So, I’m a pretty religious person. I know it’s not a topic I broach frequently via the blog, not because I don’t like talking about it (it’s something I talk about regularly in my everyday life), but because it’s a very important and personal part of my life. However, this week I just need to do a little documenting of this part of my life.
I’ve gone to church regularly basically all of my life. My whole thought process is shaped by faith in God and Jesus Christ. Over the years, especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on why this is. I mean, it’s not especially rational in the world as it is today and I’m a pretty rational person (if you leave boys out of the equation). And yet, it’s always there. Even in the moments when I thought I wanted to let go of my faith (there have been a few), I just couldn’t do it. There are probably several reasons for that, but the one that I can never argue with is that my life is better with faith. Period. And this week I was reminded of that over and over again.
I know I blog about all of these adventures I’m having in Japan, but I am here because of my job and, despite how it may appear, I’ve only taken one vacation day since I got here. And this week, my job was pretty stressful. There is a lot going on in preparation for the end of the year and my hours are getting longer and what I’m doing requires quite a bit of attention to detail, some good judgment, and a whole lot of confidence. All things that are in short supply chez moi when I’m stressed out.
When I moved to Japan, I knew it was going to be stressful (both the job and just living in a foreign country) and so I made a commitment to myself that I would do my best to keep a “big picture” perspective and take care of myself mentally, spiritually, and physically. There have been ebbs and flows in all three, but I knew this week was going to be rough, and so I made the commitment to myself that I would take the time to pray every single morning. And I can promise you it made a difference.
Now, the cynic would say there’s no proof that anything changed as a result of my prayers. And I would have to agree on most counts. It’s entirely possible that not a single physical thing about my week was affected in any way by my prayers. I don’t believe that, but I also can’t prove otherwise. What did change, though, is how my week felt to me. I wasn’t bogged down by the things that normally stress me out. My perspective was where it needed to be for me to stay sane. And there were little things that happened throughout my week that made everything manageable. Not only was my week less stressful than I expected, it turned out to be one of the best weeks I’ve had here from a work perspective. It was a complete success. And it was enough to remind me that my life is better when I am praying. So, yes, prayer changes things. Even if the only thing it changed this week was me, that seems like more than enough from my perspective.