You need to be heading to your destination. You know the general direction you need to take. You know that you will have a wonderful time when you get there, but there are so many unexpected twists in the road and sometimes roadblocks. Is this the correct detour to make? Do I turn right or left? Am I lost?
Our life is a road trip such as this. Heaven is our destination and we all get lost and turned around now and then. Sometimes we lose heart and wonder if it is worth the time and effort. What do you do in such a situation? Turn on your GPS.
Start out with GRATITUDE. You can really turn your life around when you change how you see it. Instead of seeing that mountainous hill you need to overcome (health issues, people issues, work issues), notice the sun rising over the horizon. Today is a new day. “Thank you, God, for this day. Help me do my best. I appreciate all that you have given me and accept the challenges that will help mold me into the person you want me to be. Be my guide today. Give me wisdom, Give me strength.”
PRAY all day long. What? Who has time for that?!
Well, I didn't say stop everything and pray. You can pray as you perform your daily tasks. I often pray the same simple prayer multiple times a day. Worries about my family, worries about our nation, worries about relationships, worries about the next generation, worries, worries, worries. “O my Jesus, forgive us of our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.” A short simple prayer that helps you and the person you are upset about. Because I believe that no matter how hurt or angry or upset we are, we do not wish eternal damnation on anyone. So say this prayer. God knows how to help you and help them. We don’t need to pray for a specific solution. God has a plan.
Go about your day in SERVICE of the Lord. If you can go volunteer at a homeless shelter or give time to your church, by all means, go for it when such an opportunity arises. However, don’t lose sight that you can serve God in everything that you do. At work, be the person who starts a new pot of coffee or greets coworkers with a smile. At home after a long day, serve the Lord by liking and sharing inspirational posts. Send a quick message to someone who is having their own struggles. Serve without expecting a reward.
As we draw nearer to Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Lord, keep in mind that He will come again. We shall one day see the Lord in all His glory. It may be after our life here on earth has come to an end or it may be at His second coming. What are we to do? We have the task of being grateful, prayerful servants of the Lord.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelation 22:12
And if you ever see me heading the wrong direction on the road to Heaven, would you please help me and point me in the right direction? Thanks!
About the Author
Teresa and her husband have been married for over 30 years. She is a mama to five on earth, three in heaven, and gramma to one. She has been a teacher and principle and has recently began working as a fitness coach! She enjoys creating new, healthier versions of old recipes and loves everything Christmas. She hopes to one day be known as the "Christmas Gramma", who even has a Christmas-themed bathroom.
When LeAnn first asked me to write about how I maintain a relationship with God, I thought it would be easy. I pray, go to Mass regularly, and co-direct a Catholic summer camp...this should be a piece of cake to write about. However, after some reflection and many scrapped rough drafts, I realized that my relationship with Jesus isn’t a perfect one. As much as I would love to share a flawless relationship and a step-by-step guide to being the best woman of God possible, I can’t. At first, I felt a little deflated and unworthy, but I felt as though my saint squad was standing over my shoulders with reminders from above.
St. Therese of Lisieux is standing over one shoulder saying, “To remain a child before God means to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God. It is not to become discouraged over our failings, for children fall often. But they are too little to hurt themselves too much.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta is over the other shoulder saying, “Just do small things with great love.”
It is these words from my saintly role-models (as well as many other remarkable words) that really guide me in my spiritual life. Obviously, the saints did something right in their spiritual lives, making them great men and women to turn to. While there are so many great things to learn from each of the saints, finding a few that you relate to and building a relationship with them is a great way to open the doors to grow stronger in your faith. I enjoy reading and I am always in search of good books to read about my favorite saints. I have a habit of frequenting thrift stores or book sales and buying every book with JPII, Mother Teresa, or Therese of Lisieux on it. I use these and other books, like the Magnificat to help me connect with Jesus daily. If you’ve never flipped through one before, it’s this nifty little book that has each day of the month in it. It has morning prayers, the mass readings, and evening prayers in it. On a perfect day, I’ll spend thoughtful time with each, but that doesn’t always happen. I’ll always carry my Magnificat and a “Jesus-y” book in my little backpack that I take everywhere so that way I always have something to keep me occupied, and it lessens the ability to use the “I left it at home” excuse.
I often start my mornings off with work, class, or student teaching. I’m the kind of person who will literally sleep in until the very last possible second to still get ready and out the door in time. However, I am now well aware that the last snooze of my alarm doesn’t actually help me to feel any more rested than if I just got up 10 minutes earlier. Since discovering this, I try to make myself get up and out the door just 10-15 minutes earlier than I need to. This means I’ll get to my eventual destination 10-15 minutes earlier, which gives me some quality, early morning, quiet time to pray. This also allows me to put my heart and mind in a good place before interacting with people while also enjoying some sips of coffee with Jesus.
The best days for these morning meetings with Jesus are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when I have some extra moments to spare before my morning begins. My college’s campus ministry has holy hours on these mornings from 8-9 AM. I love beginning my day with the physical presence of Jesus. I’ll admit, I don’t get to make it every morning, sometimes it just isn’t realistic with my schedule. But I try to go as often as I can. Time in Eucharistic Adoration is really important to me; I thoroughly enjoy the time that I can just sit and be with Christ. That silence is when He really speaks to my soul and I feel at peace. So, amid my busy schedule, I keep a list of all the days and times that surrounding parishes have adoration so I can pop in, even just for 5 minutes, when I can.
Talk to Jesus--or don’t. I know this seems contradictory, friends, but trust me for a moment here. I’m a huge believer that prayer takes on many different forms, and they all work in different settings. That being said, I frequently just talk to God in a similar way that I would talk to my best friends. I’ll just tell him about my day, or whatever it is that’s going on in my head. I find it works best for me to do this while driving. That way, I can speak out loud without worrying that anyone else will hear. It just feels more authentic to me.
But after you’ve talked to Him, it’s time to shut your mouth and listen to what He has to say. Take time to just sit in silence and exist in the presence of God. It’s hard, it’s really hard, especially at first. Your mind will wander to your to-do list or worries, or you may feel like you need some music to help it “feel” right. Our world fills us with constant noise that we don’t know how to be silent. We don’t know how to be silent. So don’t feel bad if you can’t go long in the silence. Just spend as long as you can in the silence, and try to keep your mind from straying. Over time, it will get easier, and you will hear His voice more clearly. I find it’s easiest to do this in Eucharistic Adoration--when I am physically in His presence.
The greatest decision that I’ve ever made was to spend more time talking about Jesus and to spend more time with people who talk about Jesus. When you welcome God into your everyday moments and everyday life, you’ll find yourself being a person who shares a pure and genuine relationship with Him.
About The Author
Meagan is a college student about to start her last semester of her undergrad. She loves working with children and is even a summer camp director! She enjoys coffee, quiet mornings with Jesus, and rad Ms. Frizzle-esque style outfits.