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Jesus, My Everything

During prayer one time, yesterday if I am not mistaking, the prayer leader picked a song that fit how I was feeling at that moment.  It is called “Jesus, My Everything” by Matt Maher.

With all the struggles that come with being in a place of formation with a group of other women, it is so easy to get distracted form what really brought us here and what really keeps us here in this place.  We all our longing for our purpose and place in being here.  The trouble lies that when we are all looking for the our place, we clash and runinto each other, making our purpose fall away.  We struggle because we don’t know what God could even have planned for us in this world.  In that sturggle then with the losing track of where we are, we fall hard and sometimes end up in temptation of sin, big or small.  The prayer is to let this all pass so that we can be truly a disciple with nothing standing in the way.

For me it is a constant battle, as it always has been.  The type of fighting has just varied as time has gone on.  There has not been one day that I have not found myself frustrated with something.  With that it is hard to remember why I am here.  It is in prayer that I try to bring my self back by laying it all down at Jesus’ feet and praying that I may follow Him more closely each day.  That being said, I now what to share a quote I found on another person’s blog.

“Vocation does not come from wilfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions…. Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear”.

Herbert Alphonso, SJ

Listening, something that I have talked about before.  We need to listen to each other, listen deep within our hearts, listen to what God in the Trinity is saying, and just plain old listen to whatever there is to hear that could help up in our journeys and to lessen conflict.  It is amazing what we realize when we listen.  Things talked about in the song could be non-existent with the help of listening. 

In the end, don’t forget to pray.  Let Jesus be your everything and listen with your whole heart and mind to Him.  That is the reason I am where I am today.  Peace.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Inner Reflection, Inspirational Music

 

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Who Are You Not To Be?

I took this picture July 2009 of Denali Mountain (to those outside Alaska, it is casually known as Mount McKinley).  It was one of the most breathtaking moments of my life!  There was but one cloudy and rainy day and we were able to see the mountain every day except the last day as we were leaving.  It was a blessing that this was the case when we were there and the people said living there, it is a rare occasion to see the mountain.  I spent a good amount of time staring at it, contemplating.  Like I said previously, it was a blessing indeed and if I could have stayed and watch it forever, I would have.  To be in God’s wonder and awe was absolutely beautiful.  I was led into this prayer I was not even fully aware of existing in me!  This is what I want with my life, to live life in such grander and have such amazement filling me.  As well, to know that God sees that same beauty in me that I see in that mountain.  I see the following quote to relate to this experience.

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  –  Marianne Williamson

Who are we not to be great?  No, not in the egotistical way that many people may be drawn to see this as.  We are children of God born so that we may show God’s glory to everyone.  This is not just in some of us, but in all of us.  God believes in us otherwise He would have not put us in the world with such responsibility.  I found this quote, author unknown: “Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that God doesn’t believe in you!” This is something that we can really think about with our lives.  By taking the strength found in God, in Christ, we can let our light shine out for others to see.  When we let our light shine, we allow others to do the same thing.  It is truly amazing how this is, when one person’s happiness can feed another person’s happiness.

When I talk to people about wanting to enter religious life with the Salesians, to God-willing become a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, FMA; there is something special that happens.  My excitement and smiles shine from me like more than ever, and it bounces off those I talk to and back to me, re-energizing me and reminding me of what makes me happy.  While, as I have mentioned before, I have yet to finish and turn it the application, knowing that there is hardly a thing standing in my way at this point makes things so much better.  When I finally get all the paperwork in and hear back, I can only imagine the feeling that will fill me.  It is like that of staring into the wilderness at Denali.  The awe-struck wonder that almost took my breath away in such beauty that I wish I could live with always may be found in this place, this life, that I am pursuing.

Isn’t it glorious?  Who am I not to take this step forward and follow the path it seems God has given me?  Who am I not to try and find where God’s light will shine the best in me?  Who am I not to follow Christ and be His disciple?  I am a child of God and I am going to live as so!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 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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