Step Out & Thrive Ministries with Bethany Boring
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Hold My (Short Right) Hand

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Prayer circles can be challenging to begin with. Add in a girl with a short right arm and a small right hand. Who wants to hold my (short right) hand? Awkward seriously doesn’t even begin to explain it.

You know the drill by now. Your group is about to wrap-up for the evening. Emotions are flooding high from an evening of change and inspiration. You are comfortable in your little seat. No need to move or allow others to see the look on your face as you process the information from the evening. You are relaxed and focusing your thoughts on the trip home.
“Before we close, I’d like everyone to form a prayer circle…” the organizer suggests.
So. Not. Right. 
My mind freezes.
My thought process stops so fast my eyes feel like they are popping-out of my head.
Now, I need to be calm and logical about this. I mean, come on, it’s only a prayer circle! I’m among friends. Those that truly know me, understand me and want to hold my hand through life. Yes, this prayer circle experience would be different. Better. Safer.
I rise from my seat of comfort and search for my place in the line of hands. I gaze quickly to the faces, silently wondering who I might find to hold my (short right) hand today.
Going down the line of possible candidates…
She sneezes.
There’s some kind of smell coming from that direction…
He is swaying back and forth and frankly, I’ve already exercised enough today.
And then I see it, an outstretched, welcoming hand. Open. Receiving. Inviting me in oh so close. I met her face and thought,:
“Really? The organizer of this whole circle wants me to hold her hand?”
I resisted at first, but as her hand remained still in the crisp air. Her eyes communicated that this time would be different. 
I found my place in the ring of prayer warriors. My left hand reached-out and made contact easily with a firm grip from my praying neighbor. But now was the moment of truth. It all comes down to this. 
I don’t remember any part of the words that were prayed that day.
I don’t remember much about what occurred after the circle departed.
But I remember the feeling of tight grips on both my left and right hands. It was if God saw my insecurity and said, “Oh Bethany, I love you and I will never let you go. I will hold your right hand with My right hand.” 
I was born with a short and quite small right arm and hand. Prayer circles are one of the most uncomfortable experiences in my life. I’ve had people eye me as I search for a spot and I can read their frazzled expression, “Dear God, please don’t put her next to me, I don’t know how to hold her hand!” 
I get it. In fact, people often get creative when they find my “uniqueness” waiting on their left side. I’ve had people rest their hand on my shoulder, grasp my upper arm or even just stand next to me not sure how to make contact. Most of the time, I’m next to a person that just assumes not to even attempt grabbing my little right hand, making me feel completely left-out of a circle meant to symbolize unity.
Left out of the circle.
Left out of coming to God. 
Left out of the touch from others.
I share more of my Survivor To Thriver story in my free ebook (and even more to come in my upcoming “Unmasked” book release!) but I wanted to cover a few suggestions to help you get over the awkwardness prayer circles can bring. After all, survivors give-up on making changes, thrivers bring change to others. 
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3 Tips To Avoid Awkward Prayer Circle Moments 

1. Remember Who You Are. I know I am not the only one who has ever experienced an awkward prayer circle moment. In fact, I think most of us church-going folks have been here a time or two. Sometimes when we combine human touch (or lack of touch) and God, we can misinterpret His Truth about who we are. God sees your heart. He is right there with you. Don’t miss that! 
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
2. Remember Who HE Is: Insecurity can be so visible when our humble circles come together. It’s almost as we wonder if those around us can see our struggles painted across our face. We know we have a God that knows and sees all. But remember, He also forgives. He moves mountains. He holds us up by HIS righteous right hand.
Bethany, I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. (based on ‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭13‬ NLT)
3. Reach-Out And Touch A Life: Human touch is so incredibly powerful! I can tell you about the handful of times I participated in a prayer circle with both hands in a secure, firm grip. I can tell you how the warmth made my mind go wild. I can tell you how that circle simply made my entire day. But now that I know who I am in Christ and knowing Who God is, I can openly and willingly jump right in and offer my hand to hold when others need it the most. Why wait for someone to reach out to you? Be the hand that someone never expects to hold them up.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecc. 4:12
Know who you are. Remember Who He is. Reach-out and change someone’s life today! (Just make sure to wash your hands first…just sayin.’

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About the Author Bethany

Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!

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SLWH says August 19, 2015

Perfect post for those ‘awkward’ moments. We’ve all had them from sweating the ‘please dont ask ME to pray’ and so on. Thanks do much. Visiting you this week from Coffee w?Holley. Feel free to visit back anytime.

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Oh yes – I’m the one NOW that volunteers to pray! God changes hearts! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Kathy says August 19, 2015

This is so beautiful Bethany, thank you for your vulnerability and wisdom!! Your post speaks to so many of us who have felt shunned, left out, and judged regardless of physical when someone reaches out to us we’re blessed, and healed. You story is a metaphor, too, for life..what a blessing it is! I wish I could be next to you in a prayer circle, you’d bless me for sure!! Joining you from next door from #TellHisStory. Glad I was your neighbor. I imagine holding your hand right now!

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Kathy! Your words just filled me up tonight! Holding your hand through this blogging journey! Thanks so much!

Deb Wolf says August 19, 2015

Bethany, Thank you so much for sharing this. It is my pleasure to share it on FB and Twitter. I know we can love better as a community . . . and we do it one person at a time. Many blessings to you!!

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Deb – Thanks for sharing! It means so much to me that you would lead your friends to this meeting space!

Elisabeth Kay says August 19, 2015

Oh, Bethany, you just completely touched my heart. It’s so easy to get caught up in our not-quite-whatever enoughness (I think I just made a word) when it’s really all about Him who know us best and loves us most. I’d hold your hand in a prayer circle any day! 🙂

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Elisabeth – I love your new word! So true! Joining you in our little prayer circle here! Thanks for taking part here! Made me smile!

andi says August 19, 2015

i still am not crazy about prayer circles….

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    And I – what makes prayer circles hard for you? I’d love to swap stories!

Susan Shipe says August 19, 2015

Always so good. Caused me to think on a few things. xo

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Just like your words are to me! We make our minds think late at night!

Victoria W. says August 19, 2015

Such an encouraging message, just what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing, Bethany. I’ve had little experience in prayer circles in my life, but I know that human touch can be a powerful thing. I usually shy away when it comes to people and any physical contact (because I’m really not used to it) but the few times I haven’t truly impacted my life. My insecurities may be a little different, but your message can apply to my life, and others. 🙂 Thank you, Bethany!

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Victoria – What a beautiful picture you painted of a life giving touch. I can tell there is more there. I’d love to hear more of your story!

Sue Donaldson says August 19, 2015

You are amazing- so good to be next to you so late in the game/day on RaRa. I love your coaching tips. My favorite is God’s all-inclusivity! “no one left behind!” (: Amen, sister. visiting from welcomeheart. sue

    Bethany says August 19, 2015

    Sue – That one made me laugh out loud too – glad it made you smile! Your words are so encouraging!

Tara says August 19, 2015

Bethany, I have missed coming here to your space. You are so right we’ve all prob felt that moment of uncomfortableness! But God has our backs. And if we were ever in a prayer circle together, I’d totally hold your right hand!

    Bethany says August 23, 2015

    Thanks Tara! This post is turning into one giant prayer circle!

Whitney Wagner says August 20, 2015

Great post, Bethany! I love your honesty. And these are great principles for everybody to learn from. 🙂

    Bethany says August 23, 2015

    Whitney – I have learned to be vulnerable and open on my blog. I only live once! Thanks for coming by!

Kristin Hill Taylor says August 20, 2015

Safety in community – I love that and have experienced that too. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday. I love seeing you there and here. 🙂

    Bethany says August 23, 2015

    Kristin – Yes safety in community…sometimes foreign to others! Love connecting with you every week!

samy says October 29, 2015

you are praise worthy.

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