Thought for the day: I have great faith in fools — self-confidence, my friends call it. [Edgar Allen Poe] The past few years, I’ve opted to take the month of April off from blogging. Since I chose not to participate in the A-Z Challenge, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to…
This blog first appeared on the Prayer Ideas website and was edited by Karen Barber.
Are you discouraged about still being single? I’ve been struggling lately with doubt and resentment aimed at God about still being single and alone at age 41 with no glimmer of a husband or children. I know that this sounds terrible to say but I imagine that some of you have also felt this way in the past or feel this way too right now.
There are no easy answers, but I’ll share my struggles and how it’s helpful to talk honestly to God about how you feel. At the end I’ll share my personal prayer that helps me keep hope alive.
- Be honest with God about advice from books and others that don’t comfort or help you.
I’ve read books about how I need to find my completeness in God and my comfort in the arms of Jesus. Cerebrally I know that a man cannot complete me. I know that I have to be content in the person that I am on my own and with my relationship with God before I have anything to give someone else. I feel pretty good in my own skin and feel like I have a lot to offer. I know that I have some areas I can improve but I feel like I am trying but it’s never good enough. I wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” and “What else do I need to do?” The only answer I can think of is God should be all I need but the fact is I want more. I worry is God not going to finally give it to me until I can say I don’t want it anymore and all I want is Him? I used to want to be a nun before I understood all that entailed. Why is God making me be a nun when I don’t want to be? I don’t think I will ever not want a man. God made Eve for Adam so Adam could have a companion. I want a companion and I think God wants me to have one, but when?
- Talk to God about your sense of self-worth, worthiness, and well-being.
I know I sound like a two-year-old pitching a fit because I’m not getting what I’ve asked for and have been asking for as long as I can remember. I feel like I am an okay person and have a lot to offer, so I don’t understand why no one wants me and I am still being denied this. I feel like I’ve been relatively patient and have done my time at singlehood and enough is enough.
I know that you can’t earn things and that God does not grant you them based on whether you do enough or are a certain way. Three friends have had/are having babies in a six month span. I am happy for them and it’s not so much jealously but I feel “Why can’t I have that? When will that be me? What should I do? Should I make it happen myself and take it into my own hands or keep waiting?”
I recently began re-reading a book about waiting. In it the author talks about how single people can do so much for the kingdom that married couples and parents can’t because of demands on their time. I know I am looking at it the wrong way, but that almost doesn’t seem fair that I am being asked to do more spiritually and also being denied what I want most. I know that being married and having kids has its own demands and challenges and that mine is a terrible attitude to have. I am volunteering at church teaching an English-as-a-second-language class. I have found it very rewarding and I know that serving gets you out of your own head and doing something good for others, so I am glad I have taken that step. The book made me realize that waiting is not enough. I agree I should put my extra time to good use and answer that call I’m just not sure how yet.
- Ask God to speak to you through the Bible.
I have written to God and He has answered me that I will find my husband soon and to be patient and that he will be the man I want and that we are being prepared for each other and I will get to be a mother. But that was months ago. My Bible studies have even had me re-read the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1:5-25 and of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 12. That was very comforting at the time but then I started doubting again.
- Ask God if there’s anything else you should be doing or if you’re supposed to wait.
I know people are praying for me in addition to my own prayers. It feels like it doesn’t matter what I or others do because it is all totally in God’s hands. I know that should be a comfort and I should feel relieved that God’s got my back, but that’s where the resentment comes in. Knowing that I am at God’s mercy and I must totally surrender myself to Him and wholly trust in Him and His plans and His will and knowing that His ways are always perfect, that He knows best and it will all be worth it in the end is at the same time inspiring but also exasperating and the realization is hard to accept. I keep wanting to do something and I know I can’t do anything—I have to wait on God. And the waiting is what’s getting me down. I usually don’t feel like it’s an “if” it’s going to happen, but it’s a question of “when”. Then after more time has elapsed, I start despairing again and wondering will it ever happen.
- Ask God to help you take comfort in any signs that come your way without reading too much into them.
I thought God gave me a sign in the form of a hummingbird once, but then I started thinking I may have misinterpreted it so I tried to clarify by asking to see a hummingbird again if the guy I like is my future spouse. I asked for the sign twice and the lack of seeing it those two times meant to me that I had been wrong about who I thought God was telling me is the one. The first time I told myself you can’t demand a sign from God. But, I couldn’t get the story of Rebekah at the well (Genesis 24) out of my mind. As I cried profusely, God told me to look up and I saw my wind chime with doves on it. It made me cry harder as I realized those are all the birds I need. Then I also heard a voice telling me not to give up my faith because of one hummingbird and I wondered why I keep testing God and asking for reassurance when I feel like He was loud and clear before I started doubting. I need the reassurance because nothing is happening. The doubt has me wondering was it Him, or me, or Satan telling me he was the one? If I was wrong and the guy isn’t the one, why won’t God send someone else who is???
- Ask God to direct you to a source of encouragement and help that works for you.
Sometimes when I am troubled I listen to Christian radio and it doesn’t help. Sometimes I open the Bible hoping that a verse will jump out at me and comfort me or speak to me and it doesn’t. What I find to be most helpful is doing targeted Bible studies. That is when I discover (or rediscover) the comforting passages. The Psalms have never really spoken to me until now. Here are some verses that have helped:
Psalm 32:8: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Psalm 71:14: As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 100:5: For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 145: 8-9: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
Other verses which have been helpful are:
Jeremiah 29: 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Lamentations 3: 22-24: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Joshua 1: 9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Proverbs 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Genesis 15: 1-7: After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
Genesis 16:4: He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (This verse tells me not to take things into my own hands.)
Genesis 17: 16-19: I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
Romans 8:24-25: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Hebrews 6:11: We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
- Pray it through until you feel better
My uncle also told me when I cannot find comfort, to pray through it. He said to pray until I feel better. The following is a prayer that I wrote to help me pray until I feel better:
Please, Lord, hear my prayer and may the Holy Spirit intercede for me and plea on my behalf with the words that I do not have.
Please help me to remember your promises to me and those that I see fulfilled in scripture. Please help me to keep doubt from taking over and from questioning you and myself. Please help me to have faith and not just believe you have my best interest at heart, but to find peace in it, appreciate it, and not resent it.
Please open my heart to your majesty and praise you even when I’m disappointed, frustrated, and hopeless. Help renew my hope and trust that you will deliver on your promises to me. Help me trust that you will provide and heal my heart and longing. Please help me to be patient and not despair that I am not doing enough. Please remind me that I need to let go and stop trying to control things.
Help me to surrender control and to quit trying so hard and relax. Help me to know that your time is the best time and that this is not wasted time. Please prepare me and help me strengthen my relationship with you so that I will make you the center of my life and not make an idol out of a human.
Please open the heart of the right man for me and stir a longing in him for me. Help us to find each other and have a relationship based on love for you and each other. Please prepare me for motherhood and let my body still be able to conceive and bear a healthy child and for me to find the father of my children before my child bearing years are past.
Please help me to see how you are faithful not just in my life but in others’ lives and help me to be faithful to you.
In your son Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
An updated post from July, 2014.
OK. So I said I was looking forward to watching the Sniper Trilogy I got a year-and-a-half ago, but did not sit down to do it until this week. I just didn’t want to see Tom Berenger get his finger cut off. I finally decided I was ready for it and liked the movies very much. They were different than I remembered. It’s been a long time since I saw them so I did not know what was going to happen. That was kind of nice. I often watch the same movies over and over and know what’s coming next so it’s a little boring.
When I have taken career aptitude tests, military has always come up as a job for me given my skills and interests. However, I don’t think I would have made a good soldier because I am a pacifist, don’t like peeing outdoors/in public, and have…
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Tonight a friend asked me what he should do about his insomnia. I’ve had a good bit of experience with it, so I was able to rattle off several suggestions and kept adding to it. On the way home, I thought, man, I need to write this down so I can remember it for myself and to help the next person.
I have learned that the first mistake is continuing to lie in bed when I cannot fall asleep. Here is my list of things you should do:
- If you can’t fall asleep after 15-30 minutes, get back up and do something quiet in another room.
- Before it gets to that point, try concentrating on breathing in and out. Repeating a mantra can help. Mine is simply “breathe in, breathe out.”
- Don’t drink caffeine after 2 p.m. (4 p.m. at the very latest). Avoid energy drinks. Don’t drink Gatorade, Power Ade, or carrot juice (I like V-8 Splash but it keeps me awake) prior to bed.
- Avoid spicy foods before bed.
- Watch your sugar intake.
- Consult a physician to determine if there could be another underlying health issue contributing to the insomnia like acid reflux or sleep apnea (I have both).
- The only 2 things you should do in the bedroom are sleep and have sex. Yes, the TV has to go!!!
- Turn off the TV, computer, phones, etc. about an hour before bedtime so your eyes will not be overwhelmed by their light and prevent you from settling down.
- If you must have outside stimulus, watching television is better than listening to the radio because it leaves less to the imagination.
- Sleep in a dark room. Wear a mask if it helps.
- Keep the temperature between 65-72 degrees during sleep. If it is too cold or too hot, it could cause you to wake up. Wear socks to maintain your body temperature.
- Get at least 30-60 minutes of natural light a day and ask your doctor to do a blood test to see if you’re vitamin D deficient. If so, take a supplement.
- Consider trying Magnesium after you consult your physician. I use it in tablet form. Take it prior to bed to slow your brain down and help your body relax and prepare for sleep.
- Turn your clock away from you so you don’t keep checking the time.
- Take a warm bath.
- Drink warm milk or a small snack of turkey or some other sleep inducing food prior to bedtime.
- Have white noise in the background while you sleep. Invest in a sound machine, or download an app and play it while you sleep.
- While lying in bed, relax your body by tensing and releasing your muscles starting with your toes and working your way up.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
- Don’t take naps. If you must, limit it to a 25 minute power nap.
- If your partner or pets bother you, move to another room or wear ear plugs. You might need to make your pet get off the bed if they sleep with you.
- Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a walk.
- If your mind is racing, tell it to “stop” so you can re-center yourself.
- Don’t balance your checkbook, pay bills, or do anything with finances prior to bed.
- Before you lie down, write 5 things that you’re grateful for, make a to-do list for tomorrow, or if you’re depressed write something to look forward to as a reason to get up the next morning.
This is just my list (I am not a doctor). You may hear different numbers of minutes or degrees which all can be subjective and are open to interpretation, but hopefully this will give you some ideas and tools to help you find relief. I hope it helps.
This is much longer than a normal blog, but it is what came out as I was journaling this morning. I didn’t want to cut it down because I felt that this is what God laid on my heart so this is what I should say.
I have struggled with my weight all of my life. In my adult life, I have to take medication which has a side effect of weight gain. However, a lot of it is because of my bad habits and the bad foods that I put into my body as well as my lack of physical activity.
I have had successes. In college I lost 50 pounds, but I gained it back then more. In the early 2000s I lost 90 pounds over a couple of years. But, over time for many reasons, the weight crept back on again till this summer when I realized I was 12 pounds away from my maximum weight. I have gone to dieticians/nutritionists in the past and am going now, but I know what I need to do. Putting it into practice and making it a part of my daily routine and finding the will power and self-discipline to sustain it is my problem.
Over the last 6 months I lost 26 pounds. That is not as fast as I would like, but it is progress. I even lost 8 pounds over the holidays. But, this last month, I have struggled with the same 6 pounds up and down. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I have a goal and I want it really badly, so why can’t I get it together and lose the weight?
The nutritionist said to reach my desired weight, I needed to lose 109 pounds. I had already lost some before I began seeing him. I have mini goals and I was seeing progress and had momentum, but then it stopped. I have prayed about it many times before, but today I sat down and wrote my prayer asking for God’s assistance in helping me reach my goal. I hope that it can help you as well.
Thank you Lord for Jesus Christ your son who died on the cross to save us from our sins. Please, Lord, forgive me for my sins. I realize that gluttony is a sin and it is something that I am guilty of and want to change, but I need your help.
Dear Lord, help me to get my self-discipline, self-control, and personal restraint back. Please help me to focus on my goal of getting healthy and losing weight and toning my body. Please help me find the time to cook so that I can control what goes into my food and my body rather than eating foods that are bad for me such as fast food or over- indulging at restaurants.
When I do go out, please help me to make wise choices and not over-eat because it tastes good. Help me to think of food as something I need to live rather than something to be consumed while celebrating or using it to comfort me. Please help me to find my comfort and consolation in you.
Please help me to want to eat healthily because it is satisfying and tastes good and makes me feel better both physically and emotionally as well as giving me more energy. Please help me to remember that all of the extra chemicals and additives and processed food make me fat. Please help me to consume natural foods with simple ingredients closest to the way that you created them. Help me not to crave fats, sweets, and salt because eating them makes my body crave them more and it becomes a perpetual cycle of bad eating and cravings.
Please give me the desire, energy, and time to work out and exercise even when I don’t want to. I always feel better and refreshed after I do exercise even when I think I won’t. Please help me not to injure myself, but to challenge my body and not reach a plateau. Please help me to vary my workouts so that I do not get bored, and so that I work all of my muscles.
Please help me not to worry about what I look like while I am exercising and help me not to compare myself to the others I see. Help me not to be embarrassed or ashamed of how I let myself get this way and help me remember that I am doing something about it now.
Please help me remember that most of my weight gain was my fault, but that there have been other factors such as medication and health issues that have contributed to it. Please help me not to be too hard on myself and feel guilty. Help me to remember that it took a while to get here and that it will take a while to get back to where I want to be.
Please help me not to give up or lose focus, but to have faith in myself. Please help me to regroup and begin again when I do overindulge or have setbacks or don’t meet my own expectations. Please don’t let me give up or get frustrated, but help me to see where I went wrong.
Help me to see the results of my efforts on the scale and in the way my clothes fit. Please help me to be happy with myself and love myself throughout this journey and always, no matter what my weight is. Help others to look past the extra pounds and to see me for who I am rather than what I look like.
Please, Lord, help me to do these things and help me remember 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Help me to treat my body well and make it the best it can be. Help me to be the best version of myself and honor the body you gave me. Help me to be heathier so that my physical infirmities will lessen or go away completely. Help me to treat my body in a way that will glorify your creation of me and prevent me from destroying myself.
Please Lord, help me remember “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Please remind me of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
When I have moments of weakness, temptations, or self-loathing, help me to seek you and pray so that you can encourage me. Help me to remember that you love me no matter what and that you are there to help me as I work to better myself.
Please help me find friends and family to encourage and support me and notice my hard work and celebrate my successes so that I do not lose hope of reaching my goals. When people do not notice, it makes me think my hard work is for nothing. Please help people not to cut me down or point out how much more I have to lose/ how far I still need to go, but help them tell me they are proud of what I have accomplished. Please help me to use that encouragement and momentum to know I can succeed and keep working at it.
Please help me remember that I am setting a bad example for non-believers and that they will wonder why I do not have my life together and why I seek food rather than seeking God to fulfill me. Help me keep Romans 14:17 in mind: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” and Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
I hope that this prayer will help others too, as we petition you to help us. Please let us know that we are not alone and that a lot of people have this same struggle. Please help us know that it does not mean we are bad people, but help us know that we can make a better version of ourselves by becoming healthy with our diet, exercise, emotional health, and body image.
Please help me have a shapely body that gets me back to where I want to be and helps me feel better about myself and appear more attractive to others as I try to find a marriage partner. Help me to know that there was a time and a reason for me to be this way, but that I do not have to be this way anymore.
Help me to know the role that I played in getting to this point and that it is up to me to do something and change my habits in order to live up to my potential. Let Hebrews 12:11 keep me going. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Thank you, Lord, for all you do for me and for the many blessings that you have bestowed upon me. Please hear my prayer.
I know better than to drink caffeine after four or five o’clock at night. I can sometimes get away with six and even seven p.m. but never with Mountain Dew. I figured, “Hey, it’s Friday, so it doesn’t really matter” but here I sit journaling, catching up on Facebook and reading blogs, and listening to an old cassette tape I recorded off the radio sometime around 2003. I ate some grapes which were really good (they’ve been in the frig for a while so I’m glad they aren’t ruined already).
I hate insomnia, and I hate it that I stupidly brought it on with caffeine which I know better and did anyway despite me telling myself I shouldn’t. But, tomorrow (rather today—it’s after 3 a.m.) is Saturday, so if and when I ever do go to sleep, I can sleep until I wake up. I can try falling asleep on the sofa now listening to my cassette tape or a relaxation CD with beach sounds. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received for my birthday or Christmas (I can’t remember which it was). I don’t use it often, because the couch is not very comfortable and I do not have a CD player in my bedroom to play it on, but it truly was a perfect gift since I often have trouble sleeping.
I hate the solitary hours I spend trying to be quiet and not wake other people up and just the time I spend alone thinking, flashing back, remembering times long ago and daydreaming about a guy. It’s sometimes kind of nice, too, though, to have my own little time where no one is bothering me and there are no obligations or places I need to be or people I have to see to worry about. So, it’s a mixed blessing/curse.
My sleep has been rocky for the last 2 months, but it is getting much better. Hopefully I have learned my lesson with the caffeine. I say that every time I do this though. It lasts for a couple of months, then I do it again usually with Tea. Oh, well. Maybe this time it will stick.
Good night and sweet dreams.
On a Hillside
I’m sitting on a hillside
Looking at a stone.
The sun is shining all around me,
Casting shadows across the lawn.
Flowers are dancing in the breeze
As pictures flash through my mind—
A really nice boy has died.
One day he was alive,
Now he is gone.
It is hard to understand,
Even though it’s been a while.
I remember him,
And what he was like
But a drunk driver took his life.
On a Saturday morning
I heard someone had died.
I realized who it was,
And tried not to cry.
That night at a football game
There was a moment of silence
Tears rolled down my face
As the band played the Star Spangled Banner.
The flag rose slowly, solemnly
And people drew together
His friends and people who’d never met him.
I didn’t attend the funeral
I hadn’t known him that well.
I couldn’t be in a room with all those people
That had loved him when he wasn’t there.
It is easier to understand
When an older person dies
If they have led a full, happy life
It seems time for them to join God.
When a person has their life ahead of them
It is hard to comprehend.
I pray that the man who did this
Will see what he has done—
All the people he hurt.
All the pain he’s caused.
So now I’m sitting on a hillside,
Telling a friend goodbye
He’s in Heaven now, but it’s so hard not to cry.