Becoming Holy

Humility

“Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do you will. Amen.”

~St.Ignatius

These words were much needed for my heart today. This morning, I was called to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone~making an announcement/promo before morning Mass~and I seriously did NOT want to do it. The thoughts that go through my mind ahead of time and during are something like this?  Is this too long?  Is it too short? Is the information there? ? Am I speaking too fast?  Too slow?  Does it speak to the parish? Will they hear me? Is the mic echoing? Are they frustrated with yet another announcement? Etc. Etc. I made it through…just over two minutes..with no way of knowing the answers to any of my questions. I came home to this beautiful quote by St. Ignatius and I realized my gift was simply giving the announcement. There is no need to count the cost. I have only to be generous with my time and seek to do His will.  

This is true of everything in life. How often do I count the cost before committing to something?  How often do I worry about my own woundedness before taking up the cross of Christ?  I am often more concerned with my own comforts, with my need to have a break, with my desire for an earthly reward than I am with investing 100% in following Jesus. St. Ignatius’ prayer is a gentle reminder that doing the will of God is all that matters. 

There is one full week of Lent left. Let this prayer be my focus as I seek to follow each day, each moment, how Jesus wants me to live. This prayer calls for both detachment and humility~two virtues I struggle to achieve. In big things, in small things, I want to do your will, Lord. 

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Busy! Busy! Busy!

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I saw a challenge a while back that has stayed with me as I go about life.  The goal of the challenge was to eliminate the response, “Busy” when someone asks the question, “How are you?” The reason for the challenge was to help people engage with others at a more authentic level. At the time, I remember thinking that was nice but probably didn’t apply to me.Then I started paying attention.  

To myself.

In the beginning, before I could even catch myself, I heard myself responding, “Busy” over and over again. I heard those I speak with responding “Busy” over and over again. It made me question why this response is so quick to roll of our tongues. Is it because it is a simple, catch-all response?  After all, responding we are busy serves as an explanation of why we may look frazzled, why we are hurrying off without continuing the conversation, and perhaps why we haven’t been present to this person. Responding that we are busy is a seamless reply.  No one else can argue with us whether we are busy or not (though some may grasp this opportunity to “out-busy” us). Responding with “busy” gives one freedom to either drop the conversation or share details of our busy-ness.  This type of exchange doesn’t require a lot of authenticity.

I still catch myself responding this way. However, I am taking steps to change both my response and the reality. This Lent has been a good time to reflect on “Busy-ness” and all it entails. Why are we so busy? Is it because we have filled our homes and our lives with useless things and too many activities? Are we afraid to slow down and have time together? Do we feel unaccomplished if we are not running around at full speed? Do we think the only way to be a true Christian is to join everything, do everything, help everywhere?

FoMo is a relatively new acronym in our culture. It stands for Fear of Missing Out~a fear that seems to have taken over society. It reminds me of something one of my dear friends shared in our book club years ago. There were just five of us in the group and this particular friend casually asked the rest of us what we had been doing at the parish hall the night before. Each of us had our own reason for being there, though none of us were together. As we shared our purpose in being there, she was visibly relieved and said, “I saw all your cars and felt like I was missing out on something.” 

Fear of missing out has the potential to drive us to busy-ness. Trying to be all, do all and attend all. This is not what God desires for us or for our families. We must remember that fear is not of God and neither is fear of missing out.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus at work. He is confident and consistent. He lives His Mission. The word, “busy” is not used. He is steady, not frantic. Jesus knows both Who He Is and what He is about. That is my goal for myself~knowing who I am and what I am about. These two things give confidence and consistency to life. They are a great “go-to” phrase in discernment.  My hope is to eliminate my own FoMo, my own busyness, and to live the life I am called to live.

“Be Still and Know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

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The One My Heart Loves

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I recently purchased a set of mugs from Day Spring.  I have wanted them for over a year and decided that our 25th Anniversary was a good cause for purchasing them.  Inside, printed under the rim of the cup, is the verse, “I found the one my heart loves.” ~Song of Solomon 3:4

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There is something powerful about drinking coffee out of my “Mrs. Mug” and reading those words each morning. The words are both an affirmation and a reminder. I have found the one my heart loves. How am I showing that to him? Does he know by my words and actions the special place he holds in my heart? Do my actions sometimes convey, “I found the one I pay bills with and live in chaos with” ? I think each of us could insert our own sentence of what daily life looks like when we forget the gift of one another. 

For the record, the “Mr. Mug” has the exact verse inscribed inside. I couldn’t help but notice, while taking the “mug shot” for this blog, that the two mugs have sweet messages in how they are made.  The “Mr. Mug” is a stronger color and the band of white is located higher on the mug.  The “Mrs. Mug” is softer in color and has its word band just below that of the “Mr.”. This spoke to me of our roles as Mr. and Mrs.~with the husband as “Protector/Provider” and the wife as “Nurturer/Caregiver”. The woman carefully crafted by God from the rib of Adam~just below his heart~is visually made present in the “drop-down” effect of her title on the mug. 

Perhaps one of the most precious things I am noticing is that “Mr.” and “Mrs.” are actually “mr.” and “mrs.”.  Lower case letters. My heart tells me that the capital letters belong to Him. To God. To the One Who “mr.” and “mrs.” are called to rejoice in. Together. 

Perhaps we aren’t even the ones speaking. Maybe~just maybe~the words belong to the Father who loves us so much He sent His only Son to save us. I feel His presence here this morning.We are having coffee together and He speaks to my heart, “I have found the one my heart loves.” 

Me, too.

Sincerely,

GetAttachment

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No Retreat, (No) Surrender!

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Have you ever really wanted to do something and realized you were not going to get to be a part of it? Do you react like a spoiled child, stomping your feet and pouting?  Or do you react with grace and the realization that God has exactly where you need to be? This morning I am making a conscious decision to choose the second response, though everything in me wants to throw a tantrum.  Things are just not rolling out to get to a retreat I was hoping to go to today. 

God is calling me to “retreat” anyhow. To surrender. To raise the white flag. Lay my weapons down. Pick up the cleaning supplies instead. Yep. I like to clean the floor on my hands and knees and I am picturing God chuckling at this “new retreat” he had in store for me.  So…the Christian music is playing.  Even the songs are jabbing me.  “Build your Kingdom here. Change the atmosphere”, “Let my life be the proof of your Love”, and other treasures to remind me that today is NOT ABOUT ME.  

Or maybe it is. Maybe it is all about me. About my heart and the changes needed here. Maybe today is ALL about me. One definition of a retreat by good old Merriam Webster is  “a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director.”  I think today is a retreat of ONE (that being me) and the director being God’s voice in my heart. 

Here’s to a “do-it-yourself” retreat. To a surrendered heart. To truly living what God wants me to live. To a day of grace. To clean floors and a clean heart. Keeping you all in prayer.  

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