My wife, kids, and grandkids are all healthy. So is my mother and mother-in-law, my brothers, and their families. We just celebrated Thanksgiving, all of us together, and it was a great blessing. So what I’m talking about here has nothing to do with anyone being sick or dying. No relationship issues or financial crises. And while our country is “going to hell in a handbasket”, that’s not what the title of this blog is referring to either.
I’m in a rut. Things are not fun at work. It’s nobody’s fault, but instead the realities of a post-COVID world, especially when you’re in the events business…which is the case for our conference ministry. And additional challenges compound things. I love where I work and its mission. I love my department and all its outstanding people. But currently it’s a grind. Add to that the discernment I’m going through related to my personal ministry, as noted a couple weeks ago.
I’m reminded that this too will pass. One of my teammates just stated that “it’s a season”. Among the dozens of quotes I remember from my Dad, one of my favorites is, “nothing is ever as good as it seems and nothing is ever as bad as it seems”. All of these resonate with me. So does the stuff I’m constantly preaching, although not always easy to apply (or see) when you’re in the middle of the storm.
A friend asked me what I think the Lord is trying to show me (teach me) in the moment? He suggested that I take it to prayer. Ha!!…go figure. You’ve seen me write about the “attitude of gratitude”, indicating that everything happens for a reason:
- For a greater good
- For the opportunity to glorify God
- To help us be our best
Not always easy to appreciate in the moment, I believe it to be absolutely true. As such, I need to ask what God is trying to show me? How is this experience going to help me in the long run? What skills is He wanting me to develop? What is the greater good? How will He be glorified through this experience?
I also talk about humility, understanding that it’s not us, but God working through us. There’s an old saying that is attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola, “pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.” Many think the phrase captures the Ignatian spirit: turning it all over to God in prayer and then working tirelessly and urgently to do God’s work.
Both of the above (gratitude and humility) relate to surrender…giving it all over to God and following His will for your life. As noted in previous blogs, my experience is that our willingness to surrender is dependent on trust…trusting our Lord, trusting is His absolute and unconditional love for us, knowing and internalizing that He put us on this earth for a specific purpose, with special and unique talents. Trusting that He wants the absolute best for us and knows (more than we know) what will make us happy.
I refer to all of this as the Path to Peace…Surrender, Gratitude, Humility, and Love. Although I wrote a book and talk about it often, I still need reminded. Not new concepts, the best ways are prayer, the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist in the Mass and Confession, and fellowship. I need to double down on all three…which I’m doing.
I don’t do this often, but please pray for me and my teammates during this time, as we try to rebuild our conference ministry. If you feel so called, please come and/or bring your kids. Steubenville Conferences are absolutely life changing and I’m not overstating that.
I’ll pray for you during this Advent season. As we prepare for Baby Jesus, our Lord and Savior, let us recall our faith, in good times and bad, knowing how much God loves us…and always remembering what great things God wants for each and every one of us.
As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!