This year I’ve learned that sometimes when we whisper our prayers, we pray for what we believe we need.

I speak things into the universe hoping that they’ll come back to me in abundance. However, sometimes not getting what I wanted has been the transformative experience I needed to guide me toward becoming the best version of myself.

I’ve always asked God profusely for love. There had been something so enticing and comforting to me about being in a fulfilling relationship – about meaning everything to someone, establishing a level of trust and commitment, about filling a void that I couldn’t seem to fill on my own. This deficit way of thinking denied me from authentic and genuine relationships because I was too concerned with making the perfect romance come to life, rather than simply enjoying the presence of another person’s company and growing through the stages of getting to know someone.

More importantly, I lost the importance of getting to learn more about myself – my needs, desires, non-negotiables, and what I could truly offer to a partnership.

I jumped through relationships hoping to find the fairytale romance I’d always dreamed of. And what God gave me instead was a love for life.

A love for my family and friends.

A love for the woman I was becoming.

A love for the relentless pursuit of my passions.

A love for the small joys in life.

I learned to look intrinsically for the love I desired and how to pour that love through the cracks of my fragmented soul until I became whole again. I learned to surround myself with a circle that poured into me, despite my messiness, flaws, the moments I scolded myself for not attaining perfection.

He gave me the patience to lean and trust in His plans for who I was meant to become. The patience to trust in the timing of my life and to recognize that I was not yet a finished masterpiece, but endless drafts strung together to create the most exquisite work of art. To realize that beautiful things take intentional and deliberate time and that I was being prepared, in the most loving way possible, for exceeding and abundant joy.

He gave me discernment and the knowledge to walk away from people and situations that no longer served the purpose of challenging me to grow. He gave me instinct and intuition to see the signs and warning patterns that I had easily overlooked before.

I’m now able to claim my own space without letting temporary and fleeting distractions control my peace of mind and sense of self-worth. I do this by listening to myself. Being still. Being quiet. Letting God flow wisdom through me before acting.

When you pray for something, He might give it to you in the form of taking something else away.

He removed distractions to help provide me with clarity. What once seemed like a punishment was a blessing awakening on the horizon. As I tried to fill holes in my heart and soul with diversion, He emptied me of the negative tendencies and habits that I was clinging to for comfort. The things I once wanted so badly, now don’t seem as appealing.

I’m satisfied with who I am in the present, because I know I’m being prepared for something meaningful and lasting. When it comes, I’ll know because I’ve had a chance to explore my potential and honor my value.

I no longer chase love in the form of what I once thought it was. I chase light. I chase my goals. I chase knowledge. I chase adventure. I chase laughter. I chase growth.

Sometimes the answers to our prayers are uncomfortable.

They shake us to the core. Awaken us. Breathe life into us. Completely shatter us so we know what it feels like to put tattered pieces back together. When we allow ourselves to feel the pain, ease the scars, and breathe a little deeper into the discomfort, we find the answers to what we’re searching for.

I used to back down from the answers to my prayers because they weren’t what I wanted. I would run as quickly as possible to try and fight for what I thought I deserved, not recognizing that closing that door would allow me to open a window where I could feel the sensation of fresh, crisp air.

The very air I needed to breathe was always in the next room.

Waiting for me to stop standing at the door and simply open the window.

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