Is anything necessary beyond prayer?

Today's "Identified Feeling" from my Planning the Work list is related to the previous one in that I often feel like I "deserve" something, or there's no reason why I "can't" have it (I mean everything from extra baby food when I could just make it myself, to a sugary coffee drink, to new hair rubber bands when I already have plenty) — when in reality there are LOTS of reasons why I don't need X, Y or Z and, in fact, I shouldn't buy it or do it or eat it, whether it's about money, health or my sanity. You could call it entitlement, although that sounds a little harsh to me...I never grew up lacking anything, per se, but I don't think I'm a spoiled brat, either.

In part I think it's just today's money culture that makes me feel deserving. What's the saying? You drive your leased car with gas you paid for on a gas card to get home to your mortgaged house so that you can walk in and enjoy everything you've paid for with credit? Something like that. You get my point. Greed has largely driven our society in the recent past (when was that economic crisis again?), and it's left us trying to learn how to cope with even a small sense of entitlement. I live in Small Town, USA; why shouldn't I be able to take my kids out for ice cream if I want to? Our house is right on Main Street; who says we can't get a new car this year? This is America. You get my point. Our interntal compass has gone haywire.

So that's all fine and good for establishing that I'm not alone here in the downside of "I can" — but how to correct it when it leads me astray? Because all of those little "I can" have this and "I can" eat that offenses add up. They lead to a few pounds here and credit card debt there. I don't want that. But deciding to attack the root thoughts and faulty mental processing that gets me in trouble did not put me at ease as much as it makes sense. I'm supposed to do what? Find a way to retrain my brain to think new thoughts about lack, entitlement, willpower, discipline, patience, belonging and more? No wonder why we give up and just reach for the chips...or the online shopping...or another glass of wine. That's a lot of work. And although I've given much thought to my previous post — on trying to stop feeling sorry for myself such that I feel I "deserve" a cup of sugary coffee or I play the victim role, poor me, I'll never get unstuck — I still haven't had (or made) the time even once to tap on it. Almost immediately after writing that post, I thought to myself, perhaps out of laziness or perhaps from a real, true and deeper place inside of me: Is anything really necessary beyond prayer?

I have been praying all of my life, nightly at the very least, but it wasn't until last year that I hooked up with some amazing women at my local MOPS organization that I really started to understand the power of prayer and that when people say they'll pray for you, they really mean it. And now, I return the favor. Some prayers are answered swiftly and comfortably, and others take longer to come through. Some may not yield the exact result someone was hoping for, and others blossom and bloom in ways no one could have ever imagined. Since I always have this tendency to want to follow everything to the letter, to be pleasing and upright and honest and a good Christian — yes, believe it or not — I kind of felt guilty and wondered if God wants me to tap, and do yoga, and meditate, and go to therapy or even do some affirmations. What if he just wants me to pray?

I get that tapping in particular, for example, works with acupressure points on the body so that, in all physical reality, we are calming actual bodily sensations while we (in essence) tell ourselves that everything's going to be okay, or that we accept the situation and ourselves fully and as we are or what have you. That's almost like...prayer combined with needle-free acupuncture. Seems like it would work even better than just saying Are you there, God, it's me, Margaret. And yet it still leaves me wondering, is it really necessary? Should praying alone be enough to calm my nerves and alleviate my anxieties?

So for this Identified Feeling — whether you want to call it entitlement or not — the technique I'm going to try to use to stop the faulty thought processes that create mental traps for me and get me in trouble is prayer. I'm going to pray, as often as I think of it, for release of the blocks that force me into the entitlement corner. That I may see wants for wants and needs for needs. That I already have plenty, and that I may focus instead on giving and serving others.

I'm still going to try tapping on the whole feeling sorry for myself thing — really, I am — and I do feel good that at least I've come this far, I know what I need to work on right now and I'm Planning the Work so that I can Work the Plan. It's a daily struggle to find time for self care in this way, but I have been making changes in other areas of my life so that I can fill myself up first and be a better wife and caretaker for my husband and kids, so if I mean it this should follow suit. It's hard being a mom, not knowing where the line is when it comes to self care, guilt, feeling selfish and the blur that is our own true list of wants and needs. Some day I'll figure it all out. Maybe when I'm 50. In the meantime...I'll be praying.

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Filed under: Chasing peace

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