Tag Archives: faith

Purposeful living

st-therese-2

While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the thought occurred to me that most people who seem to know their purpose, at least those in a crisis situation do so because as Fr. Mike Schmitz says, they aren’t living “on accident, but on purpose.”

Think about it, “Unbroken” the story of Louis Zamperini’s unlikely survival during World War II, is all about survival and beating the odds and doing whatever it takes with whatever is available to be able to “win”.

Another story about winning is the movie Life is Beautiful with Roberto Benigni (who also directed) in which he concocts a whole elaborate game for his son to play so that the boy doesn’t realize the horrors of the concentration camp in which they live. It’s such an exquisite act of love and sacrifice and that’s all I’ll say so I don’t spoil it for you.

Back to Fr. Mike for a second.  In his podcast, “Within Reach” dated 1/22/17, he talks about living God’s purpose and how sometimes we feel that God sets out little breadcrumbs of clues for us to figure out his will for us and that if we are skilled enough to deduce it we will solve the puzzle.  But, we complicate it and tie ourselves up in knots when we already HAVE the answer.  God has given us the Commandments to live by and if we hold those up to our daily decisions it simplifies everything.

Really? That’s it?!

I guess I’m not alone in thinking I’d get some clap of thunder, a billboard or at least some flashing sign telling me what my grand (or perhaps not so) purpose here is.

That’s when I remember St. Therese embraced the simple everyday things.  And she made it to sainthood. So maybe there’s hope for me after all.

 

Thanks to Word On Fire for the image.
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The answer already exists…

Carrier charges may apply...

Carrier charges may apply…

I came across this article on my Facebook feed this morning.  The woman who posted it had seen it on a friend’s blog and didn’t want to offend the friend by commenting that our church actually is the answer to all these complaints.  The CEO of our church is the biggest pacifist there is.

Warriors against warmongering like this guy, this guy and this guy are all a testament to the fact that we are the original and we are not only surviving, but thriving.

And it’s not just the men who corner the market on being real examples of how life should be lived.  There’s a whole network of women who resemble the way we should be, but in a very approachable and human way.   And it’s not an exclusive club.  We have members who are like fun, distant cousins.

The problem has become that we think life should be easy and problem free.  We fear that if we have issues or problems or strife in life…well, we’ve failed.  That’s the picture that is painted by modern society.  You’ve heard the ad campaigns, “You CAN have it all”,  “You deserve it”, “Ah, what the heck, go ahead…YOLO!”

Well, guess what, you can’t have it all. Something has got to give. You may have the perfect job, but family life may take a hit. Or you may have a beautiful house with a beautiful wife, but you go to a job that you loathe daily.  And how come we don’t feel “you deserve it” when something goes awry?  Well, that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about balance.  We’re not supposed to be all self absorbed or self-loathing.  It’s about faith…active faith.  Prayer, involvement, giving and inviting.

And remember when you were little and woke up in the middle of the night crying because you had pains in your legs.  They ached and if you were lucky, your mom rubbed them ’til her hands hurt (never complaining, though). Those, my friend, were growing pains.  And just because there is pain does not mean there’s not growth.

Around Christmastime my sister-in-law told me she’d heard it said that life is about focusing on JOY – Jesus, Others, then You.  If we keep that in mind, all the rest should fall in place.  That’s not to say we’re not going to have falls and scrapes and diagnoses we do not want, but we will be better equipped to deal with these struggles.

Believe it or not, God sent his only offspring down here, to what is clearly second class seating compared with Heaven, to live and die here.  And, he didn’t do it small.  No, sir.  He sent his precious only child down to die a horrific and painful death.  What for?  A better mortgage rate? An upgrade to business class? A Michael Kors purse?  Nope.  For us and our miserable failings.  For our sorry (for ourselves) selves who can’t get out of our own way.  And God is THE most patient parent EVER.  Imagine if we had to deal with the problems the general public caused…wait, never mind.

Anyhoo, I used to think that we should all just get along and if we each find our own way to goodness… that works, but now I’m coming around to the fact that the original is long-standing for a reason.  If it hasn’t been sunk in decades or centuries then it bears a second look.

I, too, have been worried about what people would think about me and I have worried about hurting other people’s feelings, but there are bigger things to worry about.  It’s a Maslow’s hierarchy thing here.  We need to protect souls, not feelings.

Lately I’ve been praying that God make sure to text me and let me know that I’m either a) on the right track or b) way off and need to pull up the Google app to find my way back.  My word of the year is purposeful.  I’m trying to do things with purpose and not just float or drift.

So, I dare you (read invite!) to come to my church and sit with me and see what happens.  You can always do your own thing again next week, but maybe, just maybe you might find something that intrigues you and brings you back.

Photo courtesy of http://textinggod.tumblr.com/

Nearly February

I made some oaths, no promises (certainly not resolutions, Baby!) at the beginning of 2012. They were focused on the areas of <drumroll, please> faith in the form of studying the Bible, health in the form of training to do a 5K again (it’s been a while, people) and writing in the form of working on my novel more (by way of an Advanced Creative Writing class – stall tactic, I think not) so I like to travel… long and winding roads…so, sue me.

I found the writing class on the college’s website and after corresponding with the professor (whom I had met very briefly at a local writing group) who advised me to take the Advanced class rather than the beginner given the amount of writing I had already done I went to sign up (4-year-old in tow).  It was already filled. Having no other choice, I put myself on the waiting list. I have to admit, I had mixed emotions about not getting in. Those emotions were turned topsy turvy the following day when I got ‘in’. My first assignment was due several days earlier than I had originally thought (based on info from another employee of the college, but no harm done).  I got it turned in with no issues. A bit out of practice at staying up late to complete ‘schoolwork’, however!

I am getting feedback from fellow students and the instructor and it is very humbling, but at the same time terrific. Other times when I’ve written, the work just sits there in some vacuum and never gets read by another breathing soul. Now, granted I’m having to swallow my pride… a lot. But, it’s good for the soul, right? Right?!

Speaking of my soul, I began a Bible study last week as God has been working on me to do since last fall. I kept meeting these ladies who were raving about their group, then there was a notice in our Sunday bulletin telling about another study starting at our parish. Another woman at our homeschool group was telling me about the first group and even sent me an email on it. The final straw (in a good way!) was a mom in the waiting room at our daughter’s ballet lessons who was leading one of the groups. That clinched it. I signed up for the class the night before it was to begin and got one of the 4 remaining slots. I hear ya, God. You’re workin’ it. I just need to go along quietly on this one.

Well, I was a bit nervous as this was a group of Protestant ladies, but I had been assured that there were members of various faiths who participated in the Bible study. During our small group breakout, I half kidding, whole in earnest (as my mom likes to say), introduced myself as a <whisper it>’Catholic’. They were funny and kind about it. One woman was even nice enough to come up after and share that she wasn’t a practicing Protestant either, but belonged to another faith.

I am LOVING the book that we’re using for the study. It’s a Jen Hatmaker book called, A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study.  This woman is not only spiritual, but she’s laugh out loud funny in the process.  Irreverent, memorable and spiritual.  Where do I sign up?  I want to have Nachos with this woman!

The running thing is the last of the mohicans.  I’ve been inspired by many in the past, including my rock star of a marathon running husband and also a fellow blogger, writer and homeschool mom, Kathy.

I realized I had been giving myself a bit of a break because the first two items on my New Year’s list have been quite time consuming between all the writing and reading they require coupled with homeschooling and other social commitments, but excuse time ends this week.  Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am fighting a sore throat or cold or some other bout of ickiness, but I WILL be running on that dang treadmill this week come Hades or high water (not likely here in the desert, don’t worry).

Looking at a 5K in March!  Wish me luck.

Inspirational

Just spotted this on a site I frequent.  It’s applicable to so many topics.  Just wanted to share.

When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence….. ‘The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.’

America, Land of the Pessimists?!

That’s what the article by Pauline Arrillaga of the Associated Press would have you ponder.  Her article is asking if the country’s birthday is not such a happy one this year.  She brings up a good point that decades ago, we wished to be happier and have more fulfilled lives.   Well, technically, we’ve surpassed that wish. 

It’s my feeling that we are trying to fill the gaps in our lives by looking outside of ourselves rather than looking within and resting a moment.  When was the last time you actually took the time to rest, quietly for a moment?  Not with the radio or TV on in the background for noise.  Not while you made a to do or grocery list in your head while trying to “hurry up and relax”.  When? 

Taking the time to listen to the noises within can help make us appreciate the simpler pleasures and not worry about what’s truly out of our control.  For example, yes, I can drive more fuel efficiently by grouping my errands together and keeping my speed down, but I can’t control weather anomalies around the globe.  Faith (whatever one calls it) is definitely a key element in the answer to this conundrum. 

Personally, I’m trying to be good to myself so that I’m a responsible person (to the gifts I’ve been given and the temple in and on which I live) and therefore be a good example to my daughter. 

Another reason that I tend to lean toward a glass half full sort of view is the fact that we STILL, in this day and age, have an ALL VOLUNTEER MILITARY.  Thank you to all who serve and those who support them. 

So, what’re your thoughts?  Are we better off or worse?  If so, why?  As you ponder, remember to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting other passengers.  ; )