The hard way. Why do I always have to learn things the hard way? Today I went to Confession and just after I exposed my sins – including a prayer life that has been lacking as of late – and right before the priest’s absolution, he said to me, ‘prayer is one of those things that we don’t always realize how important it is until it’s not there.’ TRUTH. I’ve been learning this the hard way over the last month or so. My prayer life has been struggling… big time. As my time in prayer has dwindled my ego, pride, impatience, frustration (basically all things bad), have increased. I felt it in myself like lava flowing from a volcano and I just couldn’t stop it.
My soul felt dark and my spirit felt deflated. It’s gross, really gross. I keep having a reoccurring image (I think it keeps coming to me because of my desire for it to come to fruition) where God takes a giant spoon to my heart and scrapes away all the sinfulness. I do so desire for Him to take it from me. I do so desire to be better than what I am.
But all things good are increased by a strong, authentic prayer life and through deep relationship with Christ. I also had an image of Jesus come to me the other day and from my view He looked so far away. I knew what it meant instantly. That I had pushed Him away. He was trying to come near me, but I was keeping Him at a distance.
I don’t know why, exactly, that I’ve allowed my prayer life to suffer. It’s odd that even when I’ve recognized that the lack of a solid prayer life is the cause of so much ugliness in my life, I’ve still managed to let it slip. No excuses. This is why I needed a fresh start today. I NEEDED confession. I wanted to dump all of my sin at the foot of the cross and begin again. I know that Confession doesn’t remove the damage that has been done, but it does absolve us from our sin and give us an opportunity to receive forgiveness and to be given a new start from this day forward.
It’s not an easy thing to do, though, going to Confession. It’s tough mostly because it’s super humbling. The other morning I was listening to a Sturgill Simpson song, ‘Just Let Go,’ and the two opening lines jumped out of my computer and seared my heart. Ok, so they didn’t actually do that, but they might as well have. “Woke up today and decided to kill my ego. It ain’t ever done me no good no how.” Ouch, that stung a little. But it was true and I decided my ego needed some killing as well. God must increase, I must decrease.
I want to be a better person. I want so badly to have the right things to say and to be able to bite my tongue when I need to. I don’t want to allow my emotions and the circumstances of a given moment to propel me to say things I’ll later regret or to react to things poorly. I want to be a better human being than that. So today… today, I chose to humble myself and go to Confession. I chose to allow my soul to return to better health. I chose to receive the grace I need to go out into the world and start again.
Where will I start? My prayer life. When your priorities are right, the rest will fall into place. Lord, I will seek to find you in every space of my life, but I will especially seek to find you in a healthy and lively prayer life. You are my captain, you are my guide, you are my one true north. When all else feels it’s gone wrong, you are always, always my strength. So I turn to you – in the good times and bad – to be my strength, to be the outpouring of grace I so desperately need and to be the truest kind of love I’ll ever know.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to learn the hard way, because as the priest told me today, ‘this is a grace to be given the knowledge of what our sin does to us.’ Now go and sin no more.
Laughs and Love,