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Day 14: My Greatest Wish is To See You in Heaven

February 28, 2018

“In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and prosecutors.” (Psalm 31)

You know, lately I have been grappling with the idea that I do not have the power to write my own destiny. Sure, I have free will and the ability to make choices that affect my life along the way, but I don’t get that final say.

This goes against everything they tells us about in every movie and book. Only you can choose your destiny. Only you can make yourself great. We’re all in this together. *cues massive dance scene*.

But what if this isn’t right?

What if my destiny was in the hands of the creator from the start?

I know that my destiny is communion with Him for eternity. If I know this to be fact, how in the world could little old me possible be the one to write that fate? SPOILER ALERT: I cannot write my own destiny.

I’ve recently been coming face to face with this reality, and am trying to learn how to accept this fact.

God has a bigger plan for me.

My worth is found in His love, not in what I can accomplish or what I have done.

If I say yes to Him, I am far more likely to start moving on the path of least resistance towards that final end goal, as opposed to this rocky and bumpy path I have put myself on by trying to be a “self made woman”.

There is freedom in saying yes to the things that make me feel fully alive. It doesn’t matter what society says. It matters that I always remember that my worth is found in Him, and that if I do what He asks, I will always be happier. Sure, there will be times where it is not easy. But there is always profound happiness in the aftermath of a great trial. I always realize that I am stronger than I thought, and braver than I could have imagined.

Learning to let go and trust the process is a really difficult thing for me, but seems to be a recurring theme this lent. I guess my prayer still must be: Jesus, I trust in You.

Lifestyle

Day 13: Jesus, Grant Me The Grace to Desire it

February 27, 2018

“Whoever Exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Tall Orders. I recently had a friend of mine encourage me to start saying The Litany of Humility again.

I have an interesting past with this prayer. I have loved it and hated it. Prayed it and refused to pray it.

But today’s gospel encourages us to look at humility as a good and gracious gift. That it is only in humbling ourselves that we can become the best version of ourselves.

Look, I’ll be super honest with you. Pride is my poison of choice. Every. Single. Time. Without fail, I try to make everyone believe that I have it all together. I have a wonderful husband. I have a beautiful home. I have a job. I almost have a masters. I have a beautiful Instagram feed. I have this beautiful blog.

Everything looks beautiful.

But I have really been trying lately to embrace the mess and the chaos of this period of my life, and to let everyone know that my life is NOT instagram perfect. That small moments of every day can certainly be picturesque, but that sometimes the overarching theme is that I am struggling.

I am in the trenches with you. I know the struggle. I know what it’s like to worry about what others think of you, and what others say of you, finding your worth in what the world says is important.

But I am also standing up against that. Repeating over and over: Lord I am a mess, I need you, and its okay.

Here’s the Litany of Humility if you’ve never encountered it before:

 

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

 

(from EWTN)

 

Amen.

Lifestyle

Day 12: Three Strikes, You’re Out!

February 26, 2018

“Stop Judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6: 36-38)

Strong directions to follow. I heard these words today and realized I am not doing very well at following them. Let me give you some examples:

*in my brain as a fellow student talks*: no one wants to hear your input anyways. Stop trying to prove yourself. We are all here, doing the same work. We all work hard and all want to be considered in the hiring process for management positions someday.  Strike One. How often do these thoughts cross my mind? How much better would it be to acknowledge the intrinsic beauty and dignity that lies within the person speaking and recognize that their desire to be praised is really a desire to be loved. Don’t I desire that love every single day too?

*in relation to a project I am doing*: man, if this one person would just do one freakin thing I wouldn’t feel they were a useless part of our team. Strike Two. Useless is a condemning term. Whether I feel this way or not, how much better would it be for me to put aside the sour words and allow the good parts of the situation to shine instead of only focusing on the bad?

*as I think back on the process of getting into grad school*: I can’t wait to walk across the stage and say nah nah nah boo boo I won, you lost, how do you like dem apples? Strike Three. Forgive and you will be forgiven. It would be better for me to move on from this grudge I so desperately hold and just finish out the degree so I can hang up the fancy piece of paper.

Clearly I am not doing so hot on following these directions.

I am going to try to be far more positive about my interactions from here on out instead of constantly seeing the negative. I want to make sure that I am being the best person I can be so that when the time comes, I am given the same amount of love, care and mercy.

Cheers to constantly growing!

Lifestyle

Day 11: Lord I’m a Mess, I need You… and That’s Okay

February 25, 2018

“If God is for us, who can be against  us?” (Romans 8:31)

This is a really good reminder in a time of my life where I often feel that even God is against me.

How often do I raise my hands in the air saying: that’s it! I give up! No More. Please. tap, tap, tap.

SPOILER ALERT: all the dang time!

How often do I raise my hands in praise: if our God is with us, what can stand against?!

SPOILER ALERT: rarely.

Want to know why more often than not I raise my hands in frustration instead of praise? The thrilling conclusion: I cannot see how things work towards the greater good.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I also currently am wondering why God is forcing me to go through all these challenges.

I am constantly brought back to a prayer one of my mentors used to say:

Lord, I am a mess. I need you. And that’s okay. Over and over I work through this prayer, and over and over God gives me only enough light to see the next step that I need to take. Slow as molasses I am learning how to be okay with His outcome instead of my own outcome. Because if our God is for us, what can stand against us?

Lifestyle

Day 10: A People Particularly His Own

February 24, 2018

“And today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people particularly His own…” (Deuteronomy 26: 18)

Something about this line strikes me to my core. You are to be a people particularly His own.

How do I reconcile this idea that this liturgical season I am in is one of preparing for the death of Christ, but even though I am a participant in the crucifixion, he wants me to be particularly his own.

This King of the Universe, humbled himself to become man, take on my sins and still for some reason wants me and my messy life.

If He wants me anyways, how could I say no to this man?

I am going to try to spend the rest of this season learning how to say YES to a God that sees my mess and my sin, and wants me anyways.

It’s the least I can do for Him… right?

Lifestyle

Day 9: My Soul Trusts in His Word

February 23, 2018

“I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.” (Psalm 130)

Man this whole lent has been a lesson in learning how to trust. I’ve realized that I really do not trust God or His plan for me.

It is so much easier to just have my own plan and to forge ahead, hitting all of the milestones I have set for myself.

And yet time and time again I come up empty handed. Feeling sad and upset that nothing is really working according to my plan, and that I just can’t catch a break.

But when I pause to think about this situation… I realize that I am probably having negative feelings because I am not trusting in His plan, or waiting on His timing.

I know what you’re thinking… EUREKA! She’s figured it out. Except… maybe not.

I know I should trust in Him. But I really really don’t. And typically… I don’t want to because trusting Him means letting go of the control that I for some reason think I have.

I am trying to work on this each day though. Maybe someday when I reach the pearly gates I will finally be able to say those three words.

I Trust You.

Lifestyle

Day 8: Reality Has Never Betrayed Me

February 22, 2018

“He said to them ‘Who do you say that I am?’ ” (Matthew 16:15)

As I read this, this is such a deeply personal question. I can almost see Him looking directly into my eyes and asking me this very question.

I have canned Sunday School responses that would make me look like a really good catholic. You are my savior. My redeemer. My friend.

But I see Jesus calling BS on these answers. So really, who do I say that He is?

Jesus is my punching bag. When things are going wrong, I run to him and in with a childlike temper tantrum I throw punch after angry punch. Why me? When will things go my way? Why aren’t you listening to me?

Jesus is my biggest challenge. How do you expect me to sit here quietly and wait upon you LORD. I can barely sit quietly for 5 minutes during Grey’s Anatomy and you want me to sit here and wait upon you?!

Jesus is reality. And if I believe this (I better believe this- it is my life motto after all), then I know that reality has never betrayed me. Even when it seems like I can’t move one more step. When I am tired and weary. When I am left with more questions than answers. Reality has never betrayed me. Jesus has never betrayed me.

In the delicate balance of life, Jesus holds me, helps me and guides me. Never leading me astray and never letting go.

 

Lifestyle

Day 7: In The Belly of A Whale

February 21, 2018

“… because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Luke 11:32)

So don’t get me wrong here. I am sure Jonah was a great dude. In fact, he seems to have affected a LOT of change amongst people. But I always found that story to be a little bizarre.

One day, Jonah is all; Actually, God, sorry don’t feel like really spreading the word here. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden he was eaten by a whale.

What?! I watch Supernatural incessantly (which has its fair share of really out there situations), and even this idea of being eaten by a whale 100% confounds me.

But in today’s gospel, Jesus is saying that the sign given to Jonah is all we will need. The people turned back to the Lord because of this man who got eaten by a whale. How greater should our return to Him be when Jesus is the one asking us to come and see?

This lent, I am really trying to get to a deeper understanding of my relationship with God. What makes it tick? What needs to change? How can I turn my heart back to Him and become the best version of myself that I can possibly be?

I hope that in the next 30 some odd days, I start to see this answer more clearly. And I hope that I can see it without someone needing to be eaten by a whale =p .

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 6: In The Silence, I Wait

February 20, 2018

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”  (Matthew 6:8)

I am the queen of plans. I live by the planner. I have a 5 year plan. I have a 7 year plan. I have an overarching life plan.

But sometimes, no matter how wonderful my plans seem, they just don’t make the cut for what I actually truly need in my life.

Things come shattering down around me, and I start to wonder how plans that seemed so perfect could possibly go so wrong, so quickly. The peace I felt from the plan is fleeting, and the anxieties of “is this the right thing for me?” creep back in.

It is usually at this point that I throw up my hands in exasperation: LORD, WHAT DO YOU POSSIBLY WANT FROM ME?!

And in the silence, as I wait, something stirs in my heart. All these hopes, dreams, wants and plans may not be what I need.

But my heavenly Father knows what I need before I even get a chance to ask, and He constantly clears the path to get me there.

A Happy Lent Indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 5: And Then There Was Hope

February 19, 2018

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by satan.” (Mark 1:12)

Doesn’t this just really give you a surprising look at lent?

So now we know where the 40 days comes from. And we get the idea of the desert. But the surprise? Jesus is tempted by Satan.

Look- Jesus had that perfect soul, both God and man thing going for him, so I know that he was far superior at dealing with temptation than I am. BUT the fact still remains that Jesus had to deal with temptation too.

And this fact brings me a strange sense of comfort. He knows every feeling and sensation that I have, and He gives me tools to help me overcome these temptations.

More often than not I find myself tempted to sit in a cave of despair. I am tired. I never feel that I am enough. I don’t have enough friends. I don’t have a life of adventure. I don’t do fun things. Class eats up my entire life. My computer is sporadically not working. WOMP.

But you know what I have that combats this? Good, solid friends. Some that are long time friends. Some that I have just met. But good. Solid. Beauty- seeking friends that call me on to a greater encounter with reality. Friends that show me how to have hope and help me live life to the fullest.

This is a pretty great gift if you ask me.

I hope and pray that I can remember these bright beacons of hope in my life, and that I can avoid the darkness of despair. Maybe, with a little more joy in my life, I can be a better light to others too.

How’d your Sunday go?

 

 

Permanent Roommate is back from his adventure and I am SO happy to see him.