Wednesday, August 6, 2014

God Deserves Better

Okay. So we left off on bad habits and patterns. I am wondering why you deem some of your habits "bad".

Well, God has clearly said, He above all should be the ruler and guide and love of my life. He wants a personal relationship with me, His daughter. In any relationship there is a give and take. If God is All that is Good and All that is Holy, then everything that I receive/take from Him is Good. I am only human and even at my best, I still cannot return to God the beauty that he has given me. God is the Ultimate Love Expert.

If I am to have a healthy relationship with God, then that means that I am called to be the best version of myself. He gives the best of Himself, why would I give him crap in return? Why would I give him only half of myself when He wants to give Himself so fully? Why would I give to my husband and my children and other members of my family and friends, but not to my God who has given me all things and all people in my life? The nature of God is so Perfect, that Him calling us into a relationship with Him means that He expects our best. He hopes for our best.

It's the same with my own children. I as their mother, have given my children everything. Have poured out time, talents, treasures and have used every part of my being to give them life and love. I do not expect them to be perfect. I do not expect them to know how to love and sacrifice themselves so fully for me. I do not expect them to listen and obey to all my guidance. I just want them to try, for me, for our relationship to give their best. To learn how to do better. To learn how to grow and change and fix their mistakes. To align their thinking to truth. To be healthy and prosperous.

My Father is telling me, "You are listening, but you are not doing what I have told you to do."

I feel like I've learned all these patterns of thinking, and ways of acting, that helped me to find success in my American life. Then, I asked for conversion and spiritual adoption into God's family. God keeps gently nudging me to ask and research and find Him and seek His truths. After all, if I want Him to be my daddy then I should live under His rules and expectations right?

Easier said than done. This is where I am struggling, Big Time. It is so hard to let go. It is so hard to not feel "normal". I have spent the last 20 something years of my life aligning my life and my views to a "normal" life that God is now saying is not what He wants for me. Such "normal" "acceptable" everyday habits that nobody would really say are "bad", ARE ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE in God's eyes.

Some of my actions are "bad" because I am learning to listen to God, and He deems them "bad".

You have mentioned already that "It is so hard to let go." Can you elaborate?

I'm grieving the loss of my previous lifestyle. I joke with my husband about needing an easy button in this new life, because it is so difficult to do even every day things. There is so much thinking involved in how I eat, how I spend my time, how I spend my money, how I treat people around me, how I give myself, how I sleep or don't sleep, how I relax and have fun. It all has to be so different now. I keep hearing, "I said it would be Good, I didn't say it would be Easy." Well, I've had Easy for so long, I cringe that Easy is sometimes just plain-ole wrong. I just want Easy! I know that one day these "holy habits" will come more naturally through practice and experience, but I am trying to stop a train that has been moving and gaining speed for almost 30 years. Sometimes I feel like I'll never get it right.

Then again, I know God's love. His kind of love understands that I don't need to get it all right. His kind of love is patient and forgiving. His kind of love just needs to know that I'm giving it my best shot. That His love for me is influencing my life and in return is producing a great love for Him.

It is very difficult to have a foot in both worlds. I'm trying to let go of the American way and live a life that can be worthy of God's family. The world can only offer me half-truths most of the time. I'm finally realizing after all this time, I Can't Have Both.

How do you feel now that you have come to the crossroads?

I am afraid. But I have to say yes anyway. I want to say yes anyway. God is calling me to Better. I want Better. Better for myself, better for my husband, better for my kids. Better because that is what God wants for me. His road is Better. He created us, so He knows us the way we Really work. What is Really Better for us. What we were meant to be. He knows the best version of us and calls us to that. He also knows us at our worst and still accepts and loves us so fully anyway. I want to be Better. God deserves Better.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Just Jump

It's good to see you back again. You have shared so much with me already.

Yes, here I am. I'm feeling a little calmer today. Not so overwhelmed by life.

That is great to hear. I hope that our time will help continue your peace, but I do feel like I need to ask you questions that will help you gain perspective. Are you ready to start?

Of course! Bring on the perspective.

You've said a couple times now that you feel crazy sometimes. In fact, you call yourself That Crazy Catholic. I'm wondering what you think it means to be Crazy.

Ok. Hmmmm.

I think crazy to me means that I feel a lack of control. I want God to be in control, but that means I have to do things that I really don't want to do even if it is right. I understand this lack of control is a Good thing, but doing something without having a clue as how to act, to just jump in before everyone else or not having a model is really hard. My models are so perfect and I'm hearing stories about their lives after the fact. Not in the midst. Plus, a Single God-in-Human-Form doing public Ministry then Surrendering His Life on a Cross is sort of a hard act to follow. My life just doesn't look like that.

I think Crazy is really coming from my lack of confidence in my ideas and choices. I don't always know that what I am doing is going to be pleasing to God at the level that I am operating, and I know it definitely isn't pleasing to my family and some of my friends around me. I'm so hardwired to measure success in terms of an academic setting with grades and praise, or even in the work world with money and promotions. It's very hard to know internally that what I'm doing is Right and Good, when externally I get so many weird looks and negative comments. And by the end of the day, I can't always accomplish what I set out to do. It's so hard to have God saying, "do X, Y, and Z" but not, "do X, Y and Z at this time or only every other day". There are no guidelines and there is so much to do in a day. And frankly sometimes I'm just too tired.

Crazy comes from wanting to get things right, but not really knowing what right is. Not just in theory. Relativism has invaded our society on Every level of thinking. But there is truth out there. Not just truth from her perspective and truth from his perspective and from their perspective. Real truth. I don't have the confidence or practice yet to identify Real truth all the time. Someone I talk to about life will raise all these questions or criticisms and I don't always know how to defend myself. Or I will feel so compelled that something Is truth, and nobody else around me seems to know it. Or even worse, They or I don't really want it to be true. I'll find myself wishing that it was not Real truth so that my course of action would be Easier.

Are there any times that you Don't feel crazy? What do those days look like?

That's funny. The days I feel least crazy are the days I say "F" it. I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I embrace the crazy and do exactly what I think God is asking me to do, and I don't care what anyone is going to say. I push. As hard as I possibly can. It almost never feels good while I'm doing it. Yet after I WORK my BUTT OFF, there is "fruit".

It's those days when I get feedback from older Catholics adults. Even my older daughter will repeat a phrase or prayer or something we've experienced, and I just get overcome with goosebumps. There is a wave of spiritual energy that brings joy. Then I sleep the best because I've literally given everything of myself.

So you mean to tell me that when you jump in, that's when you find joy?

Yeah, I guess so.

Do you think God smiles down on you on those days?

Yes, probably. But those days are so few and far between. I get so wiped out because I have to be So Intentional to counter my bad habits and negative thinking. I have such bad patterns it's hard to act differently.

Maybe we should save bad habits and patterns for the next time. For now, let's end here. Why don't you picture your Heavenly Father smiling down on you for being here right now. For listening to him. For wanting to change. There are not a lot of people out there willing to go through a conversion for God. Your Father is pleased with You. He said it would be Good, He didn't say it would be Easy.