Lately, I have been experiencing a lot of changes. In my personal as well as my social sphere, some people have walked away. Others have purposefully been cut out for bringing a lot of negativity in my life. In the mist of it all, I have never felt as relieved. With little time in hands as a single parent, I have decided to start a blog, write songs, experience different cooking styles...try new things! Friends have come up to me, asking what has changed. “Carine you look so happy, you're a new person! ”; I've heard this comment a lot lately. With a smile on my face I answer: “I am FREE”.
Going back to my immigration story, I've shared on how much my arrival in Canada has deeply affected me. Ever since I realized I was not myself, I have started to look for ways to get my spark back. Although all the conditions were in my favor to strive in this new environment, something was off. The more I tried to connect with people, the more uncomfortable I felt . Over the years, a feeling of inadequacy grew in me. I began to believe, I did not matter. “Here I am, with my Ivorian accent, considered a ''minority'' in a country where I can hardly make friends; nobody really cares about me”, I thought.
In all my efforts to break free of this belief, I've started to volunteer in the music department of this church I discovered six years ago. Music has been running in my family for decades. Coming from a Christian background, I thought it would be a good fit to improve my English and keep my passion alive. I then joined the team. To my dismay, despite my involvement the same feeling of rejection was still hunting me; until I heard the pastor say one day: “Prayer is not BEGGING AND PLEADING GOD TO DO SOMETHING’’. From that day forward, I have begun to ask myself “why am I not experiencing the promises of God ?”, “why do I feel this way?” ,“ is it possible that after all these years of calling myself a Christian, I actually do not know how to pray?”
All these questions have led me to listen to more teachings on the topic of Prayer. I know now, without a doubt that God does not bring Evil upon me. His plans are good and He has equipped me to stand strong against whatever storm I might face. It is no longer up to Him but to me to unlock his promises in my life.
Recently, I went to church and it felt like home. I am no longer feeling less worthy than others. With all of my flaws, I am loved, valued and appreciated not only by my friends but most importantly by God. Although the battle to grow my confidence is not yet over, here are two directions I am now following in my prayer routine:
1- Speaking God's promises
This is a very simple process. Depending of a theme (healing, peace, joy etc.), I find verses in the Bible and read them out loud using the present tense. Also while listening to worshipful songs, I take a moment to declare the promises over my day, my family, my job... This is a reminder for myself that God wants good things to happen to me, and commanded them over my life. It is rising up hope and faith; I know whatever I am facing, a solution is not out of reach.
2- Asking for guidance in the areas of wisdom, intuition (‘gut’ feeling) and creativity.
Since I understood that not every situation will require a super natural intervention, I pray to have a new perspective on things, practical ways to be efficient and resolve some of the issues. Contrary to wisdom, the ‘gut’ feeling will not necessarily align with a logical deduction. In many of my previous articles, I have talked about how I wish I had listen to this strong intuition more often. Now, I pray to recognize that “inner’’ voice and act accordingly. At last, I pray for my gifts and abilities to be unlocked and used to their fullest capacity, in a creative way. I ask for a fresh vision, dreams, new ideas and authenticity. I want to be the person God has created me to be.
I must admit, it can be challenging to practice this new way of praying. I had days when I could not open my mouth, overwhelmed by all sorts of emotions. Despite these feelings, in my heart I still declare his promises. I and the people around me have witnessed the positive changes it has brought in my life. This is my story and I hope it encourages someone who is experiencing similar situation not to give up, for Whom the son sets free is Free indeed (John 8 :31 ). Bye for now...