My mom claims my favorite sentence when I was little was, “I can do it myself.” Though this attitude is helpful as a child learns new skills, as an adult, it can build walls instead of bridges. This attitude has helped me try new things, but has also spilled over into my prayer life at times.
Telling the Lord “I can do it myself” doesn’t build intimacy. It can foster an unhealthy independence away from the Lord. It can encourage “not awakening or stirring up love” until we feel we have it together enough to present ourselves before the Lord. It can harbor fears and insecurities under the guise of self-reliance.
This unhealthy self-reliance has been an area the Lord has been particularly gentle with, constantly welcoming me to leave it behind and trust in Him. It resembles a dance of one step forward and two steps back many times, but He keeps inviting and reminding me to let Him lead.
A few years ago, I was gifted with a pilgrimage to Poland. One afternoon I found myself in the room where St. Faustina had lived as the portress of her community. The portress answered the door to the convent, and explained that Jesus would often disguise Himself and knock at the door for St. Faustina. One of the sisters had lovingly pasted quotes of Jesus to St. Faustina on little pieces of papers in different languages for pilgrims to take as they passed through her room. I chose the one with the rose petal decorating the quote that read, “I am very pleased when you confide your fears in me.”
It was as if the Lord spoke those words directly in my heart. My attitude changed. It’s not that I don’t still struggle with fear, self-reliance or waiting until I have it all together to present it to the Lord. But now, when I am aware of those moments rising in my heart, I remind myself that it pleases the Lord to bring that fear, self reliance and unfinished, unpolished prayer to Him. He is pleased when I confide in Him. He is pleased when I am me.
Closing Prayer //
Lord, you are pleased when we confide our fears in You. Help me to open the unpolished areas of my heart that I think have to be perfected before I can present them to You. Your heart sees my heart. I want my heart to rest in your heart. Jesus, I trust in You.
Reflection Questions //
Do I confide my fears to the Lord?
In what areas do I have an unholy self-reliance?