We need stressful days in order to be happy. We need days when we get zero sleep and are working tirelessly on a deadline. Because if we didn’t, the lazy days wouldn’t feel good. It’s no fun doing nothing. I don’t know how rich people can fill their days with pointless appointments and call it a fulfilling life. We need to always be working towards something in order to feel useful and have a sense of purpose. And then those days off when you just feel so good. We often say that we’d like a very long vacation but most of us would probably get very bored after a week.
I was haunted these days by this question.I began to wonder on the essence of prayer and why it is we pray in the first place. As Christians who strive to abide in the ways of Christ, we appreciate that our lives and their happenings are at the mercy of God’s will, we can take heart to know that nothing that happens in our lives is a surprise to God, nor outside His reach.
Everything that takes place, even as the result of our own choices and free will, are not outside His realm of divine will. As our lives progress, His plan is what shapes us into who we are called to be.
So if our lives are at the gracious mercy of His will, do our prayers of hopeful requests and fervent accolades do any good? What is the basis for our continually seeking God’s face if His will wins out every time, regardless? Is prayer of any practical use—even the times of meaningful worship and praise—when our God already knows every thought and emotion we have about Him before they even pass through us?
If this is indeed true, it would seem that God doesn’t actually need our prayers. He is in control today and always. And though we ask for this or pray for that, He knows what’s best for us and our lives, and He provides accordingly.
And yet, the very creation of our existence speaks to more.
Just like every other living creation, we were made to praise and worship our God. We were built to offer prayer and supplication to the One who breathed life into our bones. Except only humans were given the choice to forgo our charge of lifting God up through worship. We were given the gift of free will, and with it, the ability to choose for ourselves whether we want to do that which we were created to. That measure of provided freedom leads us to the realization that our prayers aren’t a forgone conclusion, but a direct choice each of us gets to make.
When we submit our prayers and conversations to Him, we are choosing to worship Him—to magnify Him in ways no other creature can.
We have the freedom of will to forgo a time of communion with Him, so when we willfully bend our hearts in prayer, we are offering the greatest tribute our feeble lives can muster. We are choosing to spend time with Him. And as complicated as we can make our relationship with Him, our ability to consciously decide to worship Him is the very reason our prayers are held in such high regard.
Our prayers may be ripe with requests or for divine favor, but at their absolute heart, we find they are beautiful conversations with a kind and loving Father who actually wants to converse with us. We may be lost and hurting, seeking direction or inspiration, or we may simply be aching to offer Him our praise, but through it all, prayer is a choice that honors God because it says we love and submit ourselves to Him.
Prayer isn’t something God needs—as if it’s a tool or a method to enact a desired response. But it is something God wants—an open invitation to grow close to our heavenly Father.
I have a lot of friends that are not in a relationship & their single status renders them unhappy.They constantly feel lonely and pitiful and incomplete.
First of all, don’t get me wrong — relationships are wonderful. Having someone to share yourself with romantically is a beautiful thing and it can bring a lot of happiness to your life. But that doesn’t mean that the alternative — being single — has to be an unhappy experience.I would go as far as saying that if you want to be in a healthy, happy relationship, you have to be single and happy.
A mentor of mine once told me, “No one can make you happy. Someone can make you happier. But no one can make you happy.” You have to learn how to be single and happy first. At the end of the day, think about it: if you can’t make yourself happy, how much happiness can you authentically give to someone else?
~ Kovie Biakolo
It’s difficult to admit that you may not know how close you are with people when you are constantly surrounded by the same circle of friends. These people, through a potent combination of familiarity and convenience, can often seem far more committed and important than they are. And when you move away, and the onus on keeping things alive is on the both of you — and requires making a concerted effort to keep in touch and have things to say to one another outside of “What’s new with you?” — many of the people we assumed would be there forever can easily fall by the wayside. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just how the world works. Some of us have an easier time staying close, and some of us were never really that close to begin with. But the friends who prove themselves to be worth it, friends you may not have even realized were so caring when you had the privilege of being around them all the time, will now only highlight how sad it is to be so far away.
There is something extremely comforting about knowing exactly where you fit in. You’re not famous, sure, but you have your place. You are known for certain things, have established a kind of reputation, and have a solid group to move around in. It’s hard to realize just how important it is to have an identity reinforced by (and in many ways created by) your surroundings until you no longer have it anymore. It’s like suddenly getting the script ripped from your hands and still being expected to perform — you just don’t know how things work. In your new city, you are just an anonymous face, free of purpose or background. And yes, it can be thrilling and refreshing, but it can also be a harsh reminder that you are not special. You are not different. Your force and presence is established — like everyone else’s is — with time and care, and intimately knowing your surroundings.
The world is simply made so much more wonderful when you can walk down your street and know who you are going to encounter. You know your neighbors (at least some of them), you know the people who will be at your favorite bar, you know who works at your dry-cleaners and post office and print shop and hair salon. You had an established network that cushioned you and made you feel (rightfully so) that your presence was welcome and enjoyed. Having to recreate all these ties, and get used to different faces and dispositions and conversations is feasible, but makes you long for the days when things were simple and obvious. We don’t need a Cheers, per se, but it’s nice to feel like you are an appreciated customer and not simply a wallet with a body attached to it.
So much of your old town (and the nostalgia that can overwhelm you when you think about it) isn’t even tangible. It’s a smell, a taste, the friendly din that filled a certain bar or the way the sun used to set behind one specific church on one specific hill. You catch a whiff of clove, maybe, and you suddenly remember that one coffee shop that made that spiced cider that people would drive from miles away to come drink in the winter. You hear a laugh and look around because it sounds just like your favorite waiter from that one restaurant you and your friends used to go to every Thursday night for their cheap pitchers and enormous burgers. You put your feet in sand and it feels like the sand you used to be able to walk to every night if you want to. You can recreate it, perhaps, but it will never be quite the same.
Once you conquer your surroundings, once you feel like you know every nook and cranny of what a town has to offer, there is a feeling of invincibility — even immortality. It’s often what keeps people from leaving a town to begin with (or at least delays it significantly), this feeling of familiarity that wraps around you like your favorite blanket. There is nothing to be afraid of when you know what tomorrow is going to bring, who you are going to see, and where you’re going to go. If nothing ever changes, it feels like you’re never really having to grow old. And yes, this feeling can often take a turn for the claustrophobic — and become the impetus to leave for so many — but it certainly seems appealing when your new city feels completely indifferent to your presence.
There is a certain freedom to making mistakes in your old town. You have so much history there, so much youth there, that it feels like the place where experimenting is expected. When you choose to come to a new place, though, to establish yourself as an adult with their own agenda, the pressure is on to make it count. No one wants to fall flat on their face after they proudly announced to everyone that they were leaving and actually took the leap to make it happen. Your chosen city becomes the place where Big Things have to happen, where a lot is expected of you and you have to prove your adulthood. Your old town becomes even rosier in retrospect, forever a place where you were allowed to be foolish.
Above all else, you will miss yourself. You realize how much you have changed since you’ve moved — how much the act of moving alone tends to change people — and long to relive all of the things you used to be when you were back there. You were freer, you knew your surroundings and your place in things. You hadn’t yet decided where you were going to go next. You dated people who were wrong for you with no intention of thinking long-term. You made choices that now you look back on with mild amusement (and possibly a slight cringe). And yes, you know that you are not going to be that person again, and that you don’t want to. You are happy to have moved on, geographically and emotionally, and become someone more in control of their future. But it is nice to remember that you didn’t always have things together. It’s nice to remember the person you were in the little pond, the person you were before you realized how difficult leaving might be. It’s nice to love who that person was, even if they’ve changed for the better.