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.

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.

 

 

When You Reach the Hill

I can remember the pain.

Running through my legs as I biked through the streets of my hometown.

At the start of the journey there were many hills, but it was all downhill.

I loved the feeling. Pedaling was pointless. I was at full speed.

Yet at the end of it. I always knew there was the hill. The hill that cars have trouble getting up in the winter time. My little legs were never ready for it. But I would go up it. Moving inch by inch. Many times I had to get off my bike and push it up.

 

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We reach a lot of hills in our lives.

As students that may be a big test.

As patients that may be an illness.

As husbands and wives that may be an argument.

 

I am not here to give you the cliche “keep moving forward and you will succeed.”

I am here to talk about the pain.

Just like the pain in my legs when I would press up that hill.

I feel as humans we have a tendency to look toward the end. To say, “do this and you will make it.” Sure, that is great and all. But tell me about your hurt. What did it feel like when you were lying in that hospital bed? What did it feel like when your spouse hurt your heart? What did it feel like when you had not studied enough and the pressure was causing your heart to race?

We all are so drawn to the outcome of those role models around us that we forget their journey.

We cannot learn from their finale, but we can learn from their struggles.

For me, in order to have the courage to get up the hill I needed role models.

I needed to witness bikers going up that hill in pain and making it to the top.

I needed to see my siblings struggling with me.

I needed to know that I was not the only one experiencing this hurt.

 

Friends, today I encourage you to be vulnerable regarding your pain. Allow others to hear your struggle up the hill.

In this way, the struggle can be glorified.

The struggle can lead to another’s triumph.

However, if the pain is bottled and the finale is on display, no one prospers but yourself.

So be open.

Tell the world your story up the hill.

Lets reach the top….together.

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My Only Trophy

Above my fridge I have a trophy.

 

It is my only trophy.

 

The only one I kept.

It is pretty big and was for a soccer shootout competition I won.

Let me tell you the story:

When I was 13 my parents told me about a soccer competition that would take place at a nearby school. It was a penalty kick competition. I was really nervous to go but I decided it would be worth it. So my parents drove me to the field. I remember walking up to the older man running the competition and signing in for my age bracket. The people running the competition then placed me at the penalty kick marker and gave me a few tries.

All I remember was how hard they had filled up those soccer balls.

My pre-pubescent little legs could barely hit the ball very far.

I remember all my shots either missed the goal completely or slowly made there way into the net. I probably made about 1 shot. After I used up all my tries, I wanted to get out of there fast.

I knew I did terrible.

But all of a sudden something weird happened.

 

A giant trophy was given to me. 

 

The man told me that I was the only 13 year old boy in my division. So, by showing up I automatically won. He then told me there would be city vs city competition and then a state competition, which I would be eligible for.

 

I can still picture my stunned face as I stared at the biggest trophy I had ever received.

 

So, for the next couple of years I stared at this trophy sitting in my room.

It was the least valuable in my “collection.”

“I didn’t earn this,”

I would always repeat to myself when I saw it on my shelf.

 

So why nine years later is it the only trophy I kept?

 

Because winning life is all about

showing up.

 

Now, I keep this trophy above my fridge to remind myself constantly that life is all about showing up. Participating. Taking that first step.

I won that competition by putting on my cleats and heading to the field.

This is exactly what we need to do everyday.

We need to step out into the world and kick that soccer ball.

I can assure you.

One day someone will hand you a big trophy out of nowhere.

And all it took was showing up.

Literally. Just smile. 

At Church the other day a priest said something I thought was awesome. He was describing how everyone acts so bitter and down trotten all the time. There is such a lack of joy in the world. 

He said, “people walk around like they were baptized in vinegar.”

I laughed. Why? 

Because it is so true. 

And I know I am one of those people. 

We need to remind ourselves that we are baptized in living water. This is water that refreshes us. Wipes us clean. Gives us new strength every. Single. Day. 

So stop it. 

Yes. Just like that. STOP. 

Pick up your head. 

Put a smile on. 

And start believing in what you believe. 

Start loving others and living in the joy. 

Let go of self. Now. Not later. NOW. 

Have you ever jumped into a freezing pool of water? It is scary at first but after you feel so alive? Yeah? You need to jump in everyday. That jump is the courage to have joy in all things. 

I read an article today that said 20 minutes of positive thinking in a short amount of time can drastically change your brain chemistry. Guess what I am doing in my long shower tomorrow? 

Living water people. 

Not vinegar.

It begins this second. 

I’ve probably read every self-help book out there. I can spare you some time and let you know a little secret about all of them. They can give you tips but can’t do anything for you. If you want joy you must start living it. Being it. Remembering He is it. 

This world needs more joy. No excuses. It’s up to you now. Spread it all over the beautiful earth we are so lucky to be a part of. 

Joy is not feeling happy 24/7. 

 Joy is allowing yourself to be a window of Christ’s love and seeing that light transform the world. 

I Dare You to Sprint

On Good Friday of this year I saw something magnificent. 

During the Catholic Good Friday ceremony there is something done called the veneration of the cross. Basically, everyone in the pews goes up and kisses the feet of Christ on the cross. It represents our thankfulness to the Savior of the world. Through this act of kissing Christ feet we remind ourselves that  He is our King. A King of love and mercy. 

I remember sitting in the pew and watching a little boy run past the line of people. He was about 4. He was smiling from ear to ear. He cut off the few people that were to go next and kissed Christ’s feet. He ran back to his parents. A few minutes later he was back up to near the altar. This time he was with his parents. Again, he was filled with joy and kissed the feet of Christ on the wooden crucifix.  

I think about this story often. Hence why I am writing about it even though Good Friday was months ago. 

Christ tells us in the Bible we need to be like children in order to enter the Kingdom. Yet I didn’t know what this looked like. 

A few things about this situation puzzled me in the moment. But now that I look back they hold awesome truths. 

His parents never seemed to stop him
Those who truly love us will not hold us back when we do anything to get closer to Christ. Even if it seems crazy. If our parents, friends, or mentors hold us back do they really want our best interest at heart? Find the people that let you run towards Christ. Find the people that run with you. Even if you seem crazy. 

He did not care that he cut the line

This little boy had no cares at all. His eyes were focused on Christ. Anyone in his way he dodged. He didn’t care about the stares. He didn’t care about the talking behind his back. It was just him and God. The joy he had was his fuel. Let the joy of Christ fill you and help you to not be afraid. Let it remind you not to take care about what others think. All that matters is what Christ thinks of you. 

He did not walk but ran to the cross.

When I tell you this kid ran, I mean this kid RAN. He was not strolling. He pursued God with all his might. Run to Christ and never look back. Never waste a minute. 

He came back a second time. 

The first time was not good enough for this kid. He wanted more. He needed more of Christ. Remember that Christ is not a one time deal. The journey of life requires that we continuously go back to Him. Though life has its ups and downs Christ will always be there. Go back to Christ every day. 

Take a deep breath. 

Tie your sneakers. 

Forget about the people in the crowd. 

And sprint. 

Towards Christ.

As fast as you possibly can. 

Why.I.Keep.Going.

It’s that time of the year again.  What time?  The time of the year when every pre-med out there questions his or her life choices.  Our brains becomes flooded with statements like…

“What are you doing to yourself?” 

“You are tired. Kick your feet up and just take a nice long nap.  Forget about the tests.”

“Are you sure you are cut-out for this pre-med thing?”

“Why do you even want to be a doctor anyway?”

Though these thoughts usually come from the sleep-deprived irrational brain, there is some rational questions that arise…

Why keep going?  Why not stop?  Why not do something else with your life?

Most of the time we tend to silence these scary thoughts and pretend they never happened.  We are pre-med.  We cannot show weakness.

So what do we do?

  • Drink gallons upon gallons of coffee.
  • Study for 1,000,000 hours
  • More Coffee
  • Maybe sleep?  Nope.
  • Study another 1,000,000,000 hours…
  • And eventually
  • Make it into medical school!
  • And then…
  •  DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN

Something else besides the prestige and the financial stability must be motivating us to keep going?

What is it?  

Here are a few reasons why I keep going.  I hope it resonates with all the pre-meds out there.

I keep going for…

That older woman in the free clinic.  She tells me she doesn’t sleep more than 4 hours a night.  I ask why.  She tells me that she can’t sleep because her husband had lung cancer .  At night, when he coughed, she feared he would die.  He passed away years ago she tells me…but she still wakes up.

I keep going for…

That ten year old girl who wears a surgical mask anytime she goes out in public.  She can go into anaphylactic shock for air-borne milk allergen exposure.

I keep going for…

The woman with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her husband, sitting beside her, just had a stroke.  His whole left side is paralyzed.  She jokes about her upcoming death.  He tries to forget by watching TV nonstop.  He clicks the remote with his right hand.

I keep going for…

 

That little kid with Crohn’s Disease who takes more pills than I can count.

I keep going for…

My Grandpa, an engineer and man who loved working with his hands, who is now unable to move or speak because of Parkinson’s disease.

I keep going for…

The man in the nursing home who does not remember me after a few minutes.

I hope…

That through my studies, I will gain the critical thinking skills necessary to make the correct diagnoses.

I hope…

That through my studies, I will gain the patience to listen to each and every symptom.

I pray…

That through my studies, I will gain the strength to carry on even when I feel like I can go on no further.

Why do we keep going?

For the privilege to make a difference in the lives of our future patients and their families.