Do You Talk to Yourself?

I have a problem.

And I bet I am not the only one who has it.

It is a problem in my prayer life.

Days like today, the problem has shown it’s face.

There are times when I catch myself…

praying to myself.

What do I mean by this?

Well, during my prayers I find myself talking to myself not to God, which is the whole point of prayer.

In moments of silence I find myself telling myself

what I NEED…

what I SHOULD have…

were I MUST go…

why I WILL succeed…

etc.

My prayers are not mighty arrows of trust, faith, and hope sent to my Father in Heaven.

Nope.

They are whispers to myself that flow in one ear and out the other causing more distress each time they circle.

They are stagnant wishes and faithless pursuits.

Prayer is a mirror my friends.

It is a way for us to send our thoughts, discomforts, and struggles to God. He will send us the reflection with all the earthly junk mail stripped out. Through prayer God will send us the filtered truth. This will allow us to live in a way that glorifies His name.

However, when we pray to ourselves the prayers sit in our minds like dust balls growing larger and larger. We become more confused. We become restless. We lose hope in God.

All because we are afraid to let go.

In true prayer, there is a letting go process.

We let go of our concept of time by falling into the eternal love of a God who loves us.

We let go of our ways and trust His plan for us.

We let go of our need to speak and we listen.

One way to test if you are praying to yourself is to see how you feel after prayer. Assess if prayer has made you MORE anxious, MORE restless, and MORE fearful. If this is the case, these feelings are not from God and stem from an internal dialogue with yourself instead of an external dialogue with your Creator.

Friends, I encourage you to watch for this problem next time you have your hands folded.

Ask yourself, “Am I praying to my Savior or myself?”

It is time we let go and let God.

And stop talking to ourselves. Because our conversations with the Creator are the only way we will find peace in such a hurting world.

Get Up.

I have been hearing something lately…but not with my ears.

With my heart.

Have you ever heard a phrase over and over again inside of you?

Like a song that pops in your head at the most random times.

And the more you try to get rid of it, the more it keeps coming back?

My song goes a little like this.

 

Get up and walk.

 

In John 5 Christ says such a phrase to a man ill, paralyzed, and alone for thirty eight years.

Christ declares, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

The man jumps up and is healed.

Just like that.

The more I think about this the more I see how it relates to my (our) lives. A lot of our troubles stem from not moving spiritually. Our struggles stem from the fact that we are spiritually stagnant. Christ’s command, to get up and walk, must be applied to all of our lives.

We must not just hear the word, but walk with the word.

We must not just ask for God’s grace, but utilize it.

We must not pray for courage, and then cry out in fear.

In Church today I was reminded of two great scripture passages.

The first was:

In 1 Kings 19:11 we are told that God is not dwelling in the dramatic. Such as fires, earthquakes, and roaring winds.

God is found in the whispers of our hearts.

The second passage was Matthew 14:22-23. 

In this passage Christ tells Peter to come out and walk on the water. Peter does but his doubts cause him to sink.

After hearing these verses at Church today I did not know what to make of them.

What do I do with the whisper I am hearing?

Why am I so like Peter walking on water and becoming afraid?

How do I just do what I need to do! 

Still confused, it was time for the “sign of peace” at Church. For those who are unaware, in the Catholic Church there is a moment in the Mass where everyone in the pews shakes each others hands, hugs, kisses….showing one another a sign of peace.

I shook a few hands and fell into the depth of my thoughts again.

About five minutes later, while frustrated, I noticed a little boy about 5 years old.

This boy was consumed with joy. And I truly mean it. He had a smile plastered on his face that was not going away.

Though the sign of peace was long over he was going down the aisles shaking EVERYONES hand.

Most people were a bit taken a back.

I wasn’t.

“That’s it,” I thought.

Get up. Don’t listen to the world. Listen to the whisper inside.

Act with joy.

Act with love.

Act with courage.

Always,

Without hesitation.

 

I Am In Love.

Love.

Such a powerful word.

#Romantic

A few months ago I was listening to a talk on love. I am pretty sure it was a sermon from Francis Chan. Anyway, throughout the talk Francis Chan said something along the lines of:

“When we are in love we do crazy things for others. Girlfriends, family, friends, etc. So, what about for God? If we love Him, would we do crazy things for Him. Would we give up our current comfortable lives?”

Then I felt the punch in the gut feeling coming…

I thought:

“What radical things do I do for God?”

“If He called me to do things that appear crazy to the world…would I do it? Has He already…and I haven’t listened?”

 

I consider myself a pretty adventurous person. I like taking risks. I like showing my affection for others by helping them in times of need. I like doing acts big or small to show my appreciation.

What would I do if someone I loved/admired/cared about needed me now?

If one of my siblings called me and said they needed me. I would drive two hours to the airport. Get on a plane. And be home for them. I’d skip class. I’d miss tests. 

If my upset friend needed to talk to me at 3:00 in the morning…and I was dead asleep. I would get up, drive to their apartment, and we would talk. 

If a girl I had a crush on lived a few hours away, I would drive those 2.5 hours just to see her for a few hours. (true story by the way). 

 

So....what radical things are you doing now because you love God? 

As I reflected on this question I was not really sure. I felt as though God was calling me to love him deeply.

But how? What does radical love look like?

I think it is really interesting that when we do radical things out of love it is considered romantic, selfless, and pure awesomeness. For example, think about all those crazy marriage proposal videos. Guys go out of their way and put so much time and effort in order to make it perfect. Why? Because they love their soon to be bride so much. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Quite frankly, I plan on being one of those guys one day. Get ready future Mrs. Bellacicco.

Furthermore…

We need to remember that as a Christian sometimes doing things because we love God appears crazy. Loving God does not look romantic at all.

Calling on him in prayer, helping someone that the world has said don’t go near, talking with strangers, maybe even going across the world to help the poor.

Loving God radically is through vulnerability.

 

Loving God radically is by sacrifice.

 

Loving God radically is by prayer.

 

Loving God radically is by service.

 

Loving God radically is by listening. 

 

We need to remember, that unlike marriage proposals loving God can be viewed under a negative light in the world.

So, how do I do radical things to show my love for God. Well, radical does not necessarily mean big acts. Each time we do something for our neighbor we are loving God radically. Friends, today I encourage you to do something a little radical to show your love for your neighbor and the Big Man Upstairs.

Write a note of appreciation to a friend, coworker, stranger.

Call someone and tell them how much they mean to you.

Hug a friend who has been down lately.

Send a small gift of appreciation to a parent.

Listen with an open heart to the story of a hurting stranger.

Smile at a stranger.

Pray for a friend.

Pray with a friend.

As St. Mother Theresa said,

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

So, yes. Today, I shout from the rooftops. I am in love with God. 

Will you shout it with me?

If so….

Now it is time to show the world you are on fire with His love. 

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A message to that person I kinda sorta know but don’t really know because we haven’t been introduced but like we both know each other and what not

Everyone knows these people. The people we see on campus all the time, at the store, in line at Starbucks ALL THE TIME. Yet, they are strangers. But, are they really? I always have trouble in situations when dealing with “strangers”.

The extroverted side of me (so 99% of it) wants to say something.

The extroverted side of me wants a new friend. 

The extroverted side of me wants to put an end to this mutual awkwardness. 

 

However, I usually don’t do anything about it. The 1 percent holds me back.

 

That 1 percent is scared that the individual is not as observant as me. 

That 1 percent is scared that maybe the person will think I am weird. 

That 1 percent is scared that I won’t know what to say.

Basically, my lack of action is all derived from fear.

I remember reading an interview with JK Rowling. She was asked about her favorite virtue. JK Rowling said that it was courage. If you read the Harry Potter series or watched the movies you know that courage is embedded throughout the entire work. At first I was really confused as to why JK Rowling picked this virtue. Lately, it started to make some sense.

After thinking about it, courage is truly one of the most beautiful virtues. Why? Because it is an agent for change.

Courage DOES.

It is an active virtue. It is a virtue that attacks fear head on and says…

“YOU DON’T CONTROL ME.” 

It is a funny thing to think about how we all start out as strangers. Even to our own parents…we come into the world as a stranger. Over time we begin to meet new people and build relationships. Our friends were once just another kid in our class. Our professors were once just heartless lecturers. Our romantic interests were just dreams.

I write this letter as an encouragement to anyone out there to talk to a stranger today. Do not let your fear prevent you from finding a best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, mentor, etc.

By acting on the virtue of courage we are building relationships. By our interactions with others on our campus, community, and the world we are showing love to one another. Through introducing ourselves we are saying, “I notice your existence.” By talking with a stranger you are saying, “Let me hear your story.”

In the era of the smart phone it is so easy to look down, to look away, and to fake a call.

Today, I encourage you all to slip your phone in your jean pocket, take a breath to fill your lungs, turn towards the person you kinda sorta know, and say….

“Hi I’m___________.”

Now, the story begins.