When Prayer Is Answered and When It's Not

When I was small, as I prayed I always tried to imagine a grandfatherly old God with a long, white beard wearing a flowy robe sitting in a rocking chair in the corner, patiently and quietly considering my requests. Even when I was bigger than small, I had to imagine that same God. When it comes to the cerebral, the spirit-y, the imagination, the indefinable, I am still very literal. If there's no God sitting in the corner, does it count? So I've carried that image around in my back pocket for many, many years, and let me just say, it's kind of heavy. It's a lot of hard work to 1. pray, 2. not fall asleep, and 3. maintain that image, including the right reactions and laughs in the right places, in response to the right cues. So my next tactic was to just stop altogether. What kind of God wants me to work that hard to assign Him a visage and personality while at the same time give praise and glory and petition and blah blah blah? (Was that sacrilegious?)

But people looooooove to spout on and on about their prayer life. I mean, if ever there was a humble brag, prayer life is it. Which, when you have nothing to brag about, is the most incendiary conversation you can have with another human. But I suppose it wasn't fruitless, listening to those people, because the other day, I prayed. I was in my car which is so full of junk that there was no room in the back seat for God to sit, and my purse was in the passenger seat. Even the trunk is full. So it was just me. Alone. Talking to myself. I was about to head in for a job interview-the second one for this position. I was there pretty early, so before I walked ever so gracefully in my heels through the door, I sent up a little something. I asked for confidence and humility. I asked for peace and calmed nerves. I asked for the right answers to questions. I didn't ask for the ability to cut myself off from rambling too much and perhaps I should have, but regardless, I asked for some pretty specific things. And I rolled my eyes at myself, stumbled through the parking lot and stood uncomfortably by the abandoned front desk, waiting for someone to notice me and take me to the right office. And as I sat through the interview, I noticed a lot of things: the interviewer was responding seemingly positively to my answers, I rarely stammered like a moron trying to answer a question I wasn't at all prepared for, and I felt great. I held my hand out for a handshake first and I made appropriate jokes. It was like magic, but really it was like prayer answered. I returned to my car and was stunned. Even now it's hard to admit that praying worked. It's hard to admit that I witnessed power flowing through me that was in no way a natural part of myself. It's hard to spit out these words that so forcefully discredit any pride or ability of my own. But I suppose that's the point.

I learned today that for the time being, the company won't be hiring for that position. Should they decide to in the future, I'm at least on their short list. It's just as well, honestly, because I have been pretty uneasy about the prospect of another forty-five minute to an hour commute. Historically, I don't do well with that. I've been vacillating between accepting or declining the position should it be offered to me. The job itself would be just fine, but the commute? It could be pretty terrible. So again, I've been praying for God's will to be made known to me. The waiting part of the interview process is truly the worst. I can't really make a decision when I don't know what their's is yet. So I asked for God to reveal his plan to me. His capital p Plan. It seems dumb to ask for that, because won't that happen eventually anyway? But knowing that it wasn't my own plan I was waiting to play out, but His, gave me a peace that I've never felt before. So today, His Plan was kind of revealed, at least the next little part. Taking the step to interview for a job was great for me, but it wasn't the right one. But at least now I know I can do it, and I can try again. I don't have to drive to the ends of the earth, or the ends of Atlanta, and God knows that and hopefully will keep it that way. 

BUT. That answer was also kind of a non-answer. I don't really know how to proceed from here. I still don't know what kind of job I want or how to figure that out or where to figure that out. So I have more praying to do and more people to pester, but at least I know that where there's a non-answer now, there will be an answer one day.