Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
We fight so hard! We fight for time, resources, attention and the right things. We fight against stupidity, against evil and against anyone who tries to do harm to those we love. It can feel like every time we turn the corner we’re fighting and it’s no wonder we’re exhausted and frustrated because the stuff just keeps comin. Hopefully our biggest fight is the one we wage on worldly attachments as we are trying getting to heaven.
What if I suggested that fighting is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing? My friends, Eternal Life isn’t about fighting at all, actually it’s about quite the opposite. Eternal Life is about surrender! It’s about giving up the fight and letting God do that part. We shouldn’t feel like we’re laying a big job on his shoulders because the fight is already finished…every war that could prevent us from heaven has already been waged and conquered through the Cross. So today is a great day to take a breath and surrender…be still…be quiet…be peaceful knowing God’s done the heavy lifting and we are simply called to make him our everything. The weight of the world was never intended for your shoulders. But how do we begin to give him all? Here are a few things you can do to surrender your life to Christ.
First; Surrender your day, your work, your thoughts, your family and all your worries. Lay them at his feet and say “Lord I give it all to you, now lead me through this day the way you want it to be.” Guess what, you have to do that EVERY single day; sometimes more than once. I heard a priest asked the question, “How long have you been a priest?” He smiled and said, “Since this morning, every day I have to surrender my life to him in prayer so my vocation is new every morning.”
Second; Pray…every morning and throughout the day. Again and again remind yourself that he’s in charge and tell him thank you for his love. Ask often for him to show you clearly how much he loves you. The prayer is the communication between the one in charge (Him) and the one following the plan. (Us) Nothing runs smoothly without that kind of communication; not a company, a school or a family and certainly not a soul seeking God’s presence.
Third; Choose your noise wisely. Pay attention to the sounds that fill your head. It all matters so ask yourself what noise are the people, music and personalities you surround yourself with making. Is it noise that lifts and supports or sound that brings anger, frustration and discontentment. Pick the noise (or even absence of it) carefully. People who doubt, whine, complain and criticize aren’t helping you focus on putting God first.
Fourth; Circle back. Start again with the first thing and go through the list determined to hold on to the world with a lighter grip than before.
Fr. John Riccardo said, “If you really want to measure your surrender you can look two places; your checkbook and your calendar. Those are the indicator of where we’re focusing our two biggest worldly attachments; money and time.” What are yours telling you? Is there enough room for God in your world? I’m working these four steps very intentionally these days and I can promise I’m not there yet but the peace I feel by making even the smallest progress is an amazing grace filled gift! We have NOTHING to loose but my friends we have EVERYTHING to gain. (Cue to the Disney song “Let It Go!”)
A Seed To Plant: Start with the first step every day this week and see how he blesses you.
Blessings on your day!
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
If someone asked you what holiness was could you give a good answer? I thought I could, but then something changed! Before this thing happened I would have told them holiness was going to church, saying prayers, doing good deeds, SEEING and BEING Christ to others…that’s what I thought. But then…I read something that stopped me in my holiness seeking little tracks!
Holiness is dying to self! What? I read those words again and promptly shut the book and put it down because I didn’t like that. I pouted about it for the rest of the day and then came back to those words later that night. I like going to mass, I like praying, I like doing sweet, thoughtful things for others, isn’t that enough? After some feet dragging, silent temper tantrum throwing and finally a very ungraceful surrender, I realized how true those words really were. I can add and do all I want but it’s about the subtracting; the dying.
As eerie as it sounds, each prayer journal entry this week has started with the words, Lord, help me die a little more today. No, I’m not loopy and I haven’t been sniffing the ink in the ditto machine I’m serious and it’s a lesson that’s HARD! Holiness is all about being close to Christ; so close I’m hidden in him and I can’t do that if I have my own stuff in the way. If you’re anything like me it’s a daily objective to make things easier and more comfortable for myself. I call it efficiency sometimes. I say I’ve earned it sometimes. I think its standing up for what I’m entitled to sometimes. The bottom line is this…I want what’s best for me, what’s most convenient for me, what’s easiest for me and I need to die a little because getting my way isn’t making me holy.
So how do I need to die? (That just sounds weird doesn’t it?) I need to die to my desire to be appreciated and recognized for everything. I need to die to my desire to eat anything I want because I like it and think it’s yummy. I need to die to my desire to be right all the time. I need to die to my desire to make comparisons and judgments. I need to die to my desire to tell God what I need and what he needs to take care of. I need to die to complaining because that is the greatest form of selfishness. I need to die to my desire to offer my opinion and perspective all the time. I need to die to impatience. And I really need to die to my desire to organize, plan and evaluate everything. All of these things minimize the amount of room God has to work in my mind and my heart. All of these things separate me from God when what I really want is to grow in holiness. My sacrifices in dying to self in these ways are what God is inviting me to do…wanna join me and do a little dying?
A Seed To Plant: Write down the ways you need to die to self and then get busy growing in holiness.
Blessings on your day!
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Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com