Prayer of the Ungrateful

Father, you have tenderly loved me and cared for me. You have created and crafted me. You have always known and understood me. Yet I have been terribly blind. I have been the most ungrateful child. Please forgive me.
For over thirty years I have walked in your grace even when I didn’t know you, even when I just thought that I knew you. You began to call me and change me. And still, as your love and mercy continued to flow through my life I was so miserable, hateful and full of resentment. I allowed my fears and insecurities to overwhelm me. I allowed the disappointment of what I didn’t have and who I wasn’t to shape and cloud my vision. Instead of seeing the beautiful gift of life you gave me, I focused on my shortcomings, my failures and the opinions of other imperfect, fearful people. Even when I saw you, even when you revealed your heart to me, I doubted you. Even as my love for you grew, I doubted your love for me. I couldn’t understand how you could see the person I was seeing and still treasure me. All I could see were my failures, my infirmities, and my imperfection. I kept framing my thoughts, my joy around my ability to package this imperfection into the appearance of perfection. (Or at least the acceptable level of imperfection) And I tried so hard to make my hard and hurting heart, my squishy body, my messy house, my poverty stricken spirit fit into the perfect, acceptable, “normal” little bow wrapped box to present to the world. I wanted their approval. I wanted them to say “good job”, to like me, to envy and worship me. I wanted more than what was mine to have. I wanted to be the one that fit in everywhere instead of the one that fit in nowhere. I wanted to feel understood, valued and approved of. But now I see that my mistake was to place my heart in the hands of other imperfect people. I was seeking something you alone can give. There is no right box, no universal mold, no central approval committee. I have wasted so much time squishing this beautiful, organic life you have given me into this rigid square mold of unattainable perfection. I have pushed aside your gifts or tried to hold myself to some rigid idol of what all of this is supposed to look like. I allowed the critics to flood my head and influence my life. I have allowed the opinions, the criticisms of others to be my motivation, my standard, my god. I have looked to the wisdom and opinion of other people, struggling with this same affliction to soothe the shame, the uncertainty of my soul. And I have criticized and nitpicked my life because of the hurtful, critical things they have said. Sadly, most of those things weren’t personal, weren’t really critical, weren’t meant for me at all- just their own desperate attempts to find the same approval, the same healing and freedom that I am looking for.But you, Father, have been so gracious and merciful. You have patiently worked and waited for the moment I would be ready to see you, to know you, to know the truth. You have removed the scales from my eyes and cut the root of the disease in my heart. The blind woman now sees and understands what you have seen all along. You have patiently and lovingly changed my heart and shown me that you truly love and delight in me. I am enough in your eyes. I am beautiful and a treasure to you. You are not waiting or withholding your love, your approval but you have freely given it to me. You have not withdrawn your love or taken it back or even been angry with me all these years when I foolishly told you it was not enough. I refused to believe you and called you a liar. I was critical of my existence, the person and life you created. I was ungrateful for my life and all of the beautiful things you placed around me. You sent friends and family that I missed because I was too busy focusing so narrowly on the imperfections, so intently on how to be perfect, to give the impression of perfection. I have wasted time, hurt others and squandered years of your love for me just so I could look good, look right, fit in, receive applause, receive validation, deflect the shame. I numbed my heart and my mind. I placated myself with food, with words, with looks, possessions and anything else I thought would stem the tide of anxiety,

But you, Father, have been so gracious and merciful. You have patiently worked and waited for the moment I would be ready to see you, to know you, to know the truth. You have removed the scales from my eyes and cut the root of the disease in my heart. The blind woman now sees and understands what you have seen all along. You have patiently and lovingly changed my heart and shown me that you truly love and delight in me. I am enough in your eyes. I am beautiful and a treasure to you. You are not waiting or withholding your love, your approval but you have freely given it to me. You have not withdrawn your love or taken it back or even been angry with me all these years when I foolishly told you it was not enough. I refused to believe you and called you a liar. I was critical of my existence, the person and life you created. I was ungrateful for my life and all of the beautiful things you placed around me. You sent friends and family that I missed because I was too busy focusing so narrowly on the imperfections, so intently on how to be perfect, to give the impression of perfection. I have wasted time, hurt others and squandered years of your love for me just so I could look good, look right, fit in, receive applause, receive validation, deflect the shame. I numbed my heart and my mind. I placated myself with food, with words, with looks, possessions and anything else I thought would stem the tide of anxiety, fear, and shame growing inside of me. I used others as a stepping stone to rise above the stink of my shame, my hurt, the emptiness, the fear of being nobody, of not being special, of being insignificant. Thank

Thank you, Father, for forgiving me. Thank you for ripping back the curtain, for slowly and methodically leading me to the place where I could see you and see myself. Thank you for always loving me, always valuing me and caring enough about me to change me into someone who could love you, treasure you, delight in you.

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