By Tasha Mac
What do you do when you have no money, the bills are due, your relationship/marriage is falling apart, your loved one is sick and/or you don’t have a job? Does any of this sound familiar? I’m sure some of you reading this have experienced most, if not all, of these and more of life’s curveballs and unforeseen circumstances. One day amid tears and despair, you have gathered the strength to talk with a trusted confidant before you snap and lose your mind. Your trusted ear has listened intently (or so you thought) to you pouring out your heart and then they hit you with “JUST PRAY ABOUT IT.” OMG, are you freaking kidding me?! I’ve just cried a river to you, I feel lost and this is the only feedback you have? Just pray about it?
Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe prayer is our first line of defense in any situation, and I believe in the power of prayer. I am a strong intercessory prayer warrior, and I know how transformative prayer is in a person’s life. However, for years, I thought all I had to do was just pray about everything that was going on and wrong in my life, and God would erase them all away to grant me the desires of my heart (yep, the genie in the bottle syndrome). I can’t begin to tell you how wrong this way of thinking was for me and for you if you have this mentality.
We all know the pressure, plight, and challenges that black women face every day. Women of color are the most disrespected, unprotected and underserved group of people; yet we are expected to be a pillar of strength, well-poised and always put together through every hurdle, challenge, struggle, adversity and hardship we face daily. It’s time out for blanket statements and clichés when we deal with depression, loneliness, heartbreak, financial woes and stare in the face of oppression regularly. It’s hard enough to open up to people when we are hurting and going through because we live in a world where people will turn on you if they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Before you know it, you are the target of their social media wrath for the week. We all need to be able to confide in someone. But when a person is being vulnerable and transparent with you about what’s going on with them, don’t lead your feedback with “Just Pray About It.”
I’m not saying you will have all the answers. However, reinforcing positive affirmations, listening, even telling a corny joke will alleviate a person’s stress and anxiety from what they may be feeling at that moment. It’s sometimes difficult for the strongest Christian woman who is tired of being lonely or who may be struggling to make a dollar out of fifteen cents to pray. We need to give people tools and connect them to resources that will get them off the hamster wheel of brokenness in those areas of their lives where they are stuck. Most people desire change, but they don’t always know where to turn. You cannot get on your knees and say “Lord, get me out of debt” and wake up and your debt will be gone. (Yes, I believe in miracles, but the Bible says “Faith without WORKS is DEAD”). The best thing to do for a person who is struggling financially is to offer tools and resources that will help them manage their finances. The best way to help your friend who desires to be in a healthy relationship is to help her realize she needs to be the best version of herself and be real with her.
Sometimes, people will default to “Just Pray About It” when they don’t want to tell a person the truth. I know because I’ve been there. A person who is dealing with health issues may need to hear lose 50-75lbs. It can be hard to be honest with people because we may not feel qualified or we don’t want to sound judgmental. You can tell sis to pray all day long, but what she really needs to hear is leave that married man alone, get off your tail and get you a job because a man is not a financial plan. You might also have to tell her to stop spending all of your money on things you don’t need trying to impress folks who don’t matter. Telling the truth is just as painful as hearing it but nevertheless, it needs to be told.
It is always great to pray for and with people. We must have a relationship with the Father. However, in addition to prayer, we must give people coping skills, and help them to help get themselves to that abundant life that God promised us. Otherwise, our family and friends will forever be the people on the church pews saying, “I receive it” and believing God is a genie in the bottle and that they don’t have to do anything but wait for a prayer to manifest without putting forth any effort. We’ve got the faith, but the work starts now.
Latasha “Tasha Mac” McGill is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Tasha Mac is a grammar geek who is obsessed with coffee, high heels, lipstick, 90s R&B and Comic book movies. She is also a vegetarian whose idea of “turning up” is being in bed by 9pm, working out, watching HGTV and reading a book.
Connect with her on Facebook @ Latasha McGill, on Instagram @ TashaMac523, on Twitter @ LadyT523