29 July 2015

Humility - A Guest Post

Founders Note: Today on the blog we have a guest post from Kristy. Kristy is new to the blogging world so be sure to check out her blog here!

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I went through a rough patch recently where I failed to feel connected to God. When I went to Him in prayer I found myself tongue-tied and would lose motivation to continue the conversation. Add on the fact that I tend to get embarrassed or ashamed when I don’t succeed at something right away and there it was: the perfect recipe for a lacking prayer life. 

I knew that I was supposed to be praying, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to endure another round of silent stuttering. Instead I mumbled my way through quick prayers at dinner and before tucking myself into bed. It was incredibly frustrating. I remember scrolling through the internet trying to find answers but not finding articles that really touched on my problem. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share with God- it’s just that I felt like I was on an awkward first date every time I tried to strike up a conversation. Prayer felt mechanical, forced and too rehearsed to be meaningful.

My life as a prayer minimalist was lonely and unfulfilling. It didn’t take long for me to realize that when I can’t speak with my heavenly Father, my spiritual life becomes significantly diminished.

I had to learn the hard way that there's no "quick fix" for something like this. Over time I was able to improve my approach to prayer and get to a point of pure honesty with God that before seemed unreachable. From my own experience, I've realized that there are two key things that need to be done continually in order to clear this hurdle, and they both require a great deal of humility.

The first action step was scary but absolutely necessary for me to improve my prayer life: confiding in a friend about my problem. Depending on the environment in which you were raised, talking about your spiritual life can be a bit awkward. And no one warned me of this. I just assumed that since doing so made me feel uncomfortable there was something wrong with me. In reality your walk with God is a very personal thing so depending on your experiences you may or may not be eager share your most intimate struggles. While I had a great youth group at church growing up, we never dug deep enough to discuss the problems that I was facing in my walk with God. We may have listened to devotionals on these topics, but it felt like discussing our personal relationship with God was taboo.

I didn't find people my age I could open up to until fairly recently. It took a while for me to feel comfortable with the idea of letting go of what people thought of me and humbly telling others of my problems. But once I did, I no longer had to believe I was alone in my trials as a Christian or pretend that everything was fine all of the time. What surprised me most was that friends who were honest about their spiritual life seemed to be singing the same song as me.

Lara Casey says in her book, “Make it Happen,” “What happens when you answer someone truthfully? You give the other person an unspoken invitation to do the same. ‘Perfect’ says, ‘I’m fine’ and the conversation dwindles.” For me, pretending that my prayer life was totally fine was not getting me anywhere with God or with others. But opening up? Humbly laying your problems at the feet of those who care about you? That makes it real. It makes it into something you can openly acknowledge and begin to process with a good listener. You would be surprised at what joy can come out of the humility of letting others know that your spiritual life is nowhere near perfect. 

The next step to improving your prayer life was equally difficult for me: Praying to God about it. Talk about tongue tied! How was I supposed to talk to God about not being able to talk to God? It seemed impossible at the time. But I’ve found that humility is the key to a strong relationship with the Father.

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At first admitting my worries about prayer to God made me feel really small. I had to explain that I needed Him in the most basic of ways, and wasn’t entirely confident that I had even said that right. But here's the thing: none of us know how to pray perfectly. We all need to rely on God constantly for forgiveness and grace in our lives. And this includes help in asking for the right things in the right manner. Paul explains that God understands this struggle in his letter to the Romans:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

By swallowing my pride and just saying what was on my mind instead of worrying if I sounded, “good enough,” paradoxically my prayer was good enough.

This struggle showed me that humility is not one of my most flourishing traits. It’s not that I’m habitually proud around friends, family or in the way I view myself. But admitting to God and to others that I need help was a challenge. I had to learn that you cannot be prideful around the Creator of the Universe while humbly laying your burdens at His feet.

As Christians we know that none of us can get by without Him and it's incredibly tough to try to get by without others. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are often going through similar struggles and can lend some support and advice. God knows this, and He doesn’t expect you to suffer alone when He is feeling far away. So the next time you find yourself tongue-tied in front of God, remember these lessons in humbleness and trade in your pride for a more meaningful prayer.

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Kristy is about to begin her senior year in college as a Communications major and Psychology minor. She enjoys coffee, bike rides, and spontaneous trips to Target. She recently discovered the online Christian community and hopes that sharing her experiences will help others in the same way that their stories have strengthened her.

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