Tag Archives: obeying god
1 Mar

So…shortly after my last post my mom went back to the hospital for multiple health problems, then my dog got cancer, then my diabetic dad stopped watching what he was eating, then my deployed fiance was indefinitely stuck overseas for three months, then I read my roommate’s journal (Totally wrong of me, but in my defense it was lying open on MY bed.) and I discovered all the things she hated about me, then in an effort to fix my relationship with her I admitted to her that I had read it and that conversation ended with an unspoken agreement that for the duration of the semester we would not be on speaking terms, then it was finally time to put my dog down, then I nearly failed my science class which would have kept me from graduating, then my senior capstone project refused to go as I’d planned it, and then as quickly as all that bad stuff entered my life…it was gone.

I graduated from college. I moved back to my parents’ house for a few months to relax and catch my breath before my wedding. I adopted a dog from the shelter and brought him back to health – and as much as I’ve helped him, he’s done twice as much so for my own healing. S FINALLY made it home from deployment and safely back into my arms. My mom had a couple surgeries and is doing much better. My dad is still struggling to eat right, but mom and I are helping him along. All is well. Kind of.

On the outside of me everything is back to being okay, but on the inside things are still a bit muddled.

Those were long months of loneliness and depression for me. Honestly, I don’t remember much about them. I know that I was sad all the time but I couldn’t cry. I know that for the most part I stopped talking in general. I know that I lived on coffee, cigarettes, and spaghetti. I know that I rarely slept for more than an hour at a time. I know that I woke up one day and realized I had a drinking problem. I know that it took me a few weeks to work up the courage to get help with that problem. And I know that I spent a lot of time at the park sitting on a bench and holding my rosary but not being able (or maybe willing) to pray.

Now that things are better and I’ve finally found respite…I’m not sure how to feel when I look back at that dark time. I’m disappointed in myself – I thought I was stronger than that and that in times of stress and adversity I would rise to the occasion rather than slinking around in despair. I turned to vodka and camel reds instead of my faith. I was self-destructive…and that scares me.

Looking back I don’t even know when or why I stopped going to Mass, or studying the Bible and Church teaching, or praying…I just know that I did. It wasn’t by any means a conscious decision…it just happened.  And then it turned into a vicious cycle where I didn’t want to go to Mass, or even see people who might have a speck of religion in them because I knew that if I did I wouldn’t be capable of covering up what my life looked like and I was ashamed of what they would have seen. Honestly that mentality even went so far as to keep me from posting on here…because I didn’t have anything fun or joyful to write about…I just had cold, hard, embarrassing honesty.

I have healed a lot…but there are still parts of me struggling to catch up – my faith, my ability to respect myself, my desire to know and seek God…

 

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Spiritual Normalcy

23 Apr

I’m in a weird spiritual place right now. Honestly, I’m in a normal spiritual place right now. It just feels weird because for the past few years I’ve either been in a spiritual low place or in a spiritual high place. I’d forgotten what normalcy feels like. I’d forgotten the feelings that come along with being in the spiritual “middle-ground.”

I spent most of my teenage years in this same type of “middle-ground.” I hated it. I fought against being there. I was so afraid of being like the church in Laodicea that is neither hot nor cold, that John talks about in these verses, that I would do almost anything to keep my faith “hot.”

I went to camps, retreats, conventions, and Bible studies where I would grasp at anything that I thought would give me a constant desire for God. And of course, I thought that I had to feel on fire for Him. I thought that if I didn’t feel hot, then surely I wasn’t hot. I’m so glad to be free from that mindset…if I wasn’t, then life right now would be a lot more difficult.

I don’t feel God’s presence right now – but I have no doubt that He’s with me.

I don’t feel like obeying God. I don’t feel like respecting my parents right now. I don’t feel like being a good steward with my money. I don’t feel like being kind to hurtful people in my life. I honestly don’t even feel like praying or reading anything of spiritual worth.

But I am. I don’t feel like doing any of those things, but I am still trying my hardest to be respectful, to save money, to be kind, to be patient, to fill my mind with words of goodness and peace.

The other day I obeyed God and I really didn’t want to. My roommate was privy to the whole situation and she was surprised that I did what God wanted me to do – I had some pretty good justifications for being disobedient. We were cleaning the kitchen together and talking off and on about my choice. And then I had a strange moment of clarity.

“You know,” I said, “Jesus made me do it. You know how sometimes as a kid you like to blame Satan for your bad choices? In this instance I can really only put the choice I made on Jesus’ back. I didn’t do it because I felt like doing it or because it would make me happy. I just did what Jesus told me I needed to do.”

I think that maybe that’s what God was trying to say when He spoke through John to the Laodiceans. I don’t think that God was worried about whether or not His people felt like obeying Him. I think He was more concerned with whether or not they actually were obeying Him. Even though I feel like a lukewarm, spiritual mess of a failure, I am not one. My feelings will never change the fact that I am God’s child, and through His strength I can seek obedience and perseverance. 

Struggles

20 Apr

The dailiness has set in…the shine of being Catholic has worn off a little bit for me. It’s still as beautiful of a part of my life as ever, but it’s not new anymore. I knew deep down that this day was coming, but I really wanted to pretend that I would be permanently excited about my faith.

Thank goodness for my sponsor and her family – I would be really discouraged right now if I didn’t have them. I also found out that a guy in one of my classes is Catholic. The joy in his eyes as he asked me about my Confirmation and First Communion revived my spirits a bit. I also got the chance to talk to S’s mom about joining the Church – she’s really happy for me and had tons of questions. Actually she acted exactly the way I wish my own mother had…

I found a beautiful version of The Litany of the Saints and a couple of songs by Libera and those have been pretty encouraging. I’m trying to get through my reading list, but I haven’t picked up anything but a textbook this past week. My sponsor and I have also started doing this Bible Study by Scott Hahn.

But I’m struggling.

I am finding more and more things about being Catholic that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. And the people who’ve pointed these things about to me haven’t been particularly gentle. I’m balking. I’m resentful. I’m confused. I have no problem obeying God and the Church, and but I’m struggling with some of Her followers who’ve taken it upon themselves to tell me that I need to buy a veil, set up an elaborate altar in my (very small four-person) apartment, and buy certain medals and other religious objects.

Those things are all really nice, and maybe at some point they’re things the Lord would ask me to do, but for right now I think He’s okay that I don’t wear a veil to Mass, especially since I always make sure that I’m dressed modestly enough not to distract anyone. And I think He understands that the little cubby in my desk that contains my Confirmation candle, crucifix, and a couple prayer books are the best I can do for an altar right now. And I definitely think He knows that I don’t have the money or the space for religious objects that I’d just end up having to get rid of when I move after graduation anyways.

I love being Catholic – but I feel like all of a sudden people are bombarding me with extra rules and traditions. And while I can see the value of those things, I just need some breathing room. This is a lot to take in. And quite honestly all the extra stuff is a bit of a stumbling block for me at this point. I’m struggling because I feel like I’m not Catholic enough, like I’m just not good enough or smart enough or patient enough to handle what everyone else seems to be able to manage like second nature.