Weekly Blog

Three Ways to Strive, Not Just Survive

Have you ever felt stuck? Like you can’t get any movement? Make any progress? Do you have an interest in how you might change that? How you might excel, thrive?

Before we identify the three ways to thrive as promised in the title of this blog, let’s establish something foundational. Bear with me. All of the following is truer than true:

  • God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done.
  • He loves you unconditionally and forgives you unconditionally.
  • He is our creator, knowing you better than anyone else can.
  • God made you with special gifts and talents, with a very specific and divine purpose.
  • He, more than anyone, knows what will make you happy and fulfilled, what will provide you with peace and joy.

Add to the above that His message is incredibly compelling, as demonstrated in Scripture, the Sacraments, the Saints, and so many great books that speak to the heart and/or the head.

Question – who in your life, with the above attributes, would you not want to be communicating with on a regular basis? For me, anyone who knows and cares for me that much, and can offer me so much, I want to be talking to as much as possible.

So now, the three ways to thrive, not just survive:

  1. Prayer
  2. Sacraments
  3. Scripture and Faith Based Books

Please stick with me here. Each can change your life….really.


Just 10 minutes a day…take whatever is on your mind to our Lord, i.e. challenges, desires, dreams, relationship issues…whatever. Start out by describing to Jesus what it is you want to solve for…

  • Explain the situation, followed by defining your ideas related to it.
  • Identify all that you know or are thinking to Jesus, including any proc and cons.
  • Pose any questions you might have to Him and then in silence, listen for His voice in your heart, His Will for what you might do.

Guess what, the above really works. Whenever I do it, which is quite often, Jesus helps me in figuring out my challenges, desires, dreams, relationship issues, typically bringing to mind something I hadn’t previously thought of.

Interestingly, the secular world tells us how good meditation is, how much it can help to visualize or exercise real forethought for something. My suggestion is the same, while bringing God into it, the One who knows and loves you more than anyone else in your life.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) has become a very important part of my faith journey. Going monthly (sometimes I slip to every 6-8 weeks, although rarely), it is so gratifying to talk to someone confidentially, the Priest who is in Christo (the person of Christ), about the challenges I’m having. Going to the same Priest on a regular basis allows me to discuss with him the progress or challenges I’m having. Then, receiving absolution is this feeling of being cleansed…creating a new beginning, by the Grace of God.

Over a year ago, I began going to Mass daily.  There is something about the simplicity, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And it’s special to me to receive Jesus, His body, blood, soul, and divinity every day in Holy Communion. My first prayer immediately afterwards is always “come into my heart, mind, body, and soul”. What a great and fortifying way to start each day.

Reading Scripture and Faith Based Books

There’s an expression, “it’s one thing to know the Bible, it’s another to know its Author”. The only way to know God our Creator, Jesus who died on the Cross for our sins, and the Holy Spirit, who dwells within each of us, is to read and pray through Scripture. Yes…some of it is dry, but so much of it is intriguing and inspiring.

The other way to grow in your faith and as a person is to read good faith-based books. There are SO MANY good ones that feed the heart and the head. In addition to mine (I know…self-serving), I list several recommendations in my book, which are listed here.

  • Jason Evert, Saint John Paul the Great, His Five Loves (Ignatius Press, 2014)
  • Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, Loved As I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2014)
  • Matthew Kelly, Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose (Matthew Kelly, 1999)
  • Michael Scanlan, Let the Fire Fall (Servant, 1986)
  • Deacon Keith Strohm, Jesus: The Story You Thought You Knew (Our Sunday Visitor, 2017
  • Rev Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan, 2002)
  • Jacques Philippe, Searching for and Maintaining Peace (Alba House, 2002

Or pick another. Reading just 10-15 minutes a day (I’d suggest right before you turn out the lights at night) will be so impactful….it can change your life.

You do these three things and I GUARANTEE that you will thrive, not just survive.

As usual, please feel free to get back to me with your comments, questions, or concerns.

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!!

Mark Joseph