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The choice to pause & pray.



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Psttt… My favorite prayer journal (the one I give as a Christmas gift every single year) is ready for preorder! This journal is the perfect way to record what God is doing in your life and the lives of others. It’s beautiful, easy, and the perfect addition to any quiet time.

What if you prayed instead? 

This thought came to me last year while Lane and I were attending the Passion Conference in our city of Atlanta. I honestly don’t know what sparked the thought but it was big enough for me to pull out my notebook and write these words:

What if you prayed instead? When someone made you feel inferior or tempted you to compare, what if you displaced those feelings through prayer, instead of allowing them to take root?

This thought took me by surprise.

The truth is, social media makes it really easy for us to compare our lives to someone else’s. If we aren’t careful, we can feel inadequate or not enough just by scrolling for a few minutes through the lives of our friends and people we follow. Don’t think for a second these thoughts don’t take root somewhere. They don’t just fly through your mind and exit out your ears. They stay. They fester. They start small. And, if left unattended to, they grow. They grow some gnarly roots. 

Don’t confuse me for the pope… this idea of “praying” over “feeling all the feels” is not one I lean towards naturally. I am so far from being that holy. 

I’ll take you through my actual thought process (minus the praying) for you to see that I am just like you: 

Thought arrives. 

Thought: Oh, she definitely has it more together than you. Look at her. Just dig into her profile a little bit. She’s prettier. She’s definitely kinder. She does more. She does it with ease. You can’t compare to that. 

Me: You’re right. She is better than me.

Thought: Duh. Let’s ruminate on it! Let’s worry about it! Let’s have a party. I’ll invite all your feelings!

Paperless Post invites sent out to: Envy. Bitterness. Inferiority. Worry. Fear. 

Thought: Don’t you just despise her? I mean, she has it all. She has what you want. 

Paperless Post invites sent out to: Anger. Discontent. 

Thought: You should probably just go crawl in a hole and give up. Actually, no. You’re in the perfect place. Keep scrolling. Keep ingesting these perfect little squares. Let’s keep the party rolling on. 

You get the gist… My first thought is not to be super holy and pray through my feelings. My first thought is to host a party for my feelings and then give them the host role so they can take over. Suddenly, it’s no longer my party. Suddenly, I have no control. Suddenly, I feel completely hopeless. Suddenly, I can no longer be kind or present. Suddenly, I am yelling at my husband for something that I’ve made up in my mind. Suddenly, I am going to sleep sad because of what I saw on social media that should have never had such power over me. 

But what I stopped… and what if I paused… and what if I prayed? 

My go-to prayer journal is ready for PREORDER!

I love seeing the number of you who took me up on this recommendation as a way to amp up your prayer life to a new level. I’ve been using this journal for the last 4+ years and it is the perfect rhythm within my faith life to stay consistent, keep constant conversation with God, pray for my friends and family in a dedicated way, and keep a record of it all.

If more frequent prayer is a desire of your heart, preorder and get ready for 2022. I promise you: it will be so good.

When I became pregnant with Novi, I also became obsessed with reading french parenting books.

There’s this remarkable thing (that the French would claim isn’t all that remarkable) that French parents do when their child begins to wake up from a slumber. They hear the whines. They hear the whimpers. But they don’t do what most people would do. They don’t run over to sweep up the baby and attend to its needs.

They pause.

They wait. 

French doctors would tell you they literally stop and observe the baby for a few minutes. 

And then, typically, the baby falls back to sleep. Because babies were designed to fuss a little bit as they are learning to move from one sleep cycle to the next.

Now remove the baby from this metaphor and think about your own thought life. 

The problem is that we don’t pause. We don’t wait. We observe the thought coming into our brain and that means we clearly do not take it captive as the Bible would say. 

We accept it. We run towards it. We scoop it up and we coddle it. We build a life around invasive and ugly thoughts and we lose out on such precious freedom. 

What if you stopped when the thought first arrived… what if you paused to observe it… and what if you prayed through it instead of accepting it as truth? 

It never feels natural to pray against a thought. It feels like you are going against the current. It’s not going to feel natural at first to stop at the profile of someone you could admire if your thoughts weren’t wired for envy and decide to pray for them but the script would go a little like this:

Thought arrives. 

Thought: Oh, she definitely has it more together than you. Look at her. Just dig into her profile a little bit. She’s prettier. She’s definitely kinder. She does more. She does it with ease. You can’t compare to that. 

Me: You know what? No. I don’t want to do this same script again. I’m going to choose a different path. 

Hey God, I just had a thought of envy come into my brain… a feeling of discontent, like maybe I don’t add up… and I don’t really like it. I don’t want to feel this way. So can you help me reroute my thoughts? I admire this person, clearly, but there is a part of me that wants what they have. So I am going to stop and be grateful for a minute because you’ve given me more than enough and then I am going to move forward and be present in my day. I don’t want to harbor ugly feelings for this person. They did nothing wrong. So can you bless them? Can you bring them something good today? Can you meet them where they are at? I am choosing to take these thoughts and bring them to you. I know you can move me into a different headspace. 

It won’t be a quick fix. But the more you catch the thoughts as they come, the easier it will become to hand them over to God. To replace the ruminating with real, effective prayer. 

The feelings you feel are real. I won’t discount them. But real doesn’t necessarily mean right. Just because you feel something does not mean that feeling is a truth-teller. Your thoughts are just thoughts until you do something with them… until you either give them permission to become a destructive mindset or you choose to deny them an invite into all the beautiful things that make up your life.


  1. Cathy says:

    Thank you for these words and advice on handling comparison. Great suggestion. My prayer journal should arrive today and will be a Christmas present to me from my husband. (Yes he knows ). I look forward to receiving it.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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