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push and pull…

It won’t always be like this; me spinning out again and again with the struggle and the intoxication, will it?  I feel like I’m split in two most days.  In the early part of the day I wake up and spend time in prayer. I’m excited to be there, to spend time in this way.  In the middle of the day I seek out time to be alone and pray. I find that I crave that afternoon of prayer. It all seems clear and right. By the time the evening comes though I’m exhausted and after getting the kids in bed I am tortured with doubt.

The easy thing for me to say to myself is that this makes sense.  I am working muscles I have not exercised before, there WILL be some discomfort, some pain. I just have to keep at it.

In the night, though, I can feel the furrowed brow getting deeper. I don’t know what to make of my doubt and my fear.  I find myself crying out and asking God to save me from this moment of faithlessness. I ask Him leading questions like, “this is really stupid, isn’t it?” and “you would tell me if this was a gigantic mistake, wouldn’t you?”

To these questions I suppose what I want is some kind of comfort, some kind of heavenly choir singing to soothe my weariness.  In the moment I open my heart to that kind of response and I am greeted only with silence.

I’ve taken to laying that aside in the last few nights in favor of the Jesus Prayer. At first it felt as though I was merely trying to talk over the loud negative voices in my head and it was maddening.

Then I realized, quite strangely, that my prayer became quieter, slower, deeper.  This really happens, I’m not getting all “writerly” on you and exaggerating. Honest. I found that I was no longer even thinking the words or saying them aloud. It was as if they existed apart from me and my doubt and worry.  Each word, each syllable was a footstep forward, propelling me forward, somewhere. At my feet the road was not mud but stone, cold and sturdy. It was clear.  I fell asleep like that, the words of the prayer the last thing I remember…

lord jesus christ

son of god

have mercy on me

a sinner