I have been going through a lot in this season of life that I'm in. At other points in my life I wouldn't be able to see the things God was doing until afterwards when I was looking back at it all, but lately I've been fortunate enough to see the ways God is answering some of my prayers as they happen.
Roughly 4 months ago I began to realize that I struggle with believing that I am loved by God. That my worth and Value comes from God. Now, I've been going to church regularly ever since I was in first grade, so I've basically been raised in church. Knowing that I was loved by God Is apart of the numerous other aspects of Christianity that are basically ingrained in my mind, there's no question that I know these things at this point. But I've never been put in a position where I needed to truly believe it. So I wasn't aware it was something that needed to be addressed until God decided to bring it to light recently. I began to address this by praying that God would help me to be able to start truly believing it. But if I'm being honest at the time I was only praying that because I didn't know what else to do, I had no clue how I was supposed to start believing something. So I prayed.
The thing with praying is that we tend to get stuck in this mindset that when we pray for something God will literally answer the prayer how we asked. ( which I am totally guilty of doing too, as you can see.) It's almost like we just treat God like he's a genie, expecting him to answer our wishes the exact way we wished them. With this situation I had ignorantly expected God to just make me start believing, like he could just snap his fingers and suddenly that would change in me. That's not to say that God can't actually do things like that, because he's definitely powerful enough to do it that way, but oftentimes that's not always the way it goes. When we pray for things to change in our lives, God will place us in situations where we have the opportunity to be more loving, or more prayerful, or whatever else it might be. The change will begin to occur gradually over time.
With the situation mentioned earlier, God had presented the opportunities to me in various ways over the past few months. Largely through showing me what It is that I draw my worth and value from, which was my friends and guys. I had used those sources for all of my validation my entire life, so I never needed to believe that I was loved by God because I was too busy trying to keep the love of my friends or gain the love of guys. Ever since I first began praying for this God has been revealing to me through different ways that I have been getting my worth and value from people, instead of him, and that's why I continue to get hurt and heartbroken.
I'm a stubborn person, so it took a while before I actually even caught on and realized it. It took countless situations where I was hurt because friends weren't treating me the way I thought they should, or where I was exhausted from constantly trying to gage how I should be acting in order to keep the friends. It took countless nights where I was in tears because I was convinced that "that one guy" would never like me, where I would compare myself to his ex's and make myself believe that I wasn't ever going to be good enough. It took countless conversations with friends and loved ones who ever so patiently would simply tell me over and over that people will always let me down, that I can't be drawing my value from them because I will always seem to come up short every time. They would tell me that until I realize these things and begin to believe that I am truly Loved by God and draw all of my worth and value from him, I will never truly be happy.
When I finally began to catch on to what God was doing and how he was working through all of this it began to change everything. While I do still struggle at times with where my value comes from, I am more aware of the situations when they happen. I am more aware of when I am placing what others think about me above what God says about me. I am able to be more confident in myself knowing that even if a friend treats me badly or if that one guy never gives me the time of day, it doesn't change anything about who I am. I believe that Jesus came to live a life that I could never live and that he died a death that I deserved to die, graciously forgiving my sins in the process, and that he rose again so that I could have eternity with God. He did the ultimate act of Love, one that no friend or guy will ever be able to match. Because of this I am freed from those burdens of constantly needing to be validated by others, I believe that I am Loved and cherished by God and nothing can ever change that. That's enough for me. I still pray for God to help me believe that he loves me, I still pray that God helps me to stop placing my value in friends or guys. But I don't pray those things the same way I used to. They're no longer prayers just because I don't know what else to do and feel obligated to pray about those things, now I pray about them expectantly and earnestly, because I know that he will move in those things even if it's not in the exact ways I'm thinking.
So all of this to say that I don't completely agree with the saying "careful what you pray for", because I don't think we should be careful with our prayers. We should be hopeful and reckless with them. We should be praying big prayers that seem crazy, with an expectant heart knowing that he has ultimate control. We should be praying earnestly, praying intensely, praying dangerous prayers, and most of all praying expectantly. Because our God is powerful and almighty and will move in our prayers, it just might not always be as simple as the snap of a finger.