going into her long term care facility to sit with her for a bit, I took a few extra minutes to find strength in God’s word but as I did that, I found myself inside a bible study in the Bible app on my phone and it is on the topic of finding Presence Filled Prayer.
Man, did it ever strike a chord with me…
The first two words in the devotional were simply “Be honest”. I have to admit that after reading those two words, I was already uncomfortable to the point that I didn’t even want to continue. Sounds silly…but it’s true. However, I kept reading…
I’m not naturally a dishonest person. Meaning, I don’t make up stories about my life or lie to people just because and for the most part, I’m pretty straight forward with everyone in my life. But with God? I’m not sure I can say that I have been completely honest…
The author of the devotional went on to talk about his struggles with finding the courage it takes to be honest. Let’s face it, honesty is scary and risky all in one. He talks about how he walks through his life often wondering if people will love him if they knew the real him? What if he stops building the facades and all his quirks show? What if they reject him?
As I was reading his words that I thought….did this guy write this about me?
Let me be completely honest – at this point, I had my “ah ha” moment and I hadn’t even made it into scripture yet!
You see, all of my life I have struggled with prayer. I can sit in silence for an hour and sometimes, literally, not come up with words that I feel are authentic in prayer to God. In fact, sometimes I can’t even come with ANY WORDS and end up “meditating” or even apologizing out loud and saying “You know my heart Lord. Help me to find the words”…..and nothing comes. It’s a frustrating cycle and is the real reason why I tend to avoid prayer.
To some of you who are prayer savvy, you may not understand why. It’s something that I have always struggled with. I grew up in a religion where prayer was not spoken from the heart but simply recited. So I can recite all sorts of prayers that I remember but when it comes to sitting down and truly opening up in prayer…let’s just say I really need some work in that area of my faith.
Then it dawned on me – how in the world can I expect to have a genuine, authentic, heart to heart conversation with God if I don’t 100% show up authentically being….me?
Because God knows. He knows every single time when I only show up with parts that I want Him to see. Except He doesn’t embarrass me or point out my flaws…Let’s face it, He knows more about me than I know about myself. Yet He just waits for the real Janelle to show up. And like the author says, God is frustratingly patient. He never rushes me. He never leaves me. He simply waits.
The only way to truly experience God is to be honest with Him. True connection takes vulnerability and it’s one of the most difficult parts to a relationship but it’s also vital.
God’s unconditional love is waiting for you but it’s not waiting to meet the version of you that you wish you were. It’s waiting for the imperfectly “perfect in Christ“, real authentic, vulnerable YOU that He knew from the beginning of your very existence.
And even though He knows me so well and because of that, I need no introduction….for the first time in a very long time, I’m excited to introduce the real Janelle to Him!
Thank you for your steady, unwavering, unconditional love. Thank you for never failing to show up to meet me wherever I am. I thank You for your patience and Your grace, Lord. You know me better than I could ever begin to understand. Help me Lord to find the courage to continue on this path of truth and honesty. Break me open, Lord, so that I can learn to trust that I am safe in Your precious arms. I ask all this through Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior. Amen