“The opposite of faith is not doubt; rather, the opposite of faith is believing you are in control.”
– Tom and Liz Gates, quoted in “Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity”
When my daughter (now 13) was a toddler, she wanted to do everything for herself – put on her socks, feed herself, put on her own seatbelt, and she probably would have plunked her tiny little backside in the driver’s seat if I’d have let her. Her constant refrain was, “MY do it!”
It’s embarrassingly easy to see myself in her, but as adults we’re encouraged to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-motivated, self-centered … whoops, scratch that last one. Independence is seen as a virtue in our culture, and “My do it” sounds a whole lot like “I did it my way” and “Have it your way” and “Army of One”.
I had never really thought until today about how this independent streak informs my prayers. I feel like I’m asking God for strength, wisdom, and guidance. The words sound like I am. But I wonder how many of my “God, grant me guidance” prayers are actually a thinly-veiled “God, I’m gonna run things now, OK?”
I don’t want to minimize the importance of action and responsibility – I’m not advocating passivity. I wonder, though, if my faith might be healthier if my prayer was simply,
“Dear God: YOU do it.”