A Prayer for Lingering in Racial Discomfort

“The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort.”

Robin Diangelo, in “White Fragility” (Loc. 442).

In my last post, I talked about doing inner work with Jesus in order to overcome white fragility and be catalyzed into action. Here is one other tool for deepening our prayer lives with Jesus in order to be more effective in our activism.

As I prayed this morning about the ongoing racial trauma in our nation, I had so many questions: What is right? How do I join the movement towards justice? Am I risking enough? Too much? What do I need to unlearn? Where am I blinded by my own whiteness? It felt refreshing to name the questions. They’d been stuck in my throat for a while now.

I wanted God to give me immediate answers. Instead, his answer was to linger in the uncomfortable feeling that I will never have “arrived” in becoming a “good white person.” To linger in the unsettling reality that I am probably wrong, about a lot, and that my learning is never finished. To linger in the sadness that Black people can’t breathe, and I don’t know what to do. I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, “Welcome the discomfort. Don’t push it away with quick fixes.”

I pulled out a prayer that has helped me often, called “Welcoming Prayer“, and adapted it for today:

I welcome you, discomfort.
I welcome you, anxiety.
I welcome you, sadness.
Teach me. What do you want to show me?

(Wait. Listen. Linger.)

I let go of my desire for security— and my fatigue in risk-taking.
I let go of my desire for approval — to be seen as “woke”, important, and wise.
I let go of my desire for control — and my check boxes for doing good.
I let go of my desire to rid myself of this discomfort and sadness too quickly.

I open myself to the loving presence of the Father.
I open myself to the Spirit‘s correction, grace, and guidance.
I open myself to the body of Christ, the leadership of the Black church.
I open myself to becoming a life-long learner.

Amen.

Try praying this prayer for yourself. What part of it resonates with you? How does it give you freedom to be able to linger in the discomfort without having to know all the answers?

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Published by K.Aalseth

Kelly J. Aalseth is the Coordinator for Leadership Development for InterVarsity in Greater Los Angeles. She is an author, coach, preacher, and trainer.

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