A Prayer to Be Real
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
I can’t seem to shake a conversation I recently had with a dear friend. We were talking about some struggles in her life, and she exclaimed, "I just wish everyone would get REAL! I feel so isolated- like I'm the only one going through things. When it’s time for prayer requests, people talk about their sick family members, but I would love to hear someone say for once that they need prayer for their marriage or a real personal struggle!”
She went on, “You know that old saying, Go to the throne and not the phone? Well, I know I need to take it to the Lord, but I also need to hear my friends talk about what's really going on in their lives so I don't feel so alone!"
Wow. The truth is that my friend is not alone. We all have struggles. But why is it that we keep them to ourselves? Why do we feel the need to carry on a facade in front of people instead of sharing our hearts? Even those closest to us?
I can't help but feel like people want truth. But I have found that the truth they want to hear is the truth that is comfortable and noncontroversial and easy to digest. A nicer version of the truth, if you will. But the problem is... that's not the real thing.
The real thing... the real truth... is uncomfortable and controversial and hard to digest many times. It sometimes breaks your heart and takes you completely out of your comfort zone. It goes under the surface and reveals those things that can be embarrassing and hard to admit. But so many times, those hard places are where the Lord shows us who He really is.
I want to be a friend who can share what is really going on in my life. I want to be able to share my heartaches, disappointments and fears, and feel completely free in doing so. I want to be a friend who can listen, without interrupting, to those I love when they share their heartaches and disappointments and fears, and have them feel completely safe in doing so, because they can trust that I will not share what I've heard. I desperately want to be REAL.
So, how do we move past a picture-perfect social media world and polite smiles and "How are you? Oh, I'm doing great!" to just. being. real? While there is no one perfect answer, I think a good place to start is taking a good look at who I really am in the Lord.
In Joel 2:12-13, Joel shares this message from the Lord: "Turn to me now while there is still time. Give me your hearts… Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead."
I can just hear the urgency and frustration in His voice! He doesn't want a show for others to see. He wants our broken hearts. He wants us to take everything we have - our hopes and dreams and fears, our disappointments and hurts and every bad thing we've ever done - all of those things stored up in our hearts - and give them to Him. When we do that, when we really surrender all to Him and lay it all out there, we can face the reality of who we are.
When we understand that the Lord wants us and accepts us and LOVES us with all of our mess, it's not quite as scary to share with others. Rejection from people is not as daunting because we know we are accepted and loved by the One who matters most.
It also leaves us free to listen to our friends with judgment-free, humble hearts, because we know that we are all the same: sinners who need a Savior in a broken world that just stinks sometimes. We are freer to be the body of Christ and not just people who go to church together.
My earnest prayer is that we would all find that friend and be that friend who can just be real. That we can say, "I don't have it all together. I need prayer. I need a shoulder to cry on." And that friend will do the same in return.
But most importantly, don't ever forget that Jesus is our ultimate friend. He came to Earth to walk among us and feel what we feel. He gets it. He has been here. He is always available. And He is the only one who will never let us down.
"Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him." - 1 Chronicles 16:11
I so desperately want to be a friend who can be real. Help me to have courage in sharing my struggles with others that they might encourage me and love me through them. Help me to be available for my friends to listen when they need me. And more than anything, Lord, help me to surrender wholeheartedly to you and seek you always.
In Your Mighty Name,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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