I wouldn’t say it was exactly 12 months. Nothing specific. But it my mind, I think of it as a year. A year of faking it. One year of ‘forcing’ myself to pray. Now if you’re not an emotional, open to mystics, or just guided by your feelings, you might not know what I mean. But for one year. I never FELT like praying. I never had this urge to talk to God. I could digress and speculate why, but the WHY isn’t the point. It’s what happened as a result from my no-desire-to-pray.
I really was coming out of a time of doubt and question into this meadow-like space. In the meadow I saw that a faith in a Creator, Yahweh, Jehovah, G-d was what my life needed. I could appreciate the flowers of faith, but wasn’t sure I wanted to put the effort into growing them. Would I be wasting my time? Did God really listen? or was prayer some self-serving thing? Was prayer what I wanted to invest in?
I realized it when we visited Mali 3 years ago, with the eyes to move there. I saw Mali as a place where I couldn’t be a fence-sitter. I couldn’t want to call myself “Christian”, liv inga life of surrender, and not believe in prayer, or practice some of the spiritual traditions of the faith (not ONLY for the sake of practicing the tradition. DON’T get me started in on our idols and pharisaical selves!!, but because they are ways to draw close to God).
I cannot live here and be undecided about Who I Am.
So I decided. To fake it. And I did. For roughly one year, I would wake up several mornings a week, go through my morning ritual of waking up my body (yoga), mind (reading), and heart (meditation/prayer). This ritual only happened several times a week because there was this part of me that resisted. I CHOSE to pray. Often I repeated the Lord’s Prayer, or the quiet, wise prayers of saints and sinners and beggars. The Common Book of Prayer gave me words. Somedays the Lord gave me silence.
He also gave me this little room. I first called it my Yoga Room and later my Meditation Room and several times The Closet. I knew that there would not always been a time in my life when I’d have this cute, little room all to myself. Bright paint, small table for books, enough space to always keep my yoga mat rolled out.
I soaked it up. I cherished it. Sometimes I’d just run upstairs, brush my teeth, and sit for a few minutes before I rushed off to work. Just needed to pursue a faith that started in a place of inner peace. But, let’s be honest, I was faking it. Only to myself. No one else knew. Sean thought I was doing yoga (and probably wondering why I was still so flabby!). I forced myself through the motion because I was waiting for the glorious results of the discipline.
And now I see it was a choice. I had to get myself to the point-of-no-‘outs’. Much like love and attitude and relationships. We CHOOSE them. Sure, people ‘fall into love’ with someone, get married and have allll these emotional, bubbly feelings. But we all know how the story goes – you have to keep feeding the fires of loves. And somedays, you have to choose. You choose to love. And sometimes, we get hurt, but we forgive because we chose love so long ago, we don’t really have another choice!
I’m not lauding myself for doing some good. Rather seeking to share the struggle of discipline. And it doesn’t always turn out the way we’d like. My meditating and praying didn’t get a ‘boost’ for quite some time. But it taught me new things about the God I’d chosen to dedicate my life to. Things that change the ways I’m living, deciding, choosing, and sharing. You don’t always have to feel it, but move in the direction of who you’d like to be. You’ll be met with something that adds value to your existence. Be faithful in your pursuit. Pursue it with integrity and a bit ‘o zest!