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It All Started with a Prayer... (Part 1)
How a prayer for others led to my racial healing.
They say God works in mysterious ways. Throughout my life, I’d have to say whoever “they” are, has a very good point.
Time and again, I see where I would have done things differently if I were God. Allowing more happy things to occur while preventing heartbreak. Bringing the breakthrough sooner while rushing through the waiting. Answering the prayer(s) differently …but I guess that’s why He’s God and I am not.
In fact, one of my prayers started my healing journey, although not in the way you might expect.
Like many only children, I never really had to share beyond the occasional toy. I never had to share my single mom, my room, my clothes, my car, or anything I didn’t want to. Trust me. I get how that sounds, but I really wasn’t a bratty, self-centered, entitled teenager. I promise. But the seed had been planted.
Although my self-centered mindset wasn’t a glaring issue during my childhood or teen years, it started to become one as I entered adulthood. I first noticed a twinge of selfishness in my early twenties after our son was born. Suddenly, I found myself sharing my husband’s attention, care, and concern with this new little baby…and I was NOT a fan! It wasn’t easy for me to grasp that someone could love someone else (including their child) and still have enough left for me (which honestly, said more about my self-worth than my husband’s ability to divide himself between his young family). Eventually, I learned my husband had the capacity to love both of us and my attitude and fears subsided.
Year after year, the seed continued to grow. Outwardly, I kept my true feelings hidden, while internally I felt them anytime a friend asked for a favor. I felt them with each inconvenience of my time. I felt them in the way I saw and valued others. What started as a seed, had become an overgrown, weedy garden full of thorny vines that were squeezing all of the compassion and empathy from my soul.
Something had to change and I knew it.
I couldn’t sit Sunday after Sunday, listening to messages about God’s love while silently feeling the way I did toward the ones He loves. I didn’t know where to start or how to make my heart feel something it didn’t, so I did the only thing I could think of…
I began to pray.
“God, help me see people the way you see them,
and help me love them the way you do.”
My prayer wasn’t fancy or elaborate, just a simple, sincere desire to change. I prayed those words over and over. I’m not sure how long it took - weeks, months, or even longer - but eventually, I began to notice I felt differently about people.
The thorny weeds started to release their grip.
Compassion replaced judgment.
Empathy replaced apathy.
I was like the Grinch. My heart felt like it grew two sizes.
Then in 2020, God decided to flip the script. I felt him gently whisper, “Now it’s time to see yourself the way I see you.” Say what? Hold up…that wasn’t my prayer. I prayed to see others and love them the way you do. You changed my heart. We’re good now.
Little did I know, that although I was good, God was just getting started.
Time to see myself the way He does? I was confused. It had taken years, but I finally liked the person in the mirror…or so I thought. What I soon discovered was that I’d learned to love the version of myself I’d constructed which was far different than the one God had created.
Continue Part 2 next week…
Friend, is there a seed in your heart that needs to be weeded out? Maybe it isn’t selfishness. Maybe it’s pride or insecurity or anger or shame. Maybe you’re able to keep it hidden from everyone else like I was, but you feel it deep inside. Friend, if you’re ready to see a change in the way you see others, simply pray that God will help you see & love them the way He does.
I’m cheering for you!
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Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your thoughts & questions.
A Little Something Extra…
Each week, I like to share a little something extra, something I’ve found fun or helpful. It might be a post, book, podcast, tv show, movie, song, Bible verse…or something else I think you’ll enjoy.
Simi John is a writer, author, speaker, physical therapist, pastor’s wife, and momma. Her articles are regularly featured at (In)Courage where she encourages women in their relationship with Jesus. Her new Bible study video series, I AM NOT: Break Free From Stereotypes And Become The Woman God Made You To Be, is available at Right Now Media and accompanies her book of the same title.
Simi and I have become Insta-friends. She’s been a huge encouragement to me over the past 3 years with her beautiful blend of heart & humor.
Recently Simi has also been sharing about the power of prayer on her Instagram page. I especially loved her reel where she shares the 3 things she’s doing to grow her prayer life in 2023. Her tips are super simple! Check them out and while you’re there, be sure to give her a follow! Not only will she bring an encouraging word to your feed, but she’ll make you laugh too.
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