Folded Hands, Open Heart

Yesterday, I talked about how I picked up the habit of reading in every spare second I feel motivated. Today I will share another habit I’ve picked up in my daily routine that has made a definite difference in how I live and see the world, and that is prayer.

I don’t care if you’re religious or not, meditation is great, too. I personally enjoy directing my energy toward a certain entity, some manifestation and purpose beyond myself. I have spent other posts discussing the role of spirituality in my life, and today is no exception.

Except before when I talked about spirituality, I felt like a hypocrite. I wrote about the numerous benefits, my beliefs toward it, the values I hold near and dear, and yet I wasn’t consciously thinking about them outside of those moments of stillness, typing away on a computer. I would schedule the post and walk away, back into the hectic world, back into my clouded mindset.

I grew up praying every night before going to bed. It was something my family always did. We didn’t go to church every Sunday, but my mom, brother, and I each had a part of a nightly prayer we would recite together. Mine was always the Lord’s Prayer, a classic. I remember countless times just going through the motions, not dwelling the words I was speeding through in order to just be done and go to bed.

When the time came to pray on my own, I still wasn’t very good at it, as if God is judging me for my attempts at talking to Him. I would pray about insignificant details in my life, until it got to a point where I wasn’t praying at all. I would take long hiatuses from doing anything, to jump back in for a month or so, and again miss a day in there, thinking that once I screwed up once, there’s no point in trying again.

But despite my limited number of resolutions for this year, prayer made the list. I wanted to get more in touch with spirituality, that I could lead the life I envisioned for myself, one where I actively hold my beliefs tightly and make time to learn more about them. On days where the last thing I can think of doing is getting out of bed, and find the motivation from knowing and believing in the purpose of every day. It’s not a cure for my struggles, but faith acts as umbrella. The rain will continue to fall as it always does, but having it in your hands keeps you drier than without it.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pulling out my little prayer book, randomly flip to a page, and read it to myself. I look out my big window. I dwell on the words. The process never takes more than a couple of minutes, but it’s a little moment of peace for myself I had been continuously skipping. I do this every morning and evening.

Despite the short duration I take, perhaps it is a little placebo effect kicking in, but I feel like my mindset has shifted. When I’m out of bed, my mornings aren’t as slow. I’m not going to bed every night with thoughts rushing through my head, repeating like a broken record. I have thought more about the part of my life in general, thinking about what more I could do. This little decision I made is a brick laid into my foundation, a place I can grow from. A gradual process, unlike the numerous times I tried to pick it up with unrealistically high expectations, only leading to disappointment.

And I hope I can grow from here. That I feel drawn to pray more often, to seek more opportunities to feel more grounded in my faith. I am beyond proud of myself for sticking to my goal thus far in hopes that I can truly embody the person I want to be. Someone who is knowledgeable, open, and kind. Someone who finds comfort and provides it to others. Someone who can meditate away from the over-stimulating details of life and focus on a deeper meaning.

I speak in vague terms because in that way, these thoughts can apply to more people. Not everybody will find their faith in Christianity, nor should they feel obligated to. I’m not going to become a preacher and spew Bible verses at you. That’s not my message. Heck, I’m not a big fan of a large portion of the Bible. In any case, having faith and believing in the power of spirituality is just as important as taking care of your body. Doing so feeds your soul. Even atheism can bring comfort to some, just as long as you have something, anything, to believe in. Believe in people, science, your own abilities. If we are beginning to see the astounding benefits of self-care, spirituality is the ultimate source of it.

I hope to continue my practice indefinitely. I hope my small daily efforts can build into a dramatic difference. And no, I am not immediately compelled to attend a church service. That is a whole other story. I prioritize my personal spiritual relationship. That is the connection that truly matters. I will build a church within myself. And through that, I hope to create the life I want to lead.

Take care, and (truly) keep the faith. -Allie



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