STAY WITH ME! Don’t leave! I promise this isn’t a Jesus-saved-me-so-now-life-is-amazing story.
If you thought it was and that’s why you’re here, please don’t leave either! I promise this is a good story.
I didn’t always pray. In fact, who needs prayer when you can make.shit.happen. Prayer just seemed like a moment that was taken up by more thoughts, more talk, when I just wanted quiet.
I turned 15, and everything changed. I had a situation that shook my whole family, and from that day on, I believed something. Let me clarify that: I believed in something. Something larger than myself and to this day, I believe with all my heart that something kept me here when it could’ve taken me away. I was supposed to be here.
But why? For what reason did I live? What was I supposed to do with my life if my life was meaningful enough to save?
That’s when I started to pray. Not for answers, but for guidance. I prayed every night that God would help me find my path. And not only help me find my path, but keep me on it. To help me not be swayed from what I was meant to do in my lifetime. To keep me going forward.
I prayed those same words for YEARS. When things got crazy in my life, when I was partnered with the wrong people, when I was off doing nutso things, when I was off balance, I prayed the same words.
I did realize over a few years that I have to do some of the work myself. DUH. And so I did. I researched my job path, talked to people who held the jobs I wanted, and figured out for myself how to get where I needed to go.
Others helped FOR SURE. My parents paid for all of my education, so without them, I’d be a sad sack of debt. I was able to work flexible jobs during my education that helped me pay for this and that. And I didn’t really ever flounder because my foundation of friends and family was so solid. I graduated with my MPH from Emory and was moving on up.
Then the economy tanked.
My jobs went away, the path that I KNEW I was supposed to be on disappeared beneath my feet. And so I went back to prayer. Went back to the same words I had been praying for years. Help me find my path and help keep me on it.
I got jobs that I HATED. HATED with a fiery passion. FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE kind of hate (Clue? Anyone? Best movie ever).
But I kept praying. And I kept trying to learn as much as I could, in case I would need it later. Always keeping my options open, but with a narrow focus on the end goal. So narrow, in fact, it drove my parents crazy! They kept wanting something else for me, but I was sure that I was doing what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to go.
And then, THREE AND A HALF YEARS LATER, opportunities started to open up, and I took full advantage. Every night, I said those words in a prayer, and every night I believed that I would be helped. Now, in St. Pete, I believe with all my heart that it’s because of my faith that I got where I needed to be and had the strength of character to make it happen.
Every opportunity I didn’t get for all those years of praying are falling into my lap left and right here. When it rains, it hurricanes right? (A little FL humor for you.) And I’m taking advantage of everything that I can. I would be stupid not to. I mean, hello, THIS IS WHAT I PRAYED FOR. It wasn’t overnight, it wasn’t the next night, but it happened.
Not only did I ask for guidance and support, I also made it happen. You can never get what you want if you don’t go for it. Period.
So I guess you’re wondering why I decided to write an entire post about prayer. You already know that I feel fortunate as F*%K, that I’m blessed beyond belief. You know why we moved down here. You know all this. Why talk about it now?
Because prayer also helped Timmy & me happen.
If you know me, you know that I’m a strong, independent, fiery, dancing machine. No one really ever gets in my way, and I get what I want when I want it. I don’t really care what others think of me because I never stop long enough to think about what others may think of me in the first place. And I’m also the most impatient person you’ve ever met.
Like seriously, it’s a problem.
I’ve been this way my entire life, I kid you not. I could never last an entire game of Monopoly (I think I only played the entire game once), I can’t stand when people or events take longer than I want, I hate waiting in line, I hate crowds, my God forsaken commute, I hate anything that sets me off my schedule.
So as you can tell, I spend a lot of time frustrated and pissed at things outside of my control.
So it occurred to me, around the same time that I figured out how to ask for guidance on my career path, that I could also ask for help getting patience. It couldn’t hurt, right? Besides, isn’t that God’s thing, being patient and all that?
And so I prayed for patience too. I prayed every night, “Please give me patience.” I prayed and asked for help in being patient.
After probably 6 years of praying for patience, I wasn’t noticing any difference in my ability to be patient. No progress. None. Nada. Zip. And to be honest, I wasn’t really trying. I didn’t know how to be any other way.
Then Timmy came into my life. This huge personality of fun, laughter, kindness, reliability, and genuine friendship wanted to be with me. Forever. And I also wanted to be with him forever. He was the partner I’d been wishing for my entire life.
Everything was perfect the first year or so. I mean, isn’t it always? I’d been in relationships before, so I knew the honeymoon phase was going to be coming to a close soon. Oh snap, did it ever.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, Timmy is not exactly what I’d call a good time manager. In fact, he’s terrible at it. He’s constantly late, which in turn, makes us late to everything. He has no system, he has no schedule, he has no mindset that’s similar to mine.
With a fiery vengeance, my patience evaporated. I found myself unable to control my anger, exploding all the time, because I had no patience. I still prayed for it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
And then, I realized it. The glaring fact that had been staring me in the face for almost 4 years. How I didn’t see this until a few months ago, I have no idea. I was blind to it until I just decided to open my eyes.
God paired me, someone with minor OCD, with Timmy, who has ADHD.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor, right?
Now that I can finally see how God answered my prayer, I have to laugh about it. I mean, duh, of course God would give me someone who has a total inability to focus and fully concentrate for long periods of time. HOW ELSE WOULD I BE ABLE TO PRACTICE BEING PATIENT?!?!
I’ve realized that it wasn’t about God just handing me a package with PATIENCE written on the label. I have to practice, every day, being patient. It won’t come any other way. In fact, I was on Pinterest the other day and found this:
Honestly, I have no idea if that’s from Joyce Meyer or not. The quote itself struck me in a way that I’ve never been struck by anything online. It was like the story of my life’s struggle, in 15 words or less. I’ve been repeating this in my head daily now, not only as a reminder of what patience is but also as a reminder that God did answer my prayer. Just not in the way I expected.
Timmy is God’s gift of patience to me. And I thank God every day for that because otherwise, without my prayer, we may never have found a reason to be together forever. We probably would’ve just passed each other, high fived, and moved on.
Prayer is important for many reasons, but I believe it’s a way to challenge yourself and boil down your deepest desires to the simplest form. If I had asked God to just give me a cool job without asking him to put me on a path, I would’ve ended up bored and languishing in a dead end position. If I had asked for a fun partner who always makes me laugh, I never would’ve had the opportunities that I do with Timmy to constantly better myself.
Hard work and prayer go hand in hand. Timmy and I are meant to be, sure, but we have to work and work and work at making sure we stay meant to be.
Don’t pray for wishes and long shots. Pray for the opportunity to show that you can do something. Pray for that window where you can see hope. Pray for the time that you can rise to occasion. And when those moments happen, ACT.
That’s my story folks. And I’m sticking to it.