Let the waves carry you

Today, I was at the beach reading.

The theme “Following God’s will” has been on my mind a lot lately.

After quite some time the heat of the day came.

I usually enjoy going in the waves, but today I was not really feeling it.

However, when at the beach, you got to do what you got to do.

So I decided to dive into a wave. Then another one. And then another one.

As usual, it was awesome

When I was in the wave, I could feel its power.

I decided to let it carry me and send me wherever it decided.

 

This is how we must follow God’s will. 

 

We must let God be God and go with the flow of the waves He sends us.

We must use the wave to drive us forward.

The waves of life come and go and pull us in a million directions.

This tossing about may make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

Feeling powerless is the fear many of us harbor deep in our hearts.

Today, I encourage you to let the waves of life come.

Do not fear the awesome power of God.

Dive in and let the waves carry you.

Carry you home. 

 

 

 

Calm in the Chaos

The theme of my life right now is calm in the chaos. 

We live in a world that constantly puts us on edge.

Text messages, homework, tests, emails, to-do-lists, etc.

It is difficult to stay calm when pulled in a million different directions.

Yet, we are called to calmness.

One of my favorite quotes by St. Padre Pio is

“I recommended calm and calm all the time.”

In order to hear the voice of God and do His will, we must be calm.

Trying to live a life on the narrow path while being pulled in a million directions is about as easy as doing math homework in a crowded subway. Sure, it can be done, but eventually, you are going to miss a calculation and end up with a very wrong answer.

Christ leads us to calmness through His words.

He reminds us that in Him we have the rest we need.

I encourage you all today to continue seeking a calm attitude.

You are called to remain calm in the chaos like Peter walking to Christ on the water.

All you must do is have faith.

 

God Gave Me a Shot

I walked into the patient room, he looked at me, and immediately screamed with all his might.

This was horror film type of shriek.

It may have been that I look like a monster being sleep deprived and without any coffee, or the fact that I was wearing a white coat.

This patient was a child and he associated the white coat with needles.

This pediatric patient and us have a lot in common.

We are faced with a lot of pain in this life. Pain that does not make any sense with our childish view of how things should be. We question God’s motives and at times question His goodness.

We are the child in the doctor’s office petrified of what is to come.

God tries to remind us with a poster on the office wall, with words such as:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him….”Romans  8:28

Yet, we don’t focus on the truths, we tend to focus on the reality: we might be getting a shot today.

Vaccines are scary for not just kids, even adults. If the shot does not hurt when it is given, it can hurt for days afterwards.

Though the pain may be there for a few days, we are now protected from a deadly illness for life.

But little kids do not understand this truth. They do not understand that now Polio is no match for them. They have eternal armor on against measles. Hepatitis can scram.

All the children dwell on is the pain.

We are very similar in our understanding of the pains we go through in life.

We must continue in our efforts to trust the Divine Physician and remember just how small our minds are compared to the love of God.

In this life we are going to be receiving a lot of vaccines.

What matters is how much we trust when we know the shot is coming.

Now is your shot.

 

 

 

 

Tagging Out of the Fight

The sweat is pouring down your back. You feel like the fight is never going to end. One minute you think you have it pinned but a second later you are trying to break free. You break out of the choke hold but a minute later you are caught in it again. You fling it off of you and run as fast as you can to the edge of the ring. You tag out by tapping His hand. You slide under the ropes. You walk passed the stands. You leave the arena.

And never look back.

Why?

Because He will handle it.

 

In life we are all fighting something. This is your “it.” I don’t know what it is but I know you have an “it.” It may be a bad habit. It may be a sinful desire. It may be struggles with anxiety and depression. It may be a painful past. It may be a fearful future.

The reality of this fight is you cannot win by fighting. Weird right. But, isn’t that how victories happen? When the going gets tough keep fighting?

The fact of the matter is you are too weak to fight. You need to tag out. In “tag team” wrestling there is another fighter on your team. You have given it your all but unfortunately its just not going to work. The opponent is just too much for you. But you have your Teammate waiting. You have Christ’s outstretched hand. The same hand that picked Peter up as he sunk into the stormy sea. The same hand that lifted up bread and wine and gave you His body and blood. The same hand that was pierced for your sins out of love for you. The same hand that cured the blind and raised the dead.

What are you waiting for. Tag out of the fight. Look to your Teammate.

Tell Him, “Jesus You will Handle this.”

And leave the arena. You don’t need to watch. Leave the arena.

And you may need to do this everyday. You may need to do this every five minutes.

But eventually you won’t go back into the ring.

You will find someone in the parking lot, and tell them all about the fight your Teammate is winning inside.

trust creates saints

Trust in the midst of adversity is what creates a saint. 

Trust is a gift and a choice.

It cannot be formed without a constant breaking of oneself.

I find trust to be one of the most fascinating/difficult ideals. 

Alongside with its brother humility, it is fundamental to the life of the Christian.

The deepest trust is the gateway for the grace of faith.

Trusting though magnificent, is extremely difficult.

In the past it felt easy. I proclaimed to God how much I trust in Him. Yet, when adversity came I watched my knees shake and allowed myself to become paralyzed. This was not trust at all.

I think we all have fallen victim to this at times.

We proclaim our trust in God, yet our actions speak otherwise.

We are like Peter before he walked out to Christ on the water. As the trials come we shout to God how much we trust Him, yet we never step out of the boat.

Why is trust so difficult?

We live in a world where we always feel like someone is out to get us. In our social media/email generation we can never turn parts of our life off. I know for me, I always feel like I am forgetting something. As students too, we are primed from a young age to be sure we never forget any assignment or else we will get in trouble. This has instilled in us the habit of wanting to control ever single aspect of life.

We have become a generation of trusting by looking in not by looking outside ourselves. 

Recently I took some board exams for medical school. In the middle of the studying, I could feel another test occurring in my soul.

A test of trust. 

These exams determine a lot. They can really help or hurt me in my process to residency programs (what type of doctor I can be.)

Throughout the process of intense studying, I didn’t really have anyone to rely on. Sure, I had my family and my fiancee. But come test day, it was God, me, and the computer screen. And deep down I knew that truth.

Have you ever had a moment in your life where you felt fully alone?

These moments, where control is impossible, is the moment for trust.

Trust is unique because it is only built in our souls when times of struggle come.

Struggle and suffering is the concrete that builds the brick wall of trust.

Trust is built in trial; therefore, we must not waste our trials with anxiety and distress.

This does not mean you must not feel anxious, scared, upset, sad etc. You will of course feel these emotions. You are in fact human. To be immune to feeling these emotions you would cease to be human. However, the choice to remain paralyzed is ours. The choice to choose trust is written on our souls.

How can we show Christ how much we trust in Him?

When the storms are rough, we do not run away, rather we run into the rain. 

When the tears fill our eyes, we carry on and let them water our trust. 

When anxiety consumes us, we move our quivering limbs step by step. 

To trust in Christ is to show our Lord how much we love Him.

To trust is to acknowledge that Christ is the Truth.

It is that simple.

Trust is a prayer which the world can witness daily.

It is cracking the egg from the inside only to witness the beauty of a new life.

It is time we crack the shell of control and become saints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ache

Why do I ache deep
And love weakly?
Why do I carry the rain
Like drooping petals
Where are my hands;
lassoed to my chest.
God is right here.
And there
And here.
Yet, I see only my mind.
a child on the teeter toter of
Guilt and Hope
Trusting in Him, sandpaper,
my soul a rusty maple.

-nJb

 

Check out my book “Pouring Echoes” on Amazon!

 

Don’t Drop the Key

I went on a run today. When I run, I usually have to hold onto my key. My pockets are usually not deep enough, and quite frankly they would definitely fall out.

So I clench my key in my sweaty hand.

We, humans, hold onto a lot of things tightly in our hands.

A lot of things that don’t really matter…

Such as anxiety, fear, mistrust, doubt. We clench onto all this stuff.

We need to let it all go and open our hands.

However, while running and holding my key for dear life, I was reminded of the fact that there is one thing we need to hold onto.

The Key that opens up Home.

When we are born we are all given a key. Through Baptism and our choices we decide if we want to hold onto this gift.

One day we are gonna have to hand over our key to God and He will open the gates and call us Home.

This key is the ability to enter into the Kingdom of God.

We must never forget that when life gets tough and we feel like we cannot go forward anymore.

Our purpose is to make it Home and enter through the gates.

We were given a key in our hearts.

So keep running, and don’t drop the key.

 

 

The Anchor Inside Each of Us

There are situations in life, where fleeing seems ideal.

It may be at the podium, when giving a talk to a giant crowd.

It may be, when flipping over the exam and looking at question 1.

It may be, when sitting in a doctors office waiting for the results.

Everything in our very core shouts at us to flee.

Our earthy vessels demand me pace, internally ruminate, leave the scene, and hide.

However, we are called for something different.

Within each of us their is an Anchor.

This Anchor is Christ Himself.

An anchor holds a ship. Whenever the waves crash and winds do all they can to move the vessel, the anchor holds it into place.

The anchor is the roots that stem from the oak tree.

Without an anchor, the boat is subject to all of the external forces.

The waves carry it where they want. The winds push it where they want.

We are very much like these little boats.

Some days we may feel tossed around. Dunked under. Pushed by the wind.

This is when we must remember the Anchor within ourselves.

We must turn to Christ in our hearts and stand firm. Hold your ground with confidence.

When you step up to the podium, remember Christ has you tied down to the ocean floor.

When you open that exam book, remember Christ is right next to you.

When sitting in the doctors office, remember that Christ is the divine Physician.

Let us all remember the Anchor within our very hearts. Each of us had the ability to look within and shout. I am secure. I am safe. I am confident in God’s mercy and providence.

Life give me a storm. I am not afraid. I am ready.

 

 

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.

 

 

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Jump In

In a few hours I am going to be picking my girlfriend up from the airport. We have a long-distance relationship so these moments are pretty special. You can imagine, after not seeing her for quite some time, I find myself running to her. Everyone in the airport probably thinks I am crazy. But I don’t care. Why? Because when you love someone no one else matters but them.

The last few days, John 21:7 has been on my mind…

So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.

In this verse, Peter was informed of Christ’s presence. Immediately, the love he had for Christ overcame him. He could not wait for the boat to reach land. He jumped right in and swam towards the Lord.

In this moment, his impatience became virtue. He was flooded with a zeal for being with His Lord and Savior.

Today, you may find yourself in a similar boat (hehe).

Maybe not a fishing boat, but maybe the boat of being a teacher, physician, student, brother, sisters, or friend. How often in this boat, do you see the Lord but wait to go to Him? How often are you afraid of the unknown in the water, so you neglect to jump in?

When Peter took the leap he did not care. He was not afraid that he would drown. He did not think about how dirty the water could be. He did not think of how deep it was nor if there were any creatures in there. Peter readied himself and leapt.

Friends, I encourage you today to take a leap for Christ. Allow His love to fill your hearts as to banish all your fears. Keep your eyes focused on Him as you paddle to shore. Strive to live love. Love so ferociously that you become a lighthouse for God.

We must transfer this leaping into our relationships with others. Leap off the boat for the people in your life.

Disregard yourself and put them before you.

Leap off the boat for the poor, the lonely, the sorrowful, the faint of heart, and I know…you will find God.