You Can Run and Bleed at the Same Time

I just started my run.

My test was in a few days.

47 chapters of material.

Yes, 47.

My head was full of a lot besides medical jargon.

Emotions of stress, anger, frustration, flooded my veins.

So, naturally it was time to blow off some steam and run.

Run fast.

Towards the start of my run, I could feel the adrenaline pumping.

Then all of a sudden.

Ouch.

I didn’t know what happened. Did I trip?

Why  was  I on the ground?

I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood. My right elbow was scraped pretty clean. My right knee had a gash as well.

What do I do now?

I had a choice at this point. Should I finish the two mile run, or head back home which would take a minute or two?

Keep going. 

So I did. And I ran the two miles.

As cars passed me, they watched a guy running full speed with blood dripping from each limb.

When I finished the run, I noticed how the blood dripped across the ring on my right hand that is the three theological virtues, “faith, hope, love.” It was a reminder that in order to live a Christ like life we must make sacrifices.

One of the coolest moments I had during this run was the message from God,

You can run and bleed at the same time.”

I have a bad habit.

I seem to notice the blood in my life a lot. The wounds, the scars, the trauma, and the fears become my focus. Because of this I stop running (living presently). I focus so much on the blood in my wounds that I end up not achieving my goal. I allow the suffering (bleeding) of the day to take lead and cause a pause in my pursuit.

I am sure many of you experience the same problem. Our wounds become our identity and our only reality, so we forget the importance of the path we are on. We allow the devil to consume us in an inner dialogue that prevents us from loving those around us in the present moment.

I want to encourage you to not let the suffering of this life deter you from running the race.

Focus on Christ at the end of your journey and the pain will start to disappear.

Sure, the wounds may still be there.B

But these are wounds only Heaven can heal.

When the focus changes…

so does your heart.

Procrastinating by Looking Up How to Not Procrastinate

Motivation. We all are looking for it.

Praying, when we sit down to do our work the Lord will come down and fill us with a zeal for what we are doing.

Sometimes, it happens.

The room temperature is perfect.

The coffee is soothing the soul.

The hum of rain sets the perfect background noise.

However, for me anyway, this is pretty rare.

The motivation to sit down and get done what I need to is more than hard.

It feels like a battle. A constant battle between fidgeting my legs, doing something more fun, eating more food, checking my phone, calling someone, legit anything.

A lot of times when this is the case, I procrastinate by looking up ways to not procrastinate!

All of my procrastination searches, lead to absolutely one thing.

More procrastination, and absolutely nothing else.

Which is kind of unfortunate.

However, if I can sum up my findings it is this.

“Act, and God will act”

-St.Joan of Arc

 

All to often, we allow the difficulty of starting a task prevent us from having an opportunity for God to work in our lives.

God comes to us in times of need and gives us all that we need.

How do we expect Him to give us a zeal to do our work well, when we do not even begin?

Therefore, we have one obligation.

The duty to start.

Then it is not our problem anymore.

God will take care of it.

This “giving of the task” to God is like a ball rolling down a hill.

All we have to do is give the ball (the task) a slight push and God will take it where it needs to go.

God works in our lives like the hill.

Once we let go, and give the slightest push, our task will reach its completion.

Therefore, stop procrastinating by finding ways to stop procrastinating.

ACT. And I promise you, God will act. Trust in His power.

 

 

That’s not my problem

Every morning we awake.

To a table of our problems.

A plate full of dilemmas. Immediately we grab the fork and start eating and eating.

We consume morning, noon, and night. By the end of the month, year, decade we start to see the problems for what they are.

Eventually, we realize…

All we have been doing is eating crumbs, and complaining of how stuffed we are. 

So stop shifting the crumbs around with your fork.

Focused on your own little dish of problems.

Put your silverware down and get away from the damn table.

There are other’s who need your help.

Who need you to help them finish off their dish.

5 Things Changing My Life

I wanted to talk today about a few things I have started doing that are changing my life for the better.

1.The Practice of the Presence of God

This is based off of the work by Brother Lawrence. Basically, I have constantly been reminding myself in the present moment that God is with me right now. RIGHT HERE AND NOW. All so often we live in the past or the future. Many saints describe this and talk to us about the very fact that God’s grace does not cover our “imagined future” that is why it seems so scary!

My favorite quote:

St. Augustine said,

“Trust the Past to God’s mercy, the present to His Love, and the future to His Providence.”

 

2.Inner Mortification

When people talk about mortification they focus on fasting. However, inner mortification can be very powerful in drawing you closer to the will of God. Basically, I have been focusing on imaginal/memory mortification. What this means is when you catch yourself day dreaming or making up scenarios in your head you recognize it and stop yourself. Stop yourself before you get stuck in your own mental hole. This could be about something stressful like a test at school. When you notice yourself getting lost in doubt and confusion, stop, take a breath, and refocus on living in the present moment with God. You can also do mortification with memory. Many people have a past that is filled with fears and sadness. When you catch yourself living that moment over again and again, recognize it, give it to Jesus, and refocus on what you are to be doing in this moment.

3.Morning Prayer

Wake up. Stretch for a second. And then get down on your knees in front of a picture of Christ you admire. Open the Bible up. Pray the Jesus Prayer. Simply talk to your Father. Ask for guidance, protection, courage, trust, all throughout the day. I can assure you even a brief 10 minutes will change you forever. When you feel bored, when you feel like your prayer is futile, stay there longer. Pray even harder.

4. No Phone till later

Don’t touch your phone in the morning. Pray. Shower. Get dressed. Each breakfast with no external stimuli. Sip your coffee with God by your side. We are so prone to distracting ourselves constantly. We are prisoners of our own minds. Use your morning as a foundation for the rest of your day.

5. Notice Sorrow and Smile

When you catch yourself obsessed with the negatives, recognize it. Don’t get upset about it. Then smile. Think of the positives in the moment. Think of what you are grateful for. Think of how you can serve God in the moment. Think of those you love. Think about how you can be a light instead of a darkness for the world. Do this every single time. Every time. Flood your mind with the thoughts of God. This is a major component in your spiritual battle. The enemy wants nothing more than to discourage you on your walk with God.

Try these 5 out over the next few weeks and let me know how it works out for you. I have a feeling, actually I know, God will send you a wave of peace and security. Love you all.

Here is the truth.

Lately, I’ve been praying.

A pretty simple prayer.

“God, allow me to see the truth of who I am. Help me see myself the way You see me.”

Some people may never pray this prayer.

They may fully grasp they are a child of the One True King. They may understand that God died for them. They may see the beauty before they see their scars.

I am not one of those people. I lived in the illusion that I was for a long time. I didn’t see myself in the light of His eyes. I was persuaded by fears and failures to view myself through a clouded lens.

Today, specifically, God answered this prayer. For a moment, though brief, I believe I saw myself as He sees me.

I was sitting on the airport floor. It was in New York. The terminal was hot. There were people everywhere. My blood sugar was for sure low. I felt consumed by anxiety. I felt overwhelmed. I felt drained of everything.

Then out of nowhere came this probably 1.5 year old child. The kid wobbled through all these people. She looked at me and stopped dead in her tracks. All of a sudden her eyes lit up. She smiled from ear to ear and giggled. Time froze for a second for me. In that moment I knew that is exactly how my God views me. Just as that child saw me.

Friends, you may see your faults before your successes. You may feel lost at sea every single day. You may feel overwhelmed and consumed by your negative self talk, anxiety, depression, fears, etc. I encourage you to pray this simple prayer. Allow your current vision of yourself fade. Soon He will send you moments where, even if only for a second, you will see the truth of who you are.

Why the Media is Making Us Useless

Overwhelmed. 

Describes perfectly how most people feel when watching the news.

It is like falling into a pool of negativity with our mouths open.

However, there are many positives to the media.

Such as being able to be an advocate for the oppressed, seeking change, pursuing truth, changing policies.

These are awesome.

However, I have noticed something.

The media is making us useless.

We as humans are not inclined to tackle giant tasks. We are biologically and socially adapted to taking things step by step.

We read a book page by page.

We follow schedules by the hour.

We draw line by line.

We write word after word.

When we have a goal, even if we don’t realize it, we break it down into steps to achieve it.

Such as going to school and getting a degree. We take classes. We study for individual tests.

Our big picture is made up of many microscopic pictures.

So why is the media making us useless?

Because all we see everyday is the big picture. The big scary picture.

We see giant issues that take time and creativity to find solutions for; however, they just keep coming.

Instead of realizing the pace at which we as humans tackle such issues, we are inclined to seek immediate solutions. When this does not happen, we get frustrated and remain idle. We complain. We criticize. We post our feelings. And yet we do nothing. Things do not get changed exactly because we are so overwhelmed.

In order to escape this trap we need to take time and reflect on the information overload. We need to take practical steps into making a difference and cleaning up a leaf or two floating in this negativity pool chilling in our backyard.

And that is the best thing we as civilians can do.

Do not let the media overwhelm you to the point of paralysis.

Take in what is necessary to make small changes.

Take in the negativity with a straw. Small sips. Enough to keep you aware and willing to make a move.

Friends, I encourage you today to not let the BIG PICTURE freak you out. Think practically. Initiate small change. And in due time your frustration will shift into a focus for the greater good.

 

Humility

I started thinking a lot about humility.

When thinking about it I told myself, “I think you are humble.”

And with that statement, I realized I am not.

 

C.S Lewis does a great job explaining humility with this quote,

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Lewis does a great job explaining the importance of remembering who you are.

You are a child of God. You have been blessed with many gifts.

So don’t think less of yourself, but start letting go of self.

If you are like me you may have some trouble spotting signs of a lack of humility.

In his book Furrow, St. Josemaria Escriva gives some examples:

Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:

—Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;

—Always wanting to get your own way;

—Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;

—Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;

—Despising the point of view of others;

—Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;

—Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;

—Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;

—Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;

—Making excuses when rebuked;

—Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;

—Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;

—Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;

—Refusing to carry out menial tasks;

—Seeking or wanting to be singled out;

—Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige…;

—Being ashamed of not having certain possessions…

Friends, I encourage you today to humble yourself. Our Lord showed us the importance of humility as He washed the feet of the disciples.

Allow yourself to forget yourself and you will see the world  much clearer.

adult adventure backpack daylight
Photo by Lucas Allmann on Pexels.com

It’s All Good

 

In my house above one of the doors there is a sign that reads,

God’s got a plan, and it’s all good.

It’s a nice little slogan.

Looking at it usually gives me a surge of peace.

It is a call to action: trust in God.

In reference to the Bible it probably relates to Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” ROMANS 8:28. 

This past year for me was not really what I expected it to be.

I had a lot of troubles enter into my life that I did not understand.

I had a lot of moments where I felt like Lt. Dan from Forest Gump as he shouted at God while on the fishing boat in the middle of the storm.

Lt. Dan Loud Conversation with God link

Like Lt. Dan, I did not understand. I could not grasp why my life was turning out such a way.

Thoughts flooded my mind…

Why was I in this situation? 

When would I have hope again?

Where was God going with this?

I am sure you have found yourself stuck in the middle of such a storm and confused about God’s plan for your life.

Humanity and confusion basically mean the same thing haha.

With this confusion, can come a lot of anger and bitterness.

For me this was visible in how I viewed my Creator.

I started to see God just as Lt. Dan did. I saw God as a coach forcing me to do as many sprints as I could to become stronger. I saw God as a military leader doing all he could to train me to become a warrior.

While I do believe God does exemplify some of these traits, I was missing the largest piece of all.

The mercy of Our Lord.

Surely God was their through my trials, yet I viewed Him as the cause rather than the comfort

Thinking about this now is extremely sad for me.

My perception of my Lord was stained all because of fear and pride.

My way had to be the right way.

My way must be the best for me.

My way was what I worked towards.

How often, in your life, have similar thoughts filled your mind?

So what are we to do?

We are to remember, Romans 8:28.

We are to remember that God is not the cause but He is the comfort.

In Him all trials, pains, suffering, and fear can be transformed into gift.

For this to happen, we must humble ourselves.

Look courageously towards Heaven.

And remember our way is not the right way.

Because God has got a plan, and it is alllllllll goooood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Suicide Note is Written

Over the last few months, news of suicide has been aired all over the media.

Prominent people who seemed to have very content and happy lives chose to take their own life.

Suicide continues to be discussed because it so hard to understand: for those who have never had suicidal thoughts/feelings.

Mental illness can be equated to getting a bad injury.

Lets say a broken arm for example.

You’ve never broken your arm. You’ve never not been able to use your arm. So when you see someone with a broken arm you can only imagine what they are going through. You can imagine how difficult it is to get up in the morning. You can imagine how hard it is to get dressed. You can think about how painful it is to break a bone. But all in all. You can never feel what they are feeling unless you experience it first hand.

You may have broken a finger and try to empathize, but most of the time it does not do justice to the other’s problem.

Whether it be depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, bulimia, anorexia etc. one can never know the full extent of the mental anguish. You may try to remember a time you were very sad, and believe this is exactly what depression is like. You may have moments of tidiness and assume this is how someone struggling with OCD feels. With mental illness, this is very difficult to do and more often than not perpetuates false stereotypes (such as OCD only being about cleanliness).

People say mental illness is invisible. It is so difficult to treat because unlike a broken arm, the public cannot see it.

I contest this statement.  

It is visible. Very. If we are paying attention.

For example. If my brother had a rough day at school. He may get into the car and be less talkative. He may turn up the radio a little bit. He might avoid a lot of eye contact. He may not eat as much dinner.

I notice this because I know my brother. I know how he acts during a normal day. I notice this because I am not focused solely on myself. If my brother walked into the car and I was blaring the radio and not connecting with him, I may never know how he feels. The more I think about myself, the less I would think about my brother.

Therefore, I would take action. I would ask him what happened. I could ask him why he does not seem like himself. Did he fail a test? Did a friend say something mean to him? Was he just tired? I could explain what I noticed and look for a solution.

I understand that with mental illness sometimes it may be a snap of the finger moment. An individual with depression or bipolar disorder may become depressed very rapidly which would prevent a friendly ear from seeing the signs.

However, I believe this is the minority.

Mental illness shows its face. It is subtle, but visible. We must be on the watch.

I write today to urge you to take action before the suicide note is written. Ask a friend why they seem so down lately. Get lunch with a friend that seemed really anxious all week.

Listen. Listen. Listen. 

We as a species are very astute when it comes to noticing an abnormality. As a kid I am sure you played those games where you had to spot the difference between two pictures. One picture had a flower pot with two flowers the other a flower pot with three. We have been trained to notice differences. If you could identity it in a game as a child you can identify it now in the people in your life.

Love. Love. Love. 

Deny yourself and take time out of your day to love others. Did your friend seem a little sad? Go hang out with them and get ice cream. The minute your mind starts saying things like, “They are okay, I have a lot to do etc..” stop it. Even if nothing is wrong do you think your kind act won’t be noticed? How do you know it will not have a long term impact? You don’t. 

Educate Yourself. 

Read up on mental illness to dissolve your stereotypes. Do you know the signs and symptoms of depression? Do you know the different types of depression? Do you know the differences between all the eating disorders? Do you know that OCD may have absolutely nothing to do with germs and neatness? The more you educate yourself the more capable you will be to notice problems, take action, and recommend counseling.

Before the suicide note is written, we all have a responsibility to…

Listen intently.

Love whole-heartedly.

Educate Ourselves and Others.

Through our actions, I pray at least one less suicide note will be written. 

Praise through Pain

I was sitting in Church today.

Before Mass started I decided to say a quick prayer.

“God, please allow this to be the best Mass of my life. Help me to let go and just dive deep into Your love. Let me be present. Let me feel Your presence. Fill me with courage.”

And naturally, two minutes in my mind started buzzing.

But, this time it was different.

This time it was worse. Much worse. 

Distressing thoughts were filling my head. I felt fear and anger inside of me. I was anxious. I was uncomfortable. Frankly, I felt like a bad person.

This was of no shock to me. Why?

Because I called out to God and evil tried to do all it could to prevent courage. 

I’m sure you have noticed this in your own life. The moment you strive for something good, the world tries to side track you. Evil tries to distract you.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the presence of evil in the world around me. In every situation I have started to ask myself, “Is this fear/doubt/distress/thought bringing me away from God?”

The world is full of trash that the devil places within our neurotransmitters.

Yes, the devil. Denying the devil’s existence does nothing more than give him fuel.

So, lately I’ve been calling the devil out.

I forget which saint said it but I enjoy the quote that goes something like this,  “The only person you can tell to go to hell is the devil.” So yeah, tell the devil to go to hell and scram.

I fought my flesh for the rest of the Mass. Second by second shifting my focus on the Lord not my mind. Rumination does nothing for the soul.

The minute I went up to receive the Eucharist. Everything changed.

I had a simple yet powerful realization.

I asked myself, “Why do I always feel like I am not doing enough?”

The answer I heard was: This is not Heaven. 

I then asked, “Well, how can I make this Heaven?”

The answer I heard was: 1. Receive Him in Communion 2. Praise the Lord Always

Simple yet it knocked the wind out of me and filled me with joy.

Is that not what Heaven is?

Praising God, loving God, and Him loving us FOR ETERNITY. 

Why not bring that here right now?

Bring Heaven to earth.

But how?

Praise Jesus Now and Forever.

Praise Jesus in every single moment.

Praise Jesus when you are anxious.

Praise Jesus when you are filled with joy.

Praise, and Praise, and more praise.

All in all, it was the best Mass of my life.

Because I received the body of my Lord and Savior and praised Him through the pain.

Friends, I encourage you to act as though you are in Heaven.

Filled with nothing but the love of God.