By Sarah Damm
As I celebrated my 40th birthday, I noticed that my life seemed tinged with sadness. I had so many amazing blessings to be grateful for—a loving and merciful God; a kind and caring husband; healthy and happy children; a warm and cozy home—and yet, I felt burdened, exhausted, and lacking joy. I felt stuck, while the world was moving right along.
I remember praying to God, asking Him to reveal what I needed to freely move forward. No longer did I want to just watch the days pass by; I wanted to live again in His joy and peace.
While my prayer was asking God for change, I continued to do the same old things, just in a different order. I insisted on keeping the same commitments and trying to juggle it all, with the hope that somehow God would answer my prayer by adding about six more hours to the day! Obviously, it was an unrealistic expectation, yet my coming to the Lord with the desire for His help was genuine.
Albert Einstein is credited with saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And that’s exactly what I was doing. I was on quite the hamster wheel, and what I really needed to do was jump off!
“Come to Me, Sarah. Spend time with Me. Do not grow weary in your prayer. What you are asking is good. Now we just need to align how you’re living with how you’re praying.”
I continued to converse with God about change, because I truly believed that God placed the desire for greater peace on my heart. I became like the persistent widow in today’s Gospel, coming before the judge. And while we could never bother God with our prayers, questions, and petitions, Jesus’ parable teaches us to keep praying to the Father to the point that we would wear Him out—which is never! That’s how much He wants us to pray! Unceasingly and without growing weary, because He certainly won’t get tired of His children coming to Him.
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?” —Luke 18:7
As I persisted in my prayer for change to come, eventually I began to change. It was as if God was telling me, “This idea of you having to do it all is what is exhausting you. Take a break. Step back. Let Me heal you and give you rest. It’s OK. You don’t have to do it all anymore.”
And that’s exactly what I did. It was kind of scary to finally jump off the hamster wheel, because in a way, it is counter-cultural to do less in a world that is constantly asking for more. But when I finally did, I landed safely in God’s arms.
God made it clear that if I wanted to live in peace and joy again, I needed to let Him restore me. I couldn’t do it all anymore; now I needed to let Him take over.
God encourages a persistence in prayer, because our perseverance in prayer is meant to change our hearts. The more we pray, the more we become in sync with God’s will. So that when we ask (for God’s will), we will receive it; when we seek (God’s spirit), we will find it, and when we knock (on the door of God’s plan for our lives), it will be opened to us (Luke 11:9).
Have you persisted in prayer, only to receive something even greater than you expected? Give thanks to the Lord for answering your prayer in such a generous way. If you are currently persisting in prayer, trust in the Lord’s plan and timing; He will most certainly help you.
“The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:5-7
About the Author:
Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mom to six children. She spends her days like many moms—running errands, helping with homework, and cooking meals. She writes at sarahdamm.com, and she is also a contributor with CatholicMom.com and New Evangelizers. She serves as a WINE specialist, focusing on the Read Between the WINEs book clubs, marketing, and communications.
What beautiful sentiment to begin my day. I experienced many of those same feelings you felt turning 40. Mine came at my 70th this year. Birthdays had been just a number to me , never dread. I really enjoyed having them.
70 brought a wide range of feelings- sadness, fear, list of what ifs, but also thinking about what I haven’t accomplished.
But as you , I have focussed more on the positives & grace in my spiritfilled life. Doing that each morning helps me to be more aware of those “moments” I m blessed with His hand in my daily path.
Your writing is so meaningful. Look forward each week. Blessings to you & yours this beautiful morning….
Wow, thank you, Jacqy, for your insightful comment and kind words. I really appreciate it. Sometimes I tend to focus on what I haven’t accomplished, too. But what if those things weren’t part of God’s plan for us anyway? Focusing on the blessings is so much more fruitful, as we can then see God’s hand in all that has been part of our lives. God bless your day!
Lovely Sarah. A lesson for us all!
Thanks, Sharon! It is funny, because I realized I wrote about this same Gospel in “A Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion,” and I wrote that well over a year ago. I think this is a theme for me … one that God keeps bringing back again and again—for good reason! I hope all is well!
What a great post! I think we so often pray and expect God to just fix our emotions or our problems, but ummm…what if He wants us to change something we don’t want to change. Oh my, that’s uncomfortable. I think I often am not fully ready for the answers to some of my prayers. I want peace, but maybe I’m not ready for the road that is required to get there. Am I truly ready for it? Thanks for this insightful post.
Hi Sara! Yes, prayer is not always what we think it “should” be, is it? The answer isn’t always yes … and it doesn’t always come when we want it to. Thankfully, God is so gentle and patient with us, as our hearts transform through His grace. Thank you for the joining the conversation. Blessings!
Thank you for that insight into prayer! Lovely post!
Thank you, Andrea! God bless!