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Do You Know the Answer?

The other day I was posed with a question.  It was as such, “who are you?”  Much to my surprise, I was unable to come up with an answer, or even a partial one.  While most people responded with “a child of God,” or some related answer, I drew a blank.  Yes I am a child of God, but that answer was not one that snuck up in my mind at first thought.  This leads me to wonder.  Do I really know and feel truly who I am?

Our lives are filled with many things, but lets begin here.  There are lots of people in the world who define themselves by what they do, how they dress, and such related things.  Those things may express who we are but are not the definition of who we are.  We can get so wrapped up in worrying about those material things, or making sure we are “the best” at everything.  Of course it is good to do our best, but we do not have to be the best.  Either way, it should not define who we are.  I would not say I am a poet, I am dancer, I am such and such…those are outlets for me.

While others may know who we are, we are not defined by others.  I feel that this one is esspecially important to remember here in my days of formation.  A lot of who I am, whoever that may be, is being challenged.  There are always opinions around about you and always someone who will not like what you are doing, how you are doing things, where you are doing things, and you see my point.  I am seeing that we tend to let that overtake us.  While it is important to listen to the thoughts of others because there may be something of value there, we must also be aware that we still need to hold our own to some degree and not become what someone else thinks we should be.  There is a fine line in all of this, one I feel is tred upon quite often here.  There is still that search for balance. 

Ever feel like you live multiple lives with a couple different sets of personalities.  It is quite interesting.  While I may not be “crazy” in the way one would define someone of this nature, I do have the sense of this at times in my life.  This is where a big portion of teh struggle of “who am I” comes into play.  Surely a child of God is in the definition, but beyond that.  How do we really balance ourselves?  What do we do with the bad part of ourselves that we all have lurking away somewhere?  We need to focus on what we think God wants us to be.  So then we just circle back around to answering “who are you?”  Thus we end up withthe same answer.  A Child of God.

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Posted by on October 5, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Picture Story

When my family was here at the point to visit me…

…Sister Colleen came to visit my family.  It was quite nerve-wrecking for some odd reason.  I am not exactly why it was this way, but it was.  It made me want to get out my nervous energy…

…of course there is no archery range that I know of around.  I do have to say, seeing Sister Colleen after so long was really good and it made me smile.  She caught me in the act of smiling while talking about religious life before going to meet the family.  I think I really could be a Salesian.  This might be close to the smile…

…but it does not equal it I am sure.  Once we showed up for the meeting of my family and what seems to be the rest of my life, everything seemed to go real well.  There was an odd feeling of wanting to be distracted.  All in all, the meeting went well.  Before this meeting, I forget to say, I turned in most my application.  Let me tell you…

…it makes you want to do crazy things when do turn in most the application for the rest of your life.  I am so excited and there is such an odd peace about doing this.  Of course at the same time, there is some chaos and nervousness with the whole thing.  I have many questions lurking…

…okay, not as slowly lurking as a turtle.  Really, there are fast paced and many the questions in my mind.  I have to learn to breath and reflect upon my life, realizing that questions are okay if they don’t consume me.  It is nice sometimes to curl up in the corner…

…and just smile and pray and be happy with the good things in life.  On the flip side, I have realized that is is good for me to have times of being goofy and full of energy.  If I don’t do that, who knows what will happen…

…and it could be very strange.  Don’t judge!  In the end of it all, balance is key to making sure I don’t drive myself up a wall, or anyone else for that matter.  Things have been rough in parts of my life, and I am ready to move and let it all go.  Of course it is going to me a climb…

…but it is going to be worth it in the end.  I can not wait until all my application gets in and I get the letter in return for acceptance (God-willing)!  Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco, here I come!  Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, you better watch out!  The FMA has never seen one like me! 🙂 Right…now I should go be weird somewhere else and clean, my room and my soul (constant cleaning I tell ya)!  Here goes the beginning of the rest of my life…

…and I am going to conquer it!  Just, you know, pray for me in that process!  I will be praying for all you too.  Peace!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Photos

 

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Sharing Your Treasure

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of treasure.

The topic no one wants to ever talk about, sharing treasure.  Some of us have too much of it, some of us comfortable, some of us just getting by, and some of us not even close.  When we have just as much treasure as we need to get by and a little extra to do a few things we want, we are always reluctant to give of the treasure.  There are many different impressions people have of others when it comes to giving money.  These can include as such: someone is giving money because it is easy, that person gave more so they are better, and the list could go on forever I am sure.  In the end it is the reason behind why a person may give money, or treasure as I am referring to here most times.  That is what matters in sharing your treasure;  you need to be giving it with the right heart of mind.

For me, I have been fortunate my entire life to be supported monetarily by my parents for my whole life.  Dad paid for college for me, of course there are the loans I am supposed to be helping on.  When I needed something, I was able to get it.  When I wanted something, if it was in reason I would get some help on it.  I did have a summer job for some summers that helped in paying for things I wanted in the years of college, as I had no time to spend it in the summer while I was working.  One could say I am a bit spoiled that way, I think it to be blessed since I do have three younger siblings.  Even so, what little I did get from work, I had to use for things I thought were important and save for this future of mine.  I already gave to time and talent, why do I have to give my treasure too if I do enough otherwise?  Well, we are called to multiple ways of giving sometimes.  In giving treasure, we do give to ourselves a little, we give to others, and we give to God.

Giving to ourselves seems selfish and way easy, but it is how we give to ourselves that matters.  This is part of making sure we are taken car of so that we can better serve others.  This is not going to the extreme and buying things for ourselves that are not needed what-so-ever.  I found this is going to get a little snack for myself, go out to a movie or dinner with my friends.

Giving to others is something we all want to do, and by default we give money.  That is great for those receiving the money, but why are we doing it?  Is it from guilt?  Is it from passion?  Is it out of force?  It is from your heart?  While no matter the reason on the receiving end, from the giving end we should not be just giving to get a gold star on our resume for heaven.  This is my story of how it is possible for one with not much money to just dwindle away has given to another.  April my junior year of college, I went to a Casting Crowns Concert.  The main singer, Mark Hall, supports World Vision, a program for sponsoring children around the world.  The last concert I had when too, I had thought of doing it, but as a freshman at the time, it seemed not feasible.  Talking with a friend of mine, we decided to share sponsorship, sharing the treasure we would have to share with this little girl.  Along with that, came some level of awareness of what I was spending my money on.  I had to cut down on the extra snacks and things I would get here and there, but it was worth it.  This can only prove that it does not matter who you are, you can give.  Now, with religious life as the surrent goal of my future, I am out to make sure people know they can give and how important it is.  Not sure I am able to keep up with my half of the sponsorship, convincing my family to help carry that load is an important thing to me.

Giving to God, now really, how do we give our money to God?  Doing all that I have described in sharing treasure thus far, and other ways unique to you, with a sincere good spirit and heart is giving to God.  Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him.  When giving in church, give what you can and do not be scared of what others think of you if you put in but a small amount in the offering, you are giving from what you can.  Do not only give from surplus you do not need, but from what you have and be in solidarity.

Sharing your treasure is complicated yet very simple.  Take a look at wha you have gained by treasure and assess what you really need and what you can let go of so that you may provide money for those in need.  Trust it goes to the right place.  Do it with a pure good heart, and it will truly make a difference.  As I am thinking about a future with the Salesians, I can see how giving treasure is something I am still doing, but in a different aspect.  I will not receive money as one woul din regular life, it goes back to the community and to those we serve.  Not being sure if I can continue sponsorship is the big question in my mind.  Is it feasible if I become a Salesian?

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Sharing Your Talent

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of talent.

Talent is something that people tend to think they have none of or they do not see what others see in them as a talent they have.  Talent is also something that can be quite the opposite and be something that people thing they have the best of, that no one can be better.  Neither of these are good for us.  Everyone has a talent of something they can contribute to the world, but we need to make sure that even when we know it we are not gloating of the things we are really good at.  Then there is a balance between people knowing your talents and sharing them with the point it becomes too much.  So what are your talents, how can you use them, and what roles do they play in various parts of life?  Well, here is my story on these thought-provoking questions.

I used to think that there was not much talent to me, but the first thing that opened myself up was the fact I went to Girl Scout camp.  When I became a staff at the camp, I discovered that I was able to support the other staff, do real well at taking care of my cabin of girls, and just being a good presence at the camp.  The ability to become an emergent leader was appearing in me, as well as doing very well at the games.  I love games, no questions, hands down.  The thing, though, that came with these “talents” of mine was the needing to start looking at time I spend focusing each of my talents for who they are for.

This carried into my college life.  As I posted in my last post, managing time and where I put my time is vital to my relationship with the God three in one, my vocation, and my ministry.  Recognizing and developing the talents I have is important as well.  This is connection I started to really notice and came to work on more during my senior year of college.  Sure, I was doing that throughout all of my college career, but junior year leading into senior year it was more predominant.  By time senior year came and was going, I was always looking to help in campus ministry and did almost everything at campus masses.  By everything I mean I was a liturgical coordinator, lector, Eucharistic Minister, altar server, greeter, and I sang in the choir.  There was rarely a mass that went by that I was at that I did not do something unless I asked someone to take my place.  The thing it, I wanted to make sure everything was taken care of, so I did what I was assigned and even subbed in when others would not when people were gone.  I loved it and I was good at it.  Our campus minister came to rely on me to make sure things were happening at mass and problems were solved so that she could better focus on the music aspect of weekend masses.  It was great experience and she really pushed me out of my box to do what she knew I could do.  There was a real talent there and I was using it for God and the community I was living and praying in.  What I had to become aware of was that even though I was good at it all, helping at mass and other campus ministry things, I needed to not engulf my time in just my ministry.  I was bogged down more than ever and realized that with the deep struggles I was having, I needed to take time for myself and allow myself to be at mass as well as participate in things with out helping.

Now being out east, I have noticed that some of the things that I loved to do for others and the things I loved to do being on Saint Mary’s campus, I am unable to do.  There has come the realization that talent is not just what I share with others, but again, something I share with myself and with God.  Not all talent is visible to the world.  Something I was being taught to develop in college has more fully come to my awareness.  I have a certain talent of being able to be in the moment, be a silent presence to others and for myself.  To be able to take the time to focus in on my relationship with God, with Jesus, and with the Spirit is not an easy thing that came to me.  Knowing when I need those moments of peace and quiet or my christian music blaring so I can jam is in some aspect, a talent.  This may all be strange to you, but I believe it is good to look at these aspects as well.

There are of course many talents that I wish I could have.  I am a very behind the scenes person, or being strange in a skit person.  I love being the person who is present to those who are needing someone to pray for them or to lend a ear or even some kind true words.  There is the desire to be able to share my story with people in giving talks/presentations in front of people, being more comfortable with standing in front of others as well as being able to express myself in words more clearly.  I do have a lot to share, but I wish I was a bit more brave.  Now, if you look at what is said in the commandments, we are not to covet our neighbors goods.  Does this include talents we wish we had?  I think if we wish for them in a healthy way, which includes developing them, then it is okay.  We must not just wish we had some trait or talent, but rather if we want it, we must work towards it.  It is also important to know that we are all given different talents to use at different times.

Looking now to my preparation for formation to hopefully become a sister, I ponder where talent fits in with it all.  Going back to how I worked at a camp, I loved being there and the girls seemed to really love me (I am not saying this with an ego, it has been said to me as well).  Parents would tell me that there girl was wondering the whole drive to camp if Speedy (my camp name) was going to be there.  Through that, I knew I had a talent of being a camp counselor despite how other staff and higher ups would treat me and others.  With the Salesians, they work primarily for the youth in camps, retreats, youth centers, school, ministry, and wherever else the youth are.  It suits me…minus the teaching this which terrifies me.  Being able to develop my talents and use them within the religious community is important to me, but I need to be mindful of what is expected in the community, not overstepping anything or anyone and adjusting.  Being aware of and not letting go of what I am good at and cherish is something I will need to be sure of.  This too, of course, comes with stipulations.  God calls us continually to different things in different ways, while maintaining the strand that hold us together as a person.  In feeling a pull for religious life, things will change, and being open is so important, as it is in everything in life.  I pray that I may realize my talents as they are in my life and know when the appropriate time for expressing them is.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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Sharing Your Time

In our discipleship we give of our time, talent, and treasure in various forms and ways.  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of time.

Time is one of those things that many people seem to think they have none of.  The thing is, we have so much of it and we just may not be using it in the way which proves best.  Time can be thought of in terms of time management, giving time to proper things, and so many other things.  Sharing your time is sharing it with God, yourself, and others.

In college, I was never very good at managing my time and putting into a day what should be.  Unlike others though, I gave a lot of time to being in campus ministry and sitting around my room when I got really frustrated with my inability to understand and finish homework.  I gave my time to prayer and to doing ministry in the community, but forgot the part that was one of most important, being a student in a classroom.  I realized in my junior and senior year that balancing all the things that were important to me and to my future was something that was much needed to live a less stressful life.  The other thing that came across my mind was that I was spending a lot of time in ministry.  It seemed that I was using that to get to my relationship with Jesus.

One always seems to think that when talking about sharing time, it means with others.  I find that it means sharing your time with God and with yourself as well.  You need to make sure that you are healthy and well, otherwise anything that you will do will not hold the same capacity for your best.  I learned that real fast that taking care of myself was my top priority over the one called being a student.  It was important to take care of me.  How I did that was important.  Obviously, there are the typical things like sleep and eating right and exercising.  The other thing involves taking the time to be with God in whatever way possible.

There is this diagram a friend gave me.  Imagine three circles, a small one in the middle with another around it and yet another around them.  In the middle circle is your relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  In the next circle is your vocation.  In the outer circle is your ministry.  Most people feed their life from the outside going in.  This is what is not good.  We need to take the time making the inner circle, that relationship with God, the most important thing of all.  If we do that, He will guide us in our vocation and our ministry, giving us what our time in life is to be spent doing.  For me, I have been trying to add that personal prayer time into my life more and more.  This comes in the form of liturgy of the hours, rosary, divine mercy, spiritual reading, or just plain being with Christ.  That time is most valuable because it prepares you to do what else your time calls you to do; it gives you the best good spirited way to do them.

In that I have tried to keep myself very open to God’s call through time in prayer and doing work for Him, I have been led to be told what my time in my life must be like.  Everything for God takes on a whole new meaning for one who is told to give religious life a try.  One of the hardest parts is giving time to live in the moment of the possibilities this gives to my life.  I need to take more time to be with Christ and ask what I am to do to make this transition to formation good.  I feel like I am called to spend the time to serve God as His Son’s bride.  Beautiful it is, hard though, to think of my life given to this lifestyle.  It is one that takes all the time of my life to do all for Him.  Wow.

In the end, sharing your time is something that we must all do.  Being sure that you are sharing it in all aspects that are important in life is something that really should be worked on.  We do not need to go far and wide to reach people, though some are called to take that time to do so.  Take time in prayer to know how and where to spend our time, it is so important.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2010 in Inner Reflection

 

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