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August 21 • Inconvenient Prayer

Day 774


Two nights ago, I acknowledged to my Higher Power that I was doing really well, but I did not want to become cocky or even complacent with my progress. I specifically asked that if there's something more that I need to be doing in recovery, in ministry, or in my marriage, that He would show these to me in His time. It had been a while since I prayed that particular prayer.


Yesterday morning, I lied to my wife again and had to deal with the consequences all day until I finally confessed and repented (My Slip is Showing). She reminded me (again) that she was more concerned about me saying that I didn't see the problem than she would have been had I just told the truth and admitted that I see the same dangers that she does. I can't count the number of times I have skirted the truth either because of my confusion or because I was trying to say what I thought she wanted (or needed) to hear, only to have it backfire. That's a difficult way to have to keep learning that the truth, even the smallest truth, is always the best way to go. I know the truth will not always be what she wants to hear, but if my lies are just as likely to be the opposite of what she wants, why wouldn't I go ahead and tell the truth and take a chance that it's the right thing to say? There's way too much thinking in that last sentence, but the point is undefended truth. I'm still too often deciding how truthful to be based on what I think someone wants to hear.


In the middle of all that yesterday, I got a call from a dear pastor friend wanting to talk to me about a ministry opportunity, one that could get me very excited. While dog-paddling through the whirlpool of my lie, it was probably not the best time for me to picture myself as a provider of wise counsel, or as a ministry participant. But I pushed through that insecurity as best as I could, and we had a productive conversation, with more to come.


My prayer from the night before did not escape my notice during either of these occasions. Like asking for patience, it's important to be careful what you pray for. Or not. As a recovering sex addict, I'm told that

"Half measures availed us nothing...We asked His protection and care with complete abandon."

I need to be reminded that I did not make a dent in my addictive behaviors until I took a significant step in disclosing my life to my wife. My disclosure to her was imperfect and incomplete, but it was done with an attitude of complete abandonment, meaning I had no idea nor control of how that day — or my marriage — was going to go from that moment on. I put it in the hands of my Higher Power and accepted, in advance, the consequences to my life. Yes, that included the consequences to my wife and family. For too long, trying to protect them from me was my justification for not stopping, for accelerating, and for having too many thoughts and plans for ending myself.


Complete abandon. I don't know whether that is genuinely possible. But I do believe that the closer I can get to that the more control of my life I release to my Higher Power — and His track record in my life is quite a bit better than mine.


It's been my experience and conclusion that God sometimes answers our prayers with circumstances that feel like we are being tested. I believe that is true, but God is not trying to find out how we'll do, because He already knows. I think it's one of His ways of letting us know how we'll do.


I can be patient today, knowing that there is more for my life on the road ahead, but right now, there is more work for me to do where He has me. I am grateful for His care and mercies.


–JR

 

Oh, how praying rests the weary

Prayer will change the night to day

So when life seems dark and dreary

Don't forget to pray


–Charley Pride, “Did You Think to Pray”

 


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