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Selective focus photography of profile woman praying

Are you asking for the right thing?

Woman lighting up candles

I wondered why God ignored me. For real. I felt like a Chinese takeout leftover: just sitting in the fridge, being ignored. Nobody eats it; nobody throws it away. To be fair: It is not that I was in deep suffering, I just felt that whatever I asked God, I got the opposite. Thus, my requests were being solemnly and divinely ignored. Some of the mundane examples that you might identify with: I’d ask for abundance, I’d get more debt. I’d ask to lose weight, I’d gain weight.

I talked a lot to religious friends in search of enlightenment. Unlike me, they had faith and believed things would get better. That God was listening, that it was just taking a while longer. I learned so much from observing their deep sense of connection. Still, I was unsure if they were in a better situation. I began to think that Earth was just a huge fridge full of leftovers nobody was paying attention to. A lot of them just kept struggling and suffering. The only difference is that they kept going, supported by the belief that God would provide them enough energy to power through all of that.

That was somewhat comforting; I mean… if we need to suffer it’s better to go through it with faith. Like those Chinese leftovers… they represent the hope that you have something to eat that you won’t need to cook. And you keep saving it for the day you really won’t be able to do it. And somehow that gives you some extra will to prepare your food today. So… yeah, I started my spiritual journey in search of feeling worthy enough to believe that one day I might be rewarded by God.

Person serving fry noodles

I’m originally from Brazil, and Spirituality in my home country can be a comprehensive spectrum. Sometimes people say the US is a patchwork (a bunch of different things sewn together), and Brazil is a melting pot (a bunch of different things that become one thing). I’m not sure if that’s how it works in all areas. Still, I can assure you that there are tons of gray areas in Spirituality. That’s why I wouldn’t be able to trace all auspicious encounters that led me to the Brazilian energy healing technique Fogo Sagrado – Alinhamento Energetico (translates to: Sacred Fire – Energetic Alignment).

The fact is, after taking many sessions, I decided to understand a little better how it worked and enrolled in a class. I confess that, by that time, I had almost forgotten that I ever questioned why God didn’t listen to my requests. I took that as given, and worked my way around that. One day, as we sat in a circle around the teacher, she told me something that struck me: that God was more of a trainer than a giver.

First and foremost: Maybe you don’t believe in God. That’s okay. In a way, I feel that what I’m about to say is interesting with or without it. It’s more of a twist on the way we see things and set our goals in life. So… what have I learned? That you have to ask for the right thing.

I’ll explain: God will never just “give” you something directly but will give you all the means so you can develop it yourself.  If you keep asking for – let’s say – “strength” (as my over religious friends so frequently asked) what you are asking is: “God put me in situations where I can develop my strength and become stronger.” 

Yep. And God always promptly conceded their wishes: challenges you can’t imagine, all kinds of twisted plots in their life, that would be unbelievable even in a Tom Cruise movie.

I’m talking about some of the strongest women and men I know. They overcame everything and rose stronger, but always at the cost of suffering while going through some nasty situations.

So here is my trick since I learned that: I always include “joyful” and “effortless” before any request. My requests translate into something like: “God put me in situations where I can develop effortlessly and joyful [whatever is the request]”. 

I tell everyone about this, and it has been quite useful, especially to my religious friends, that already have such a connection with the divine: tweaking the question just a little made a significant difference in what and how things manifested in their lives. I’ll tell you what happened in my life: anything that caused any friction just… poof! Disappeared. Yes, that meant changing romantic partners, the country I live in and even becoming unemployed for a period of time (but I didn’t have any financial issues). Anyway… I guess effortlessly doesn’t mean unemotional, right?

There is only one thing that I haven’t cracked yet: Writing. I do get tons of joy out of it, but I never seem to reach the effortlessness. But in this case, I use my faith and just keep working, hoping that one day I’ll find some delicious Chinese takeout deep down in my internal freezer ready to be published.

Woman writing on notebook

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