Saturday, October 22, 2011


"Surely, I wait for the Lord;
who bends down to me and hears my cry."
(Psalm 40:1)

I recently read a Twitter update that I found rather striking: "Sometimes it feels like I'll never be holy... but what other option do I have then to keep trying?"  Recently I've found myself at a crossroads of sorts with my faith.  I have no doubt that I'm in the right church or that my faith is something worth pursuing, rather I feel as if I'm immobile.  I know that I've been given all of the tools to glorify God and to seek holiness but I don't know what to do with those gifts or even where to start.  At the heart of things, that is what is most frustrating: Knowing you are equipped with everything you need to live a holy life pleasing to God yet ignorant about how to start building that life.

In most Christian faiths, it seems as if there is some sort of taboo against speaking about doubt or confusion.  We do not want that uncertainty to be misconstrued as an absence or depletion of faith so often we keep it to ourselves, neglecting the resources of our fellow Christians and religious authorities as a possible means of surmounting these doubts.  It is often much easier to find a comforting verse and use it as a "teaching moment," that is, a way to educate others in how we as Christians should behave.  This projection outward has the potential, in my view, to prevent us from that inward reflection that is necessary for spiritual growth.  I have to admit that often I am one of those Christians.  When I have struggles, often my first inclination is to grab my Bible or to Google Bible passages relevant to my situation at the time, i.e. "Bible passages for patience," "Comforting Bible verses."  I forget that I have the Lord in my midst, readily accessible through prayer, always there to not only give me comfort but to illuminate the proper path that I should be continuing toward.  Of course, that is not to say that the Bible is not a valid resource (it is the word of God after all and can provide us with both solace and direction), but I so often forget that prayer precedes all else.  In prayer, we can directly encounter our Lord and invite him into our lives in both our weakest and most joyful moments.

I'm quickly realizing that the lesson I am being called to learn is patience.  To put it simply: I am a control freak.  If I don't know what's going to happen or in what direction my future will go, I suffer major anxiety.  I do not want to wait and see what the Lord has in store for me--I want to know.  (And sooner rather than later.)  I guess that goes to show that I also have issues with trust.  It's extremely ironic that one of my all-time favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, a passage in which the Lord proclaims his plans for my welfare, yet I have difficulty trusting in that promise.  Recognition of this problem is at least a start and I can take steps to build my faith and trust in the strength of the Lord's promise of my well-being.

I spent some time yesterday afternoon in prayer at Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish's chapel.  I cannot even begin to describe the beautiful experience that is kneeling at the Lord's throne, in front of the altar, offering all that I have to Him.  I am not one that is easily moved to tears, however looking up at Jesus on the cross, I started crying.  He has given up and continues to offer so much for me and yet I spend so much time in doubt of my future.  Thinking about things in that light, it seems completely irrational that I would spend so much of my time worrying and struggling with fear.  My God is faithful and has shown himself over the course of my life to be nothing but loving and uplifting, even when I neglected His presence.  My goal this week and through the rest of the semester is to be more aware of this fact.

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