humble me Lord, but not yet

Humility is an antidote to so many of our problems in life.

It is the enemy to pride, which causes us so much internal pain.

Pride leads us to be ever fearful. Pride causes us to constantly watch how we are perceived. It prevents us from loving others selflessly. Pride is a telescope pointed at oneself.

Christ shows us that humility is the answer to following in His footsteps.

As He washes the apostles feet, He models humility for us.

It takes a minute for me to wrap my head around. God Himself, washing the feet of humanity.

There is so much love in that thought it hurts.

Tackling pride in a world that constantly tells us to watch our backs is extremely difficult. From the time we are in elementary school we are told that success in school, life, relationships makes us great. We become so afraid of not achieving success and finding stability that we fear so much. This fear morphs into pride rapidly and instead of washing the feet of our neighbor we commit our eyes to only staring at our own feet.

Humility is hard. To be humble is to be a disciple of Christ. There are many ways in which we can go against the tide and find true humility.

1.We can let it go. Any grudges or resentment from the past we can choose to release it to the foot of the cross. Humble yourself in accepting what has happened and choosing love and not resentment. Your focus on your self is just like adding salt to a wound. Give it up to God and choose to live with a selfless joy.

2.Do the small things. Help around the house. Help a friend with something that may be tedious. Don’t think you are above the small tasks of life. Choose to take time out of your schedule to help someone out, even if it is just for a moment.

3.Live with joy. There is a humility found deep within joy. When we are joyful we are filled with a deep trust that God is who He says He is. Though we are small and powerless, through Him all shall be well. Live with joy and prove your trust in Him. Trust that He is God and you are not.

Humility hurts because there is a dying to oneself. 

Out with the old and in with the new.

A new self who chooses to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Confusion Prayer

The confusion which you face is the clarity that you

need to abandon yourself to Christ. For in the turmoil

of the moment, He reaches out and grabs you hand. In

delusion He remains Truth alone. In the fear, He is

security. In the restlessness and trembling, it is a call to

let Him take you under His arm. For we are all just

nomads on this earth when we do not have Him, but

our adventure reaches completion when we are ever

present with Him. Jesus, we give you our turmoil so that

it does not prevent us from walking beside You. The

heaviness and fortress of our fears will turn to dust

when we press forth our drooping eyes and stare at

your Loving Heart.

Are you giving it your all?

“Are you giving it your all?”

This question comes up during many different times in my day.

When I’m studying…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m working out…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m at Church…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m talking to a family member…am I really giving this my all?

A lot of the times, this question arises because I am not. I notice that I am losing focus and procrastinating. When working out for instance, I notice myself choosing the lighter weight or taking a different path on the run.

To be honest, this question plagues me.

This might be you too?

There are many positives to being bombarded with this question.

Like, the hope of improvement.

Or, the constant search to be like Christ in virtue and love.

However, the flip side is many vices can dwell in this thought.

When giving it your all, is focused solely on you, it may transform into pride.

As usual, the Big Man Upstairs, gives us an answer to the question.

This is what Mark’s Gospel teaches us:

“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12: 41-44

What can we learn from this?

This poor woman, in her poverty, gave all she had. Notice, the Lord mentions her poverty? We too like this women are poor. Maybe not financially, but what about the poverty of our daily life.

The poverty of focus.

The poverty of endurance.

The poverty of zeal.

Christ teaches us that when we give our all in these moments of poverty, we are giving even more than if we had abundance.

We must remember; however, that our “giving” must be aligned towards Christ and not ourselves.

So when you can’t focus and you just want to put that book down, offer the moment up to Christ and continue reading.

When you don’t want to run that extra mile, offer the moment to Christ and continue running.

When you are having trouble focusing in Church, redirect your eyes to Christ and allow Him to fill you even if just for a millisecond.

Friends, you can give it your all, if you give it to Him.

The Fear Paradox

Fear has been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reflecting on how much of my life is not “lived” because I am afraid. The interesting thing about fear is that we may not even notice when we are being fearful. It has us chained and yet we do not even realize that our hands are tied and our feet are bound.

I don’t like that idea and I am sure you don’t either.

What gets me a little bit more worked up is the very fact that fear is not of God.

Constantly in the Bible and by the words of really wise spiritual leaders that fear is in fact from the devil. Fear is preventing us from doing the will of God. It is the devils greatest tool. How many times are we told to “be not afraid.”

We are told constantly.

Of course we are human. We are subject to fearful emotions, battles of the day, pain and misfortune. However, is there a choice to be afraid?

While reflecting on fear I thought of St.Mother Teresa’s quote,

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

 

What about the paradox of fear?

By fearing loneliness, many of us hide away creating our own prison cells.

By fearing hurting others, we avoid those we love and hurt them by mere omission.

By fearing failure in our classes, we are paralyzed and do not study, leading to failure.

The evil in this world is using fear to cause us to create our own downfall. The demons cannot harm us. The devil has no power over us. However, evil is constantly seeking to manipulate our free will. Evil is doing everything it can do to cause us to destroy ourselves.

You will feel afraid. 

Just like Daniel in the lions den.

I am sure the lions did not just leave him alone down there.

I’m sure they still growled, still showed off their shiny teeth.

I’m sure they walked around him and sniffed him pushy him back with their noses.

But through it all, Daniel trusted in God and waited.

I encourage you all today to stare fear in the face. Allow it to growl and shout at you. Let it whisper lies into your ears. Allow it to show you the doom.

And in the midst of it all….puff out your chest.

Smile.

Rise up.

The Lord is here. He is ever present. You are His child.

Be not afraid.

Walk upon the water during the storm, keeping your eyes ALWAYS fixed on him.

 

 

***Thank you all for your constant support. If you want to get notified when I post be sure to follow this blog 🙂

She Held My Hand

Have you woken up in the morning and felt like you must have swam across the Atlantic in your sleep?

When your feet touch the floor, you catch yourself from falling over?

Your eyelids decide to stay partially closed and the shower does not help?

I felt exactly like this when I woke up today.

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Well, this morning I had Church at 8am.

My four hours of sleep wasn’t really cooperating with me.

But, thankful, I made it to Church and prayed for some energy to take part in the celebration of God’s awesomeness.

However, as the music played my eyelids became heavy. For the next 30 minutes I did everything in my power to fight it. My eyelids were bench pressing air and not successfully. Since I go to school far away from home, I usually am in Church alone. Therefore, I didn’t have one of my siblings or parents to give me the oh so gentle nudge with their elbow.

I was zoning in and out of during the Scripture readings.

I heard the priests homily and probably dozed off for a few seconds in between sentences.

I was not only tired, but extremely anxious.

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I had a restlessness embedded in my limbs.

I had feelings of fear.

I had feelings of uncertainty.

I was being consumed with negative self-talk.

It eventually came time in the Mass for the Our Father prayer. 

In some Churches people may hold hands, especially families.

But between strangers, it is rare.

As the prayer begins I am still in my head. I am not present. I am restless. I am doubtful. I am uncertain. I am scared. I feel terrible. I feel alone.

All of a sudden, as I’m putting my cold hand into my sweatshirt sleeve, I feel something grab it.

I look up, and see a woman in her late 60s, sitting two seats away from me.

She had the most peaceful smile I have ever seen before.

It was as if a force knocked me over.

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It was as if I was lost and found.

It was as if my heart began beating with a greater force.

The moment she grabbed my hand I felt the weight melt away. My eyelids were no longer heavy. I was filled with energy. I felt a lightening bolt of peace.

When the prayer came to the end, I noticed myself hesitating to let go of her hand.

I felt I belonged. I felt out of my own head. I felt freedom.

As I was praying before Communion, her action was really getting to me.

I start to tear up.

The small act of love this woman showed me today, gave me all I needed. She reached out to a man who was alone, and reminded him of how much he is loved. Grabbing my hand was not the comfortable thing to do.

She chose to be uncomfortable so I would be comfortable.  

This woman did not pay off all my students loans. She did not heal me of all my past hurt. Nor did she comfort me for hours with her words.

 

This morning gave me a lot of insight.

It reminded me that love is the energy. By receiving and giving love we are made new.

It reminded me of how many good people are out there.

It reminded me that being comfortable and a Christian doesn’t make much sense.

It reminded me that the smallest acts of love may make the greatest impact.

It reminded me that my neighbor is waiting for me. To hold his or her hand. To let them know I am here. To let them know that I care.

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She held my hand.

And because of that act.

I witnessed the reckless love of God. 

 

 

 

 

I’m in a Windex Commercial

A few years ago, I was late for a campus event.

At this event we were advertising for campus student organizations. As an officer in one of the groups it was important that I was there to talk with possible future members.

I felt bad that I wasn’t there on time so I started to do the half run/half walk motion. However, as I approached closer to the building I picked up my pace. I started to run.

I was a few feet from the building when…

BAM. 

 

All of a sudden I was laying on the ground. My head hurt and right above my eyebrow was swollen. I felt like I hit a force field.

Looking up, I saw a lot of people staring down at me. Many of which were trying hard not to laugh but definitely smirking.

I was so confused. I was embarrassed. I was disoriented.

What just happened?

Peering at the doorway, I realized that the doors were made of glass.

Wow. I was stupid.

I felt exactly like the guy in this windex commercial.

Click here.

I feel as though this story is very relatable to my life.

Our lives.

Often, we feel like we know where we are headed. We the see the prize. We see the destination so vividly.

Yet, then God sends us a wake up call.

He puts the glass door in our lives to remind us to slow down.

When we are running towards our earthly goals we are consumed in our desires. We neglect the fact that the journey is not about us but about the Creator.

The glass doors in our lives shape us morally. They bring us back on the spiritual path. They allow us to remember that we are only human.

In the moment it may be difficult to accept the glass doors in our lives.

When people are standing around you laughing at your fall.

When you feel like you cannot get up anymore.

When you are experiencing physical or mental pain. 

However, once you get up and dust yourself off you realize something.

You are still alive and well.

You are stronger because of it.

It was only glass.

Friends, I encourage you today to keep striving after Christ. Allow the bruises on your head from the glass doors to become your trophy.

With enough faith…

You will be able to run right through the glass.

In Christ all obstacles are shattered.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Struggle Ship

So, I

I have just….LIVED.

However, in light of the all the positive vibes portrayed on my social media and daily conversation, college has also been a struggle ship.

What do I mean by this?

Well, “Hop on the struggle bus” is a common expression. However, I don’t really think a bus will do. To me struggling involves a lot of different components. I think a ship works better.

When I struggle…

  1. I feel like I am lost at sea.
  2. I feel like I do not always have control of my ship. 
  3. I feel fatigue (think dehydration).
  4. I feel alone.

Furthermore, in college I’ve been on the ship for a variety of different reasons.

1.Grades- Am I lost?

My sophomore year first semester, I had a hard time adjusting to the workload. Freshman year my GPA was great so sophomore year I shouldn’t sweat it, right? Wrong. I took on so much all at once and my GPA suffered.

This struggle was a big moment in my life because it started causing me to pose questions about my career path? Was ______ what I wanted to do? What is my purpose? Am I lost?

2. Faith- Who is in control?

Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have had a problem with the concept of control. In college a lot of things become out of your control—even small things. One example is being in the library without a car, walking out, and seeing that it is pouring rain. Another example, is being far from home when a family member is experiencing health issues. As a young adult, the need for control is so strong. We have grown up in an era that does not “go with flow.” Everything must go according to plan.

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Am I really ever in control? If not me, than who is in control?”

3. Dehydration- What is draining my zeal?

Water is important (obviously) and being dehydrated can do some not so great things to a person. One of the main symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. In college, I have had moments of extreme fatigue. It was not necessarily laziness or sleep deprivation, but rather a numbness to strive for greatness. I felt as though I had nothing in which to fuel me. I was like a car running out of gasoline. I was a writer with writer’s block.

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Why am I so mentally tired? What is draining the life out of me?”

4. Alone- Who is your refuge?

Being alone feels like the apocalypse to me. If anyone is a fan of Myers Briggs I am an ENFP. This being said, sometimes (a lot of the time) in college I will feel all alone on the struggle ship. My first reaction is to destroy this feeling of loneliness with talking to girls. My mind tells me, “Find a girlfriend Nick, and everything will be all good.” These thoughts of my need to seek refuge in another have caused me to struggle with finding my own personal identity. Whenever I felt alone, I would change who I was in order to befriend/impress another. The desire for acceptance was weighing me down. Through this struggle I became even more distant to myself…hence causing me to feel more alone (an endless cycle).

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Who will never leave you? Are you truly alone on the ship?

_____________________________________________

How do I exit the ship kind Sir? 

     Today, I am reminded that though I am on the struggle ship, I am not the captain. Though it may feel like I am in control God is guiding me to the island. My struggle ship experience has shaped my character and has allowed me to consider myself a sailor for Christ.

     Throughout college, when I felt lost, I found my true passion. Whenever I felt as though I had no control, I reminded myself to TRUST in Jesus and His plan for me. Whenever I felt the zeal drain out of me, I realized I was not filling myself up with the love of the Holy Spirit but rather the pleasures of the world. Lastly, whenever I felt desperately alone, I understood that I needed Him now more than ever before.

     Christ is not the captain of the ship.

He is the wind guiding you to Paradise. The only way you can guide the ship is to allow the wind to take you where He wills.

This is much easier said than done. When you are a dehydrated, alone, and lost sailor it is so hard to just go with the flow.

I am reminded of the quote, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

So friends.

Hold the helm firmly. 

Brave the sea. 

Listen to the wind. 

Keep the faith. 

     In the rustle of the sail, you will forget you are on the struggle ship but come to understand that you are on the journey that leads you home.

Above My Bed

     A few years ago my Mom gave me a framed print out of one of my favorite Bible verses.

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7* 

One day I decided to take the verse out of the frame and tape it to my ceiling right above my bed.  My intention was to wake up every morning to that verse being the first thing I saw.

However, that was rarely the case. Most of the time I would wake up then immediately hit snooze….then I would hit it again…and again. The other day I was so tired I kid you not I hit snooze every seven minutes for over and hour…yikes. On certain days I would wake up to the verse and read it quickly with no reflection.

After reflecting on this verse the last few days I realized my error. I had forgotten the power and the truth that floods this verse.

 Have you ever been called a coward?

To me it is one of the worst things a person can call me. Why is that?

To me a coward is someone that allows their fears to overpower their faith.

To me a coward is someone that gives up easily in any task.

To me a coward is someone who is lukewarm.

Christ tells us specifically that being lukewarm in faith is the absolute worst. Ironically, I have noticed that the problem with being lukewarm is that you don’t really notice it.

What do I mean by this?

Well, when you are sitting in a hot tub you notice the heat. You feel great. It is similar to the zeal you receive from the Holy Spirit. You just know that everything is right with the world. When you take an ice bath you know what you are doing. You feel the cold.

However, to be lukewarm is a scary thing. In lukewarm water sometimes you do not even feel like you are in water at all! Have you ever been in a room temperature pool or even the ocean? Sometimes you just stop noticing the water around you.

Why does this matter in regards to the verse? The Bible verse I am discussing today reminds us that God did not give us a Spirit of cowardice/ lukewarmness. We must remind ourselves continuously that we are given a spirit of power, love, and self-control.

I have reflected on the three gifts God gives us when we look towards Him. Power, love, and self-control all require ACTION. They all require the individual to remember who their Creator is and to always seek Him above all else.

Power reminds us that with God we have nothing to fear. Power reminds us that with God our strength is renewed. Power reminds us that with God we can and we will be brave.

Love reminds us to see the good in others everyday. Love reminds us to care for our neighbor. Love reminds us to find joy in serving others.

Self-control reminds us to form virtuous habits. Self-control reminds us to humble ourselves. Self-control reminds us to always keep our eyes fixed on Christ.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up.

I will feel exhausted.

I will not want to do the homework that will be due in a few hours.

I will not want to tackle all of the day’s anxieties.

However, I will look up to my ceiling.

I will take a deep breath and read the verse word by word.

I will put my feet on the floor and say confidently,

“With Christ by my side, I will not be a coward.”

 * I understand there are many different interpretations/translations of this Bible verse. This is my favorite translation, so I decided to use it.

 

Nails Along the Road

When I was a little kid I always thought my Dad was crazy when he would say….

“This car doesn’t feel right?”

“How can you tell Dad?” I would ask.

“I don’t know….you just…know.” he replied.

This happened to me yesterday. However, after a few more minutes of driving the uneasy feeling became normal. I stopped noticing.

I shushed my thoughts by telling myself, “You are just being crazy, its a new car. It’s all in your head.”

After stepping out of the car, I locked it and walked away. However, while looking back over my shoulder, I noticed that the passenger side rear wheel was flat.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME….”

I went over to the tire, pressed it with my index finger, and sure enough it was flat. It was ironing board flat. It was so soft it was like touching the pillsbury dough boy’s stomach.

I called AAA and was lucky enough to only wait a little over an hour. While the guy was helping me fix the tire, I noticed a shiny nail stuck into the rubber.

That little nail took down my 2 ton car?!

Why is this story important? I learned a few things from this experience.

  1. The fact that you can complain about “car trouble” is a privilege in and of itself. Therefore, stop complaining and be grateful.
  2. AAA is bae.
  3. Is this what sin does to us?  

If we are the car sin is the nail. At first we start telling ourselves that something just does not feel right. Whether we are acting on our lust, envy, pride, etc something just feels off.  There is an inherent feeling of uncertainty. Over time, that “this doesn’t feel right” feeling goes away. We become our sin.

Our sin becomes normal.

In due time, the air deflates from the tire and sin prevents us from moving forward. We are stranded on the side of the road. Sitting in silence unsure of how this even happened. We felt so confident. We felt so secure.

Friends, today lets reflect and determine what nails are sitting in our wheels slowly causing our tires to leak. In order to make life the best road trip of all time we need to make sure nothing is going to slow us down. When we truly care about reaching our destination (Eternal Life) we will be sure that all our tires are free from nails.

“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of His son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We are without sin,”we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins,he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”- 1 John 1:7:9

Let us not deceive ourselves, but rather understand that there are many nails along the road. But it is all good, because God is sitting right beside us in the passenger seat.