The Perfectionist’s prayer guide is less of a guide and more of a realization. Here’s why. If you’re anything like me a guide becomes yet another stresser another thing to perfect, to check off the to-do list, and to do the “right way.” And I’m sick of this pressure that I put on myself. Are you?
How I figured this out.
Like most things in my life I figured this out through a ton of “failure” – or what I perceived to be failure. I have been really rocky with my prayer lately. I like to pray. Call me a nerd, call me what you will, but it brings me peace. Prayer lets me be me and everytime without fail I feel prouder and happier and more content when I’m done then I did when I started.
Admit the perfection tendency.
I hate to do this but I sometimes need to remind myself that I’m a perfectionist. I’m such a perfectionist that I don’t even think I’m perfectionist enough. So I rarely admit this trait. Bizarre? Sure but if you know me it probably makes perfect sense! It helps to remind myself and then forgive myself, it reminds me that the whole point isn’t getting it right. It’s showing up.
I feel like if I try to pray with all the cool prayer books and ideas and such it works “sometimes”. But other times I need to ask God. What is it I need right now? Sometimes the answer is nothing. Other times it’s be still. And other times it’s just be honest with me. Whatever the answer I don’t generally hear it unless I ask the question.
Put away the textbooks, the prayer books, the top 10’s, the guides…
Just put them away. Even this guide, if it limits you or puts another reason you cannot spend 5 minutes today talking to your creator, then put it down. Don’t let the tools and tips become hindrances to your relationship with God. Think about it this way how often do you read books about friendship? Marriage? Do you tell people oh I’m sorry I cannot be your friend right now, I haven’t read all the guides yet. I’m not sure I will get it right. No of course not. So don’t do that with your relationship with God either. Oh and FYI I’m telling myself this as much as I’m telling you.
Be where you are.
I learned this this week as well (it’s been an eventful week in my prayer life!) For the second time in the last two weeks I attempted to wake up early and pray. For the second time in two weeks my kids had other plans and they each took a turn waking up WAY earlier than normal. I made a choice the second time. I realized that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t sitting in my fave chair with a cup of tea and a candle.
I was lying in bed trying with all my might to get my four-year-old back to sleep. And then I started to pray right then and I realized my choice was to resent where I was, which admittedly would change NOTHING -zip, nada- or maybe I could find the lesson in the moment. God taught me right then that a lot of my struggles at this point in my life are a direct result of me “wishing I was somewhere else” further along in life in business or whatever it may be. Here’s the thing I’m not. Goals and planning are all great and important but in the end we are where we are currently and that is a PERFECT place for prayer. I’m so glad I realized this and let it be yet another moment where my children are teaching me.
what do you need to make your prayer more yours?
Maybe you need a candle, a walk, maybe a book or a song. Perhaps you too need to let go and let God guide you.
Whatever it may be I hope you find it and show up and let go of the idea that it will ever be perfect, or perhaps it’s about letting go of the fact that it isn’t already perfect-even if it’s messy or not as we imagined.