Summer Renewal

Need to remember this. I worry so much about making other people happy - and I tend to neglect myself.

Well, sweet, sweet summertime is finally here, and I could not be happier. I have had one too many cold days and too few spring thunderstorms and days by the pool, but now I am home and ready for anything! I always have this high expectation for summer and how it is going to be so adventurous and thrilling. I am about two weeks into summer and so far, the most adventurous thing I have done is gone bowling. Woot. (This is actually kind of a big deal, considering I stink at bowling, and also have a fear of my fingers getting stuck in the ball.) Besides that, working and being bored has taken up a majority of my time.

However, even if my summer hasn’t been so crazy so far, I am already thoroughly enjoying the lowered stress levels, hockey on the daily, and sunshine. I know for some people this isn’t the case, but my summers are usually so chill. I find myself having so much more time to myself, free to do what I please. Anytime I am left to myself, I tend to do a lot of deep thinking. Now, this can end up badly a majority of the time, as I over think things that are so small, but I do have productive thoughts sometimes too. Due to my increased alone time and thinking, summer tends to be my season of renewal; my time to analyze myself and grow. The quote from the beginning of this post has been a quote I have returned to quite often this summer so far.

“Eat like you love yourself. Move like you love yourself. Speak like you love yourself. Act like you love yourself.”

I’m trying to make this summer a season of self-love. Sounds kind of selfish, but hear me out. I think everyone can have issues with self-love, and I am definitely no exception to that, I am probably on the extreme end of the spectrum. I also think in order to succeed in life, you need to set goals. One of my (many) goals? Loving myself better. Why wait? Why not start now? There is no reason to wait. God made us to love ourselves and one another, not treat ourselves and other people like crap. I don’t know about you, but I think God’s intentions are probably best for us and our happiness, so why not start now?

I have always held the idea that it is God first, and then everything else follows. But what follows directly after God? It probably differs for everyone, but I know when I put others after God, I can sometimes forget about myself. If I am not loving myself properly, I find it extremely hard to love others properly. But, I have to be careful when I put myself before others, so I don’t get selfish and self-absorbed. There is give and take, you just have to find the right balance, like with anything in life.

I think too often people forget to love themselves, and that leads to issues with loving others as well. You have to be able to look in the mirror and love the person looking back at you, and then go out into the world and pour that love into other people. There is never a limitation on love, whether it be toward yourself or others. We are God’s creation, His beautiful creation. We are to respect, honor, and admire God’s creation, no exceptions. You are no exception, I am no exception, that stranger is no exception, that person you dislike is no exception, and so on and so forth. So, how are we doing that on a daily basis? Are we waking up every morning, looking in the mirror and already dishonoring God’s creation by thinking a negative thought or pointing out every flaw and issue? What about later in the day, when we avoid eye contact with the person asking for donations or when we make assumptions about someone we pass in the store based on what they look like? I know my own answers, and I hate to admit it, but they aren’t the right ones.

Like with everything, I truly think change starts within ourselves. A little positivity toward yourself can go a long way and overflow into all areas of your life. Every time we show some love towards ourselves, not only are we thanking God for what He has created and showing His creation love and respect, but we are also training ourselves to think differently and in a more positive way, which will help us, in turn, show that love to those around us as well.

What does that self-love look like? For me, I go right along with what the quote is saying.

Eat like you love yourself: God gave us all this natural stuff to eat, and He wants us to treat his creation right, so am I waking up and having the donut that I want so badly, or am I choosing something a little better for myself? Even something this minor is a way I choose to love myself. Plus, my healthy choices have been making my family think twice too; my self-love overflowing into others.

Move like you love yourself: You know what is a great way to connect with God and start your day? A morning run. There is something so beautiful about waking up with the sun, stepping outside, and feeling God bless you with every breath and every stride in the presence of all His amazing outdoor creations. Again, God wants us to keep his creation healthy and striving, so get out and move yourself! Another simple choice that is an act of self-love, and a way to connect with God in the process. There are so many times when I am driving and see someone running or walking their dog or gardening and I get so motivated to get outside too! Another way self-love can turn into love flowing into others as well.

Speak like you love yourself: Whether it be the things you say out loud or just your thoughts, these things can be toxic or super beneficial. Something as simple as telling yourself you are beautiful everyday or choosing five things you like about yourself or so on or so forth can really train your brain to think in a different way, and before you know it, the negative thoughts and words will be overpowered by positivity and love. Then, that positivity and love with pour out into your words and thoughts toward other people as well.

Act like you love yourself: I think all the above fall into this one, along with every single action we take on a daily basis. Everything we do should build us up and be to better us, not to break us down or make us worse. Living by God’s word is a great rule of thumb to act like you love yourself. Our actions speak louder than our words, as some may say, and we can deeply influence others lives by the simple actions we take to help others or by the actions other silently watch us do. I can tend to act without thinking, and in order to love myself and others better, I know I need to start thinking and acting differently.

A little self-love goes a long way, not only for yourself, but in the way you treat other people as well. By allowing God’s love to consume you and overflow into others, I truly believe that the love will reflect right back at you and fill you with so much joy. God created us with His own love, and created us to love one another as well. We can never measure up to God’s insane and incredible love, but if everyone takes small steps everyday to increase their love toward themselves, and therefore others, we can experience God’s love on a whole new level! Cool, right? Getting deep here, people.

But seriously, like I said, I have had a lot of time to myself and these are my thoughts! Love yourself. Love others. Above all, love God, and the rest will come along with it. :)

Thanks for reading!

Jessica

P.S. I have no idea if this makes any sense, as I just started typing and didn’t stop (except when I almost fell asleep), so bear with me. :)

Lukewarm Is No Good.

When I go to describe myself to other people, lukewarm is definitely not a word I use. In fact, I find myself to be quite the opposite. One of my favorite verses goes as follows:

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed, embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”

I think this quote aligns with almost every aspect of my life. As silly as it sounds, it is beyond difficult for me to pinpoint one thing in my life I am not enthusiastic about. I am always 100% for something, there is no 50-50 mumbo-jumbo. If I lose interest, I give it the boot. From boy bands to the color green to my short obsession with soap-carving (yes, it happened), once I lose the spark, it’s long gone. Why hold on to something you don’t feel passionate about?

I have always thought being so enthusiastic makes life more interesting and fun, and don’t get me wrong, it does. But, sometimes being so over-the-top dedicated comes at a cost you have to be willing to pay. You see, not only am I a passionate person, I am an extremely emotional person as well. This combination can be lethal. A (now) funny example: two weeks ago, my favorite hockey team gets kicked out of the playoffs after an incredible season. Therefore, Jessica spends at least 16 hours in bed miserable with a broken heart. Okay, but seriously. When you feel so strongly about something, it is hard not to feel every single emotion possible in regards to that particular thing. When you are so dedicated to friends, family, a hobby, and so on, it is easy to get hurt. A friend you care so deeply about lies or gives you the cold shoulder, it is 100 times harder than if you didn’t care so much. You give family 110%, and a family member passes away, that pain is intense. Even something as minor as a hobby, sports team, school, work, etc. can set off an emotional roller coaster if you are constantly enthusiastic and putting your time and energy into that specific thing.

So is it really better to be passionate, dedicated, enthusiastic, and so on when it can result in pain or distress when something takes a wrong turn? Before I give my opinion on this, let’s turn to Revelations.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

I used to be terrified of this verse. Basically, what Jesus is saying is exactly what I was saying earlier, lukewarm is no good. The people Jesus was speaking to acknowledged him, but focused on their riches and own good things instead of God’s. They didn’t rely on God and his blessings and didn’t realize that they really were poor without Him. Basically, this group of people was lukewarm in terms of their faith and were “no good” so Jesus is warning them that if they continue this way, he will be spitting them out. I think reading this verse really forces us to examine our own faith life and whether we are cold and refreshing, hot and relaxing, or just lukewarm and kind of blah. I know there are days when my faith is lukewarm and probably very unappealing to those around me. Why would an outsider look at my faith and be attracted to my faith and my God if I am lukewarm? I want to be water that everyone wants to experience! I want to be 100% dedicated, enthusiastic, and excited about God, the Gospel, and my faith! Lukewarm is no good, people! No 50-50 mumbo jumbo, no only praying or spending time in the Word sometimes. Why not run at your faith full speed, embracing it, and loving it? Jesus has called us to this faith, not some mediocre faith.

So, back to the question at hand. Is being passionate about everything really best? Sure, Jesus is talking about not being lukewarm in our faith, but what about everything else? The answer, in my opinion, is yes, being passionate is best. Just like everything else, even our faith can bite us in the butt sometimes. There will be days when we will have a hard time with our faith and with ourselves, but the great days will outnumber these. The way that I look at it is like this: everything in our lives is here for a purpose, hand chosen for us by God. Before I was even formed in the womb, God knew I would be a hockey-loving, cookie-eating, Criminal-Minds-watching fool. He knew I would enjoy these things and that they would become part of who I am. He never wants these things to be placed above Him, but rather that through these things, and everything else I love, I could see and find Him. If someone gives you a gift, are you going to open it, shrug, smile, and toss it aside, or are you going to be excited about it, thankful, and love it? Isn’t it more fun if you do the latter? The same goes with life. We have been given the gift of eternal life by our Father, but He has also given us things to make us happy while we are here on Earth as well. I find myself glorifying God so much better when I love everything and run towards everything with a passion and enthusiasm.

There is nothing wrong with loving everything. When you face life with enthusiasm, it makes your days so much happier, your heart so much fuller, and your perspective so much more positive. Find the things you love, and love the crap out of them. Thank God for them. Find God in them. Enjoy every moment of your life with a dedication and passion.

Jessica<3

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It is that time of year again.. Lent. As a Catholic, I have spent my Wednesday waiting for my one (meatless) meal of the day, proudly walking around with my ashes on my forehead, and attempting to get into the swing of my various Lenten sacrifices. I would love to fully explain Lent and Ash Wednesday and all this awesome Catholic mumbo jumbo in future posts, but this post is going to simply be focused on what I am “giving up” for Lent.

“Giving up” might be the normal thing to see when describing Lenten practices, but in reality, Lent isn’t only about giving stuff up, but also doing more stuff in the process. Why do we even do these things in Lent? Well, Lent is basically a season of conversion and recognizing the ways we have turned away from God. Lent is about fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In a way, even the silliest things we give up are a form of fasting. No matter what it is you give up, or do in additional to your regular routine, you are turning away from things that are distracting and refocusing yourself on God. It can be confusing to think about at first, but let’s just say Lent is a great, meaningful season leading up to Easter.

This year, I decided to give up 1.) my pillows and 2.) Eating after 7 in the evening. Why, you may ask? First of all, I like to have one Lenten sacrifice that is kind out of the box and fun, yet meaningful. That is where the pillow idea came from. Sleeping without my pillows is definitely going to be a sacrifice. Maybe the first five minutes in bed tonight, it will even be kind of fun. But I can tell you, in a week or two, it won’t be so fun anymore. It will probably be miserable, but in a good way. Not only does is readjust my thinking away from comfort, it puts my mind in a better place to think of the sacrifices of Jesus. Okay, sleeping without a pillow and death by a cross are two totally different things. But even the silliest reminders can make a huge impact. Also, I notice that sometimes I let sleeping an extra hour take precedence over having an hour of quiet time instead. If I can’t sleep, might as well crack open the bible, right? :) As far as my second sacrifice, eating after a specific time, this goes along with the sacrifice idea as well, but also health. A bowl of cereal before bed can be the best tasting food in the world sometimes. However, is it necessary? The short answer is no. I only do it because I’m bored or I’m tired of doing homework or something along those lines. It is simply for pleasure, and honestly, finding pleasure in food isn’t too Godly. Healthwise, I want to treat the body God has given me as good as possible. Feeding it sugary cereal before it goes to lie down for 8 hours and do nothing? Again, not the best idea. Giving up this late night snacking will not only be a reminder of the Lenten season, but also give my body some better treatment.

Now, moving on to the things I am adding this Lenten season. First, I am going to do the sign of the cross before and after I pray every single time. The sign of the cross has multiple purposes, but one is identifying oneself as a Catholic. I realize if I am in public or I am not around other Catholics, I won’t do the sign of the cross, and honestly, that worries me. I love my faith. I am proud of my faith. I don’t want to hide my faith. I want to do the sign of cross with honor and proudly identify myself as a Catholic. No more worrying what other people think. Second, I am going to pray before meals. In case you didn’t get the idea before, I like food. I mean, who doesn’t!? I tend to get a wee bit too excited to eat and forget to pray. However, I really do want to thank God for the gifts and sustenance he has placed in front of me. I am beyond lucky and grateful to have food to eat at every meal, as others aren’t that lucky. Long story short, I am going to try my darndest to pray before every meal. Third, I am going to put my social media to good use and tweet one thing everyday in regards to my faith. This kind of goes along with the idea of being proud of my faith, but also, I think it could make a great impact. Recently, I have been seeing more and more brokenness and negativity in the people who follow me on Twitter. Most of my followers I have never met, we simply share a common interest. I know you shouldn’t judge someone by what they tweet, but I can tell some of these people need something. Who knows what one tweet a day for 40 days could do? God works in incredible ways, and maybe my tweets can be one way!

Phew! This sums up what these next 40 days have in store for me. I get so excited about Lent. Although a dramatic and intense season, it ends with joy and happiness and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for me and those around me! No matter if you are Catholic or not, I pray this Lenten season can be a great one for you as well and one of growth and renewal, even if you don’t do anything special for Lent! God Bless!

Jessica <3

What is your Most Valuable Possession?

I am doing a “Bible in A Year” reading plan, and the theme of the other day’s readings was “Our Most Valuable Possession.” Before reading, a few thoughts crossed my mind. If I had to pick one thing as my most valuable possession, what would I choose? Would it be my beloved hockey jersey I got for Christmas or my signed picture of one of my favorite players? Or maybe it would it be a drawing my niece gave to me or my grandmother’s Rosary? I could name a whole list of these concrete things in my life that I treasured and loved. But once I opened that Bible, the truth poured out.

You see, our world revolves around “things.” I don’t think anyone can deny it. Money, cars, houses, clothes, and other possessions seem to be how we define our happiness, accomplishments, and fulfillment. It is so hard to focus on things we cannot physically touch, hold in our hands, or post pictures of on social media. Therefore, we too often define ourselves by the things we can. These are our “prized possessions,” the things we are proud of. We feel as though they make us who we are, they influence the way others see us, and without them, we would be heartbroken, and maybe even lost.

Of course, anyone who has opened the Bible knows exactly what it says in regards to material possessions. The verses that discuss material possessions are everywhere. You can’t serve both God and money, your material possessions will not follow you into heaven, money is the root of all evil, and so on and so forth. Bottom line: our material possessions are earthly. They don’t make us better people. They cause greed and jealousy. Yes, it is nice to have them. Yes, you are allowed to go out and buy a new car or a new house or a beautiful hockey jersey :). However, if those things are your most valuable possessions, there miiiiight be an issue.

It is hard to think of possessions as something we cannot touch or hold or see. I think that is why we so easily put all our attention and focus on the material things in our life. We can see them everyday, hold them, touch them, show them to others. But what about the possession’s we cannot see? The possessions we have been abundantly blessed with by God? We possess His love, His grace, His open ears to hear our prayers, and so on. We get to know Him. We get to know His son. We experience His presence. We experience all his blessings. Who am I to look at my possessions and place a piece of clothing or a house or money above God? As I think of this, I have to look at my life. Am I treating God’s blessings as my most valuable possessions or am I treating my things are more valuable? Which am I giving my attention to? Which am I “showing off” to others, my material things or my spiritual blessings? Showing one of my friends the new computer I got isn’t beneficial. But showing one of my friends the pure joy I have found in the presence of God could be life-changing to that person.

Where we place our attention and our value reflects our heart. When we can stop and recognize God and his blessings as our most valuable possessions, we can grow even closer to God and find a whole new love, admiration, and appreciation for the incredible blessings we have been given.

<3 Jessica

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright!

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely one who is constantly asking God to send me a sign, some kind of indication whether I am doing something right, something to push me in the right direction, or a gentle reminder of some sort. I don’t always get the immediate moment of realization like I would hope, but with patience, I usually get my answer. However, today was different. I didn’t ask for a sign or anything today, but I saw something in church that absolutely blew me away. Yes, in church. What other place for God to reveal something to me, right!? I was sitting in the far back in a room where the families sit, and although I was spacing out during the homily, I looked up and saw this sign staring back at me:

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I think in this world, we get so caught up in the idea that with God as our Father, everything is going to be alright. But when things start changing, we question Him and what He is doing. Everything will be alright doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to have to go through some struggles. Everything will be alright doesn’t mean that some people aren’t going to stick around in your life. Everything will be alright doesn’t mean everything is going to be alright immediately. Life is an ongoing process. God works everyday so everything will be alright for us, but we must open our hands and give our lives to Him, trusting that He knows what He is doing, and in His time.

This idea really relates back to my last post. Everything will be alright doesn’t mean I get to stay in my comfort zone while God straightens out everything in my life. Just because God has got it under control doesn’t mean I just get to mosey around while He does everything. Spoiler alert: sometimes God calls us to action to fulfill His plan. Shocking, I know. He can’t do everything without us listening to His command. I have come to the realization that if I want everything in my life to be alright, I have to cooperate with God’s will for me. I might have to step outside my comfort zone, as scary as that is, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Rather than seeing change in our lives as scary and overwhelming, we should start realizing that the pieces are coming together. This crazy puzzle of life requires some moving around of pieces, trying this, trying that, turning this piece upside down. How can we expect a beautiful picture to come together without some change in the placement of the pieces? God is the pretty much the best puzzle solver in the world. He can take the messiest of lives (yours and mine) and turn them into something beautiful. You know how little kids try to do puzzles and literally put every ounce of their strength forcing two pieces together that just do not fit? That’s what we do when we try to control our own lives. However, once we stop trying to force them together, God comes along, rearranges things, and reveals to us what we could not see before. God has all the pieces of our lives in His mighty hands. Let us let Him do His work, knowing in the end, the most incredible finished product will be formed, but not without some shifting and change.

On this beautiful fall day, I can’t help but to just look outside and admire the beauty God has placed all around us. The trees are changing colors, losing their leaves, and getting prepared for the winter season quickly approaching. Everything will be alright with these trees. Summer will come again, their leaves will return, and new life be breathed into them. But in the meantime, things cannot stay the same, their leaves cannot stay green forever. There must be change. We are in the same situation. We can always look forward with assurance that everything will be alright, praise God, but not without the change we must be willing to accept. When we can be thankful and excited for that change, knowing its outcome, just imagine the joy we can feel.

God Bless!

Jessica <3

Comfort Zone

You know when you are so busy that you just go and go and go and when you finally sit down, your exhaustion hits you like a wall of bricks? Yes? That feeling is descriptive of this semester of school so far. Sure, between the schoolwork seven days a week, bible study twice a week, trying to squeeze in time to actually sit back and relax, trying to plan next semester’s classes already, and wanting to spend time with family and friends, I have a bit going on. But these things aren’t the main sources of exhaustion.

I think my main source of exhaustion is coming from myself and solely myself. If the title of this blog told you anything, you could probably guess I am going to talk about comfort zones. No brainer, right!? That is exactly where my exhaustion is coming from: trying to cement my feet in my comfort zone and not move an inch. In fact, I have been trying to stay inside my “circle of comfort” for as long as I can remember. Lately, however, I have been feeling a tug on my arm. At first, the tug was gentle and soft, but the more I resist and try to ignore the tug, the stronger and stronger it has become. I am spending increasingly more energy fighting back from the pull, using all my will and strength to be still as a rock and not move. I know, eventually, I will be fighting back so hard, the pull will stop and I will go falling backward onto the cold, hard ground with a loud and heavy thud. I should just give in, right!?

Okay, maybe that was a complicated analogy. Long story short, I am stuck in my comfort zone. God is trying to take my hand and gently lead me where I need to go, but little old Jessica who likes her comfort zone is fighting back. As God starts to pull harder and harder at my heart and hand, I spend more and more energy trying to stay where I am. That is where my exhaustion is coming from, my continuous fight against God. Thinking of it in this way really puts it into perspective for me. I don’t know where He wants to lead me, and what lies ahead, so I try to resist the pull. But, there is a reason He is pulling me that way. He is leading me somewhere bigger and better. Somewhere I can better do His will. He doesn’t want me left behind on the cold, hard ground as much as I don’t like the idea of falling down on the cold, hard ground. But, yet, I resist His pull.

I think it is human nature to have some fear and doubt when it comes to new situations. Sure, we like adventure and fun every once in a while, but going into those things completely blind isn’t as exciting and invigorating. Obviously, as I have just revealed, this is something I struggle with. The thing is, the Bible is literally filled to the brim with verses encouraging us to trust God and to trust that where He is leading us, there is only great things ahead.

“I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear or be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

“It s the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

These are two of my favorites among all the verses on comfort zones the Bible has to offer. Imagine this: You are a little kid at a huge carnival with hundreds of people and things going on all around you. If you try to explore by yourself, you will get distracted by the cotton candy over that way, the games this way, the inflatables the other way. You will turn the other direction when a scary clown comes into view. The large moving crowd will push you and send you in all different directions. You will get lost so easily.

Of course, another analogy, but hear me out. Us, the small children, can be so distracted by our own wants and desires. We can be scared away by issues popping up in our lives. We can get lost in this crazy hectic life. That’s where God comes in. As the loving Father He is, He takes our hand in His and tries to lead us where we need to go. Away from our selfish distractions, away from danger, away from the craziness, and toward the place we need to be. Sometimes this won’t be easy on us. It will test us and challenge us and force us outside of our comfort zone. But, in the end, we will be better for it. We will never be lost when we hold on to our incredible Father’s hand and follow Him wherever He leads.

Sometimes, especially now, I need that encouragement to stop wasting energy telling God “no” and start saying yes. It is scary, it is new, is is something I am not used to, but it is God’s will, and He will never fail us or forsake us. I may not be sure what I am saying “yes” to at the moment, but only time will tell. God’s mighty hand is holding mine, the path is unclear, but I can trust that God knows what He is doing and knows where He is leading me.

God’s got dis.

:)

Jessica<3

Life.

I find it so interesting that every time I face a difficulty in my day or week, my first instinct is to blog. It’s not like blogging makes me escape the issue, but rather, it brings me hope and kind of snaps me back into reality. However, this time, I am actually writing about the little “bump” in my day. Mixin’ it up. :) You see, I am the type of person who gets lost in their own mind. Maybe it is my love for psychology, maybe it is just my personality, but I could literally sit in silence and just let my mind run wild. Tonight, I was thinking about how in about a month, I will be headed back to school. My summer is almost over. I cannot believe it! As I was thinking about this, I realized that my summer has been, how do I put this, boring. I didn’t get a summer job to bring home some extra bacon, I didn’t go on any crazy trips or vacations, I didn’t really do anything extraordinary. Everyone dreams of having the best summer of their lives and having all these incredible memories, but honestly, this summer is kind of low on my list of “best summers.” It’s not fair, right? I am not the only one dealing with this, right!? Watching other people have the summers of their lives while I sit at home watching Food Network trying to beat 2048? It’s not a news flash, but we don’t always get what we want in life. Sometimes we get thrown some curve balls. Life. is. not. fair.

If that isn’t a Debbie downer, I don’t know what is. What do I do when I am feeling down (besides praying about it, of course)? I get on Pinterest. Yep, you guessed it, the quotes section. There is usually always one quote that gets stuck in my head for the rest of my day. Tonight’s quote: The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. Wow, eye opening, especially after my complaining about a boring summer. I am lucky for my health this summer, even if I didn’t go on an incredible vacation. I am blessed with parents who support me, despite the fact that I didn’t get a job. I was able to spend a whole summer with my family, the people who mean the most to me. These are things I am taking for granted, yet other people are praying for. But, you know what? This quote led me to the same conclusion that my earlier thought did. Life. is. not. fair. The fact that some people are better off than others? Not fair. The fact that not everyone gets to be equal in what they have? Not fair.

The fact of the matter is yes, life is not fair. There will be incredible high moments we will never forget and heartbreaking low moments that will stick out in our minds just as much. We will never all be equal in this life, and yes, that is discouraging. We must look for the good in our lives and not take it for granted; always focus on the highs and be grateful for all we have. I am starting to sound like a walking motivational speaker, but you get the idea. Once you can accept that life isn’t fair, you can then accept that God is the only way to cope with this unfairness. He has our backs, and although we may struggle, we can pour our hearts out to Him and know that He will bless us incredibly in this life. His grace is enough. God can sustain us through this unfair life, and once we put our faith in that, we can look at life in a whole new way.

And you know what is the best part? This life is only temporary. This life may be unfair, but I can guarantee that an eternal life with God will make up for it. The only thing we can do in this temporary life is to live it to the fullest, following God faithfully, and falling in love with our lives along the way. Seek out positivity and God, and life becomes that much more bearable. Just because life isn’t fair, doesn’t mean we can’t do something incredible. Life is a complicated, crazy thing. But, it is beautiful at the same time. It just all depends how you face it.

God Bless!
<3 Jessica

The Impossible

I was looking for some inspiration for a new blog post, so I decided to use one of my favorite websites, Pinterest. It always amazes me how much time I can spend on Pinterest scrolling through the quotes section! Seriously, if you ever feel overwhelmed/sad/angry/whatever, go on Pinterest. Well, after you open your bible, of course!

Anywhoos! As I was scrolling through Pinterest, I found the perfect quote to blog about.

Don’t just pray about what seems logical and possible. Pray HARD about the impossible; God will show you that NOTHING, nothing, nothing, nothing, is impossible with Him. Ever. Period. End of Story.”

I remember being told this a lot when I was growing up; to pray for the impossible, because you never know. I miss the childhood innocence I had when I was first told this. I remember never understanding “the impossible.” At that age, I thought praying for the impossible was something along the lines of praying to be able to fly or praying that dinosaurs still existed. To me, these things were the closest things I could think of that were impossible. But, as I grew up, that innocence dissipated. My list of “impossible” things grew and grew and started to include things like being good at a sport or being accepted by a certain group of people, and so on. It seemed new things were always being added as I faced new challenges. Even now, my “impossible” list keeps expanding.

A few years back I saw on a website somewhere the suggestion to make something called an impossible list. It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of the things you think are impossible. After you make the list, you are to put it somewhere and look at it again one year later, two years later, and so on. I made the list, but of course I have no idea where it is. :P However, I remember a few of the things. One was as simple as being fit. We all have had our chubby stage, but when your chubby stage is in junior high, it’s rough. At that time, I felt that I would never be able to live a healthy, fit life. But now, I am running 5ks four to five times a week and have gotten rid of a lot of the bad habits I used to have. I remember my list containing so many little things like that, which today are no longer impossible. The major one that was probably number one on my list? Being worry-free. I used to be so stressed that I would literally give myself stomach ulcers. I thought it would never end. But, you know what? It did. I haven’t had stress that bad in over a year now. That thing that seemed so impossible, well, it turned out to be possible. You know how that worry eventually faded? You guessed it. Prayer. Even at the beginning of the school year, I was praying everyday for God to take away my nerves about college and classes and meeting people, and He did just that. He made the impossible possible.

That is just one example of so many. The thing with prayer is that you gotta ask for it! If you aren’t praying about it, how do expect anything to happen? Yes, God is all-knowing, but when we don’t put it in His hands, we are showing doubt in His power or saying that “thing” we aren’t praying for isn’t that important anyways. How do you know it is impossible if you have never asked? Sure, praying that God will clean your room for you may be “impossible” but hey, He just might give you the motivation to clean it yourself! Silly example, I know, but you get the point. When we pray about something that seems so unlikely and far-fetched, God can find a way. It may not be exactly the way we were thinking, but He will find a way. Never limit God.The second you limit God, He will find a way to blow your mind in a whole new way. He is God for Pete’s sake, give the Man some credit.

You want something? Pray about it. It seems impossible? Pray harder. The only way to find out if something is truly impossible is to ask God. You probably won’t be ready for His incredible answer. You wanna push it even further? Make an impossible list. Give it to a friend to give you in a year or put it in your winter clothes storage (these are the things I think of..) Everything on your list won’t be checked off in a few months time or even a few years time, but trust me, slowly but surely, that list will diminish. Once you realize that anything is possible, you can view life in a whole new, positive way.

God Bless!

<3 Jessica

 

 

Transformation

I probably have written a similar blog post before, but I can never help to share what is on my mind. I remember in high school, I had a terrible toothache. I seriously think toothaches are the worst pain in the world (I told my sister this and she confirmed that she thinks toothaches are worse than childbirth, so there is that). I like to think I handle pain well, but in all reality, I compain. A lot. So, of course, all my friends were hearing about my toothache all day, and I was walking through the halls begging anyone and everyone for some ibuprofen. Anyways, I walked into this cool room we had at my school, plopped down on a couch, and groaned. Our priest was in there, and being the nice guy he is, asked me what was wrong. I blabbed on forever about this agonizing toothache as he just nodded with a concerning look. I will always remember him looking at me with such a quizzical look and asking me “Well, why don’t you offer it up?” I had never even heard of this idea before, offering up pain to God. It happened to be the week my school had all kinds of pro-life activities, so he suggested offering up my pain to God for all the unborn babies who had been victims of abortion. He told me for the rest of the day, anytime I wanted to complain, to just remember that the pain was being used in a form of prayer for those babies.

The pain didn’t get any better just because I began to use it as a prayer, but I did notice a lot more happiness in my attitude just from “offering it up.” Anytime I get a headache or toothache or anything now, I think of what he told me, and it really is a great mentality to have in those moments. However, just recently I read more about this idea in a book. It is all about a transformation of our mentality, and it can go far beyond just pain. It can be with anything.

One of my biggest pet peeves is negativity. I just can never understand how negativity helps anything. So, when I get on Facebook to see people complaining about jobs or school or anything, I get quite annoyed, I admit. I mean, I am in the position where I am looking for a job with no luck, so it bugs me to see someone else complaining about having a job! Although I get so annoyed by the negative mentality of others, my mentality of being so annoyed by them is no good either. That is why this transformation of mentality I read about stuck out to me so much, so I will try to sum it up as well as possible. :)

I think everyone has this natural tendency to have a mentality of “what’s in it for me?” When it comes to a job, it is money. When it comes to school, it is a degree. When it comes to just everyday tasks, we constantly think of the long-term, the fruits of our labor, what we will get. However, this mentality causes us to lose the value and purpose of the things we are doing. When we only focus on the fruits, we get stuck in this dead-end, dull routine. However, once we transform the things we are doing into prayer, our mentality shifts into something so much healthier.

For example, for me, it was the simply transformation of pain into prayer. In the book, it mentions offering up one hour of whatever job you do to someone or something that needs prayers, the next hour offered up as a way to thank God for family, the next for friends, and so on. I know for me, I sometimes limit my communication with God to my prayer times and other moments where I feel his presence, not every single moment and every single thing I do. God can be in every single second of our lives, whether it be using the chore of taking out the trash to pray for those who have no food containers to throw away or using a workout as a reminder of how truly healthy and fortunate you are to be able to do this exercise. This simple shift takes everyday, normal activities and transforms them into acts that cause you to grow spiritually and become closer to God.

As the author, Matthew Kelly, mentions in his book Rediscover Catholicism, “Whether your work in this life is as a street cleaner or as a senator, remember that the interior effect that the work we do has on our soul is infinitely more important than the exterior fruits of out work.” Such a simple shift from focusing outward to focusing inward may make all the difference, who knows! :) In a period of my life where I can feel that some of the things I am doing have no purpose, this is an incredible reminder of how everything and anything is purposeful and important.

 

God Bless!

Jessica<3

What Kind of Christian Am I?

Good afternoon all! I am actually writing a blog post in the middle of the day for once, what a surprise! :P Today’s topic actually came to me through a Catholic book that I was reading last night, but applies to Christianity in general. I felt so convicted as I was falling asleep and I knew I had to write a post about it. It may be a short post, but hopefully it ends up being a good one!

Growing up, I have always been taught to spread the Good News, shout from the mountains the glory of God and how Jesus is my savior. However, I never really knew how to do this. How do I spread this? Do I just walk up to random people and start spewing off Bible verses? How is all of this supposed to work? As I have grown, I can honestly admit that I have become pretty passionate on my beliefs and opinions, whether they are religion or not. When it come to abortion, gun rights, feminism, and so on, I have strong feelings, and when approached, would gladly have a friendly discussion about them. Even more honestly, I can say that I do a lot of tweeting and posting on social media about my opinions as well, whether I am asked for my opinion or not. I love having my voice heard, from spreading how God has blessed me to how I feel about the most recent tragedy in the news. On the other hand, it is hard not to become that person who starts shoving their beliefs down other peoples throats. It is hard for me to see or talk to someone who thinks differently than me and not start throwing Bible verses at them or trying to convince them they are wrong.

Like I said, I love having my voice heard. I love talking to people about how I became the Christian/Catholic I am today, I love sharing my new favorite song from Tenth Avenue North or this awesome article I read online, and so on. I love trying to show people my faith in these ways, especially if they are questioning their faith. Although I don’t exactly just walk up to strangers and ask them if they are interested in talking about God as I grew up believing I needed to do, I still try to spread the message as best as I can.

But, I have to ask myself, how is that working for you? How is this working for everyone who is out spreading the Gospel in whatever way they choose to do it? The answer is: it’s not. The book I am reading, “Rediscovering Catholicism,” really opened up this tough answer to me. People are tired of hearing the same messages over and over again. Yes, sharing your testimony is great, Christian books are great, all these amazing preachers and evangelists are great, but the people we want to speak to don’t want to hear these things, they want to see them. They want to see us live out Christianity, not spew it out in our words. They need the example, they need to see it for themselves. It reminds me of a church hymn sung all the time, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” Not by our incredible testimony, not by our memorization of bible verses, but by our love, by the way we live, by the example we set.

Am I this person? Am I this example? Reading this (and the book puts it in such better words) really got me thinking. I deeply and truly want to be this Christian leading this authentic life that others can look up to. I want to respond to the cry of help these people are sending out, a cry in search of a living example, not just words being spoken. I know I need to follow this longing and make it a reality. I get so easily caught up in whether or not I know the Bible cover to cover or if I know all the greatest Christian artists or if I have seen the latest popular sermon, but do I get caught up in how I am living, the example I am setting, whether or not people see God living in me, outside of the words I speak?

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

I know some people may disagree with me on this, and that is totally okay! Just my personal opinion and thoughts I wanted to share!

God Bless!

Jessica <3