Over time, we must all develop some sort of thick skin. It's hard to build thick skin. We all start out with our hearts on our sleeves, letting every minor thing cut deeper and deeper into us. As we mature, those wounds heal and become calloused, and we become indifferent to the words and actions of others. Our hearts harden, and our ears forget to listen. We become defensive, and who can blame us? Every other person, worn down by gossip and abuse, can surely understand and relate to the habit of protecting ourselves.
Building thick skin doesn't mean things don't hurt us anymore. It didn't matter how many callouses I had, and how many times I went on the monkey bars; I would still get new blisters and hurt. The only difference was that I slowly got accustomed to the pain, and I would be able to power through. After each "healing session", it would take a little longer for my callouses to tear and blister. However, each healing session would also take a little longer, since the injuries will be that much more severe.
I'd say I have a pretty thick skin. I'm bothered by a lot of things, but to make me go crazy takes an effort. This post comes along because my friend recently called me "The Persistent Widow" in regards to a banter we had. Obviously, I'm not a widow, and I'm not in the same position as a widow would have been in that time (plus the situation at hand was very minute, though I like to pretend it's a matter of life and death). In the parable, Jesus speaks of how the persistence of the widow had broken down all the barriers the judge had against her, and he finally gave in to help her. In the same way, how can a loving God not want to help us if we simply persist in our prayer? The more I asked myself: "Why don't I ask more persistently for the things I want?", the more I realized that it's because what I want is hard to ask for, and sometimes it's my own feelings of worthlessness, or even that I don't think God will answer.
When things are trivial, it is easy to just act silly and annoy the heck out of our friends. Then comes matters that are a little more serious, but you feel like you have a definite sense of righteousness over the situation, so you can push through and speak up. A little harder yet, there are situations where we need to ask someone for something, even though we know they are willing. Then, there are those situations where we are asking for someone for something they have a right to not give, and we bite our tongues, trying to muster up the courage (if ever) to say something. The toughest of all is probably asking someone for something that shouldn't be given, even if you want it more than anything.
Likewise, superficial-in-the moment things like good grades in O-chem and getting skinnier are easy to pray about. It's the things that might matter to us in that moment, and ultimately, while we may be a little disappointed if these prayers aren't answered, we probably will get over it easily. We minimize God to a superficial divine being who cares about such minute things. When we are desperate, and so much more in need of Him, is when we forget to ask, and we try every other way to achieve our goals. In the end, it's the harder things to pray for that really test our faith in God, our relationship with him, and how much we truly want His will be done. I know that I for one do not go to God first when I am struggling with anxiety or depression. I do not go to God first when I am feeling lonely. I do not go to God first when I need rest. Instead, I go to different venues that have "worked" for me temporarily in the past, and run from what God is telling me, teaching me, and answering me.
I'm working on praying more honestly about the things, and being unfiltered and undignified before Him. It's not up to us to judge what prayers are worth being prayed about, because Jesus has been interceding for us since before we were born; He already knows every prayer in out hearts, even if we don't admit. So why not ask?
What prayers do you have? Is there something that you need to pray for, but haven't found the courage to pray for yet? I definitely have a lot to pray for, but do not pray enough (if at all) about.