All my life I have always said, “When I have more time, I will be able to pray more. When I finish college, when I get a different job, when my kids are older, then I will have more time to pray.” That familiar thought that I will always have more time later has foiled many an holy inspiration to pray more. In reality, I don’t have more time later. As I get older, I am finding I actually have less and less time to pray, and find myself wondering what I did with all the time I had back in college! How I wasted it!
While it is true that you make time for what’s important. The reality is, there are times in life that are more difficult, and may seem almost impossible, to make time for a set aside time of prayer, and you may very well need to put a hold on certain practices for a time. Yet, in my life, I have come to realize that imagining I will have more time later is just me making an excuse and neglecting to respond to a God given inspiration with some creativity and a little discipline.
Procrastination: A Symptom of Perfectionism
I came to realize that my procrastination really was a symptom of my perfectionistic thinking. For example, I would have in my mind that if I am going to start praying the rosary, I need to commit to praying all five decades of a mystery, every day, at a certain time with full attention and no distractions. And while I do think having a committed time like that helps to make a habit of it and creates a great routine. In this season of my life, with three young children and constant interruptions, instead of helping me to pray more, it was causing me to put off saying the rosary at all. I needed to make it more of a habit of squeezing it in, maybe a decade or two, when I found I had the time, instead of giving up on it when I hadn’t prayed it in days, weeks or months. I needed to trust that my baby would be okay with my husband (albeit upset), if I left him for an hour and a half once a week to make time for evening Mass or bible study. I needed to find my motivation to put down my phone and use my spare moments in between diaper changes, intervening in children’s arguments and meal preparation to make the time to connect with my living God! I needed to drop my expectations of what a prayer life “should” look like which seemed about impossible in this season of my life and make practical efforts to have some sort of prayer life. I needed to prioritize my soul. To be aware of the presence of God in my day to day ordinary moments of life. To be that prayerful person that I want to be! To be tapped in to my source of life and hope. To give my spirit that breath of fresh air that I needed. To pray through the struggles of my life and pray for all those people in my life in need of prayer as well. After all, I only have one life to live and I need to live that life now, not later, when I have more time.
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”St. Therese of Lisieux