Tag Archives: prayer

Why I want to pray with you, but probably won’t

1. I’m sort of tired of being the one who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  Not because I did it lots and lots, but more because I spent quite some time where it was kind of my job to pray with people and for people.  Its true, I appear to have gotten a good desire somehow twisted because it wore me down and it shouldn’t have.

 

2. I’m worried you’ll think I’m the sort of person who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  These people know what they are doing, they are Sorted to a degree which means they’ll ask that question.  I’m sort of tired of being the one people think is Sorted.

 

3.  I don’t want you to think I THINK I’m the sort of Sorted person who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  Because then you might inwardly laugh or sneer as you see so very, very, painfully clearly that I am NOT that sort of person.

 

4.  These then lead on to the fact that it somehow feels not very avant garde for us 30 somethings to pray together.  Aren’t we all a little too old and wise for such evangelical (spit) earnestness?  Aren’t we all a little too nonchalant for all that?  If I say ‘Do you want to pray?’ I might show myself up as someone so stuck in the past of what we called ‘fellowship’ as we grew up…

 

5. While being afraid of my doubts that the prayer will go un-answered, I am even more afraid of YOUR doubts about the prayer.  I’m afraid that this dynamic will push me back into the role described in number 1, thus spiralling through the whole thing again.

 

6. Then the simple reason that the culmination of all of the above and its twisted thinking and confusion will come to a head in an earnest, heartfelt cry for help from the One who might just do that, which will only serve to unveil fragility and let loose tears.  

 

And that’s just messy.

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Back by popular demand: The problem with being single

Okay, so on the train the other day, my friend added weight to some of the rambling thoughts that this original ‘singleness’ post contained and so that, along with various requests and encouragements means I’m posting it again…

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Am I brave enough to post this…???

I think (in my naive, not-quite-thought-through way) one of the biggest difficulties in being single (once you get over what other people think) is not having that one person to talk to when you’re having ‘a day’. So, like, today my heart is full of a bunch of stuff I don’t know how to explain. Stuff I’m excited about, stuff I’d love to see happen, stuff I need to explore more (I’m reluctant to use the word ‘passion’ for fear of people thinking I’m talking about sex. I’m not.) But, you know – having that one person you can phone at any point who’ll just know where you’re coming from and know just what to ask to help you explain yourself. Or something.

But, you know – then I was thinking… If it were me who had to be that person at the other end of the phone, I’d feel a lot of pressure. A LOT of pressure. I mean, would I always get it? Would I always ask the right questions and have the right answers? I don’t think so.

Methinks then perhaps I have (yet another) wrong perception of how relationships work. I’m sure its not just a girl thing – we can’t be the only ones with skewed ideas. But I seriously DO think that Hollywood movies etc have a lot to answer for. “Female Porn” (could this be the dodgiest looking link ever?!?  promise its nothing untoward!) I’ve heard it called – romantic movies that play with the emotions and perpetuate the ‘Prince Charming’ myth making girls everywhere dissatisfied with their lot. I’ve never really been all that into chick flicks, but I’m still aware that a lot of my ideas about how men (and women) should be in relationships have come from the media. Not good.

However, back to today’s skewed philosophy…

I’m aware that God is really the only one who I should ever expect to fully get it and I suppose that’s something precious that I should revel in, rather than try to replace by having great expectations of someone who’s just as flawed as me. I’m just not sure what that looks like, or how it works. How can my desire for conversation be fulfilled with an invisible God?  How can I feel like he gets it other than just reading that he knows me inside out?  How can he ask the right questions to help me help myself understand when I don’t hear an audible voice?  I don’t understand.  All I know is that the good news of the gospel is that we have freedom in Christ – and I don’t want anyone to take that freedom from me because of their expectations of how I should or should not be and even less so do I want to take that freedom from anyone else.

Hmmm…

I love that some of my students can be more clued in than me. It means that I can sit back and nod ‘wisely’ over my coffee while they share their thoughts and then I learn from them! Keeps ya humble… But anyway, one of them has this theory about a life of singleness not being as daunting a prospect if you could be guaranteed real community. I think there’s a lot in it (apart from the slightly Home-and-Away-Selena’s-been-sucked-into-a-cult-commune-storyline flashbacks).  If you were part of an authentic community where you could live, love and serve without people asking if there’s anyone ‘on the go’ or assuming that there needs to be, imagine the freedom and joy it would bring!

The thing is, though, that’s not just a principle for singleness, is it? Imagine if married couples were also part of authentic community which reminds them of the self-giving love of Jesus; in loving and giving of themselves not just to each other, but to those around them, surely their relationship would be placed firmly in the perspective of God’s purpose…?

 This is the point where my friend’s comments came in…

A good friend mentioned how in the city where her and her boyfriend previously lived, they were quite isolated and spent a lot of time just the two of them.  Of course, she wasn’t regretting the time they spent together, but said that where they’re at now they’ve found community and are thoroughly enjoying being a couple within that.  I imagine that isolation as a couple would bring yet more pressure and a sense of disconnection that can’t be healthy.  Not only does isolation rob the couple of community, but robs the community of the couple.

Equally so the individual.

(Here’s the bit where I expostulate about an applicable lesson to my present and future life)

So, I’m single and right now that’s okay by me.  I mean, I’d like to get married eventually (when Mr Darcy makes it to the North Coast), but I’m just not there yet.  If I do, or don’t, though – I’m created to live in relationship and so I’ll continue to wear my heart on my sleeve and pursue authentic community, trusting that, by the grace of God, I will receive in return as others around me do the same.

That’s not to say, of course, I won’t keep an eye on Lily’s enterprise…  For research purposes you understand.

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