Personality Conflict

Over the years I’ve taken many personality tests for work.  As the executive director of various agencies I always used them as a tool for team-building, as well as coaching and supervision.  Without fail, every test has determined that I am distinctly not a “people person.”  The results always show that I am task-oriented, rather than people-oriented, which means that before I can focus on anyone around me I have to finish whatever tasks are on my plate for the day.  Nothing personal, I just need to cross certain things off my list before I can give you my undivided attention.  Otherwise, I get very antsy and start mentally trying to complete the task in my head while you’re talking.  And the more tasks accomplished in a day, the better I feel.

I think this is one more explanation for why prayer is so hard for me.  It does not feel very productive.  I want so much to pray, yet I sit there feeling both uneasy and antsy, waiting for the time when I am done and get back to the work at hand.

So I was thrilled to learn that I was not alone in this sentiment.  Lauren Winner, in her beautifully crafted book Girl Meets God, writes the following:

“I have a hard time praying.  It feels, usually, like a waste of time.  It feels unproductive; my time would be better spent writing a paragraph or reading a book or practicing a conjugation or baking a pie.  Sometimes, whole weeks elapse when I hardly bother to pray at all, because prayer is boring; because it feels silly (after all, you look like you’re just sitting there talking to the air, or to yourself, and maybe you are); but above all because it is unproductive.  As Jo once put it, “If you spend a day in prayer, you cannot, at the end of the day, point to a pile of toothpaste tubes you made and say, that is what I did today.”  Still, there are the weeks when I do pray, the weeks when I trust – or, at least, manage to act like I trust – that prayer does something, even if it is something I cannot see.”

So part of the challenge for me is not just overcoming my dis-ease with prayer, it is also challenging my sense that praying is unproductive.  Certainly, if you asked me, I would tell you that praying to God is a very productive thing to do.  It is producing a relationship between the person and God.  It is producing a change in the pray-er.  It is producing results for the people for whom the prayer is being said.  Indeed, there is a whole lotta producin’ goin’ on, so to speak. 

I can tell you that.  But, clearly, I don’t feel that praying is being productive.  At least not yet. 

I’ll have to work on that. . .

One Response to Personality Conflict

  1. I believe that each time you blog, you pray. What’s neat is that, as you are articulating your own issues, you allow others (me) to think and say, “Yeh, that’s how I feel too.” The Holy Spirit is at work on many levels of your life and connects us, through the steps of your journey.

    Thank you for being still, being aware, being vulnerable, being obedient, and being willing to share.