Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Resistance to Prayer

After I met with my Spiritual Directress last week, I began to feel the dread for the coming theme, "God is Faithful, but I am not Faithful".

This is an invitation to have a deep felt understanding of my sin and the disordered tendencies in my life, that I may feel shame and confusion, and so turn to Him for healing and forgiveness.

What disordered tendencies?

The week was to consist of reflections upon my sins, weaknesses, and failures. Not my favorite topic. Not the easiest, either. My natural reaction was to resist praying. To sit in front of my prayer corner and to tightly shut my heart, my mind, and my journal.

Then I read my spiritual article for the week, "Exploring Resistance". In it I learned that "resistance" is the spiritual term for "avoiding prayer". It is not bad and is often a sign that there's some growth, something new that wants to emerge in my life, some change coming on the horizon, and which I resist as a protection from the potential difficulty of change.

I prayed about how long I had been avoiding prayer. The answer was a surprise - for I had been doing it for almost two years now. I would go in and out of my prayer time and my prayer life, afraid to be too close to God, afraid to hear Him, afraid to respond to Him, afraid to face Him.

I tried to see what image I had on my resistance to prayer, and what surfaced was an image of an erupting volcano that I had been attempting to cover with my bare hands, to hide from God and from others. I could see that my hands were getting burned and sooner or later I would have to let my heart explode, and be exposed.

Deep inside, I was not seeing the good changes, only the bad. There were so many attachments, false treasures, areas of vulnerability, and sins that I had allowed to accumulate over those years of resistance. I saw this past week the patterns and dispositions of my heart.

My prayer guide invited me to shift the focus from my own sinfulness to my Heavenly Father's forgiving love. If only I could learn to see that despite all these imperfections, my God still loved me, in whole and not in parts.

I will see Sr. Reylie tonight. Sometimes the lessons just crystallize when I tell her about them. I tried, and I will share about the movements of the Spirit in my life. I cannot say that I enjoyed this week, but it is obviously necessary. RDL is supposed to bring out my issues and lead to my healing. I cannot resist that which I asked for.

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