Just a reminder, here on Sarah Chose Happy I am striving for balance. I seek opportunities to better my physical, mental and spiritual self on a near-daily basis. I remind you because today isn't really about weight loss. I was raised in the Catholic church and stopped attending mass and practicing for several years due to a lot of personal reasons. Seeking solace, I started attending mass at the end of this past November. I went to a few different churches in Gainesville and finally found one that I really enjoy. I get that religion can be a taboo topic but I'm pretty much an open book in life so it was time to share my experience with you, dear reader. Going to church makes me feel better. It's as plain and simple as that. Do I agree with all of the beliefs and doctrines laid out by the church or my denomination? Nope, sure don't but that doesn't mean I can't attend. I kind of relate this to a person's upbringing. Your parents raise you to be a certain way. They teach you right from wrong, good from bad and their beliefs on life. However, eventually you grow up and develop your own views on the world but you still show up for Christmas dinner and love your parents. I may disagree with parts of the faith I follow but the overarching belief in something greater than myself is there.
The church I've chosen to attend asks you to turn to your neighbor and offer to pray for their intentions. The best was when the little old man next to me whispered, "I got you." A few months ago, a woman in my pew leaned over and asked if I had any intentions I'd like her to pray over. I kindly said, "Thank you but no." I don't feel comfortable sharing my personal prayers with strangers and, honestly, it's a long list and we didn't have a lot of time. I, regretfully, didn't ask her in return. I don't know why but it was a jerk move on my part. I was new and uncomfortable with the whole situation. I regretted it that day and still did weeks later. One Sunday, the woman was in my pew again and I was determined to offer to pray for her intentions. The time came, she offered, I declined and I asked her, "What about you?" She asked me to pray for her youngest sister who has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Suddenly, my problems seemed so small, tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I realized in that moment that we're all struggling with something and you never know what the people you meet are going through. I'm not sure why this encounter struck me the way it did and made me so emotional but it has left me thinking a lot about the power of prayer. Agree with me or don't, I don't really care because it's MY blog, but I truly believe that prayers can be answered.
Has everyone seen the movie Bruce Almighty? If not, go rent it--it's hilarious. When Bruce takes over the ability to answer prayers on behalf of Morgan Freeman (God), you hear the ridiculous things that people pray for like winning the lottery, losing weight on the jelly bean diet, a favorite sports team winning a major title, etc. I used to be THAT person praying for such nonsense. I spent countless nights praying to lose weight, "God please just make me skinny," but it doesn't work like that. I started, instead, to pray for strength, willpower, determination and knowledge. I prayed to believe in myself that I could achieve something amazing on my own. Well, you all know how that turned out. I decided in November that I had so much to be thankful for and so many blessings bestowed upon my life that I needed to start dedicating time to church. I might not make it every week but I give thanks to Him for granting me with my able body, focused mind and positive attitude. I pray for the strength to continue when I feel like giving up. I pray to be an inspiration to those around me and hope they realize their own capabilities. I also pray for guidance to be on the right path. Conversely, there's also power in the unanswered prayer and I want to thank Him for a lot of those that occurred the past few years. I prayed really hard for something that was never meant to be and I'm elated He knew better. Those unanswered prayers made me more self aware, stronger and happier. I trust in His plan for me that everything will turn out as it should.
How's that for Monday motivation? Have a great week, friends!