I awoke the other morning with these six words clearly in my head—“It’s your lesson. Don’t fight it.” As I made my way to coffee and my morning spot, I felt a sense of peace come over me, knowing that God was in this, lovingly in charge. God is in our present waiting for us there. Before I share more of my present moment, let me give a brief backdrop of my year up to this point.
At the dawn of each new year, I ask God for a word or a theme for the upcoming year. This year I felt God say, “Holiness”. I sensed that I had a longing for this but wasn’t sure what the word meant for me. Paying attention to what I had been reading gave me some clues. Here are some thoughts I have written in my journal so far this year. I write them as if God were talking to me.
Pay attention. Be grateful. Live aware.
Linger over your life. Ponder the precious things.
Be all I created you to be–that’s holiness.
And from Holy Scripture: “He [God] must grow greater, I must grow less.” (John 3:30)
As I write today, Dave and I are back visiting the Dominican Republic. The past two years, our visits have been deeply nourishing to our souls. Before we came, I prayed that I would be open to what God would have for us this year and not come with my own expectations. I’m grateful that God prompted me to pray that way because the first few weeks of this visit have been quite different from past years. Some family matters back home have required our attention so I’ve not been able to unplug the way I like to. And I have struggled with that a bit.
With this in mind I go back to those six words God gave to me the other morning: “It’s your lesson. Don’t fight it.” Once God gave me the gentle reminder that I am to live out well the life He gives me day by day, I was able to sense His presence and strength, and to go forward even with some excitement toward what lies ahead.
I first asked myself, “Can I do it differently this time?” When a familiar lesson comes back around, it is an opportunity to grow and be changed by the experience. That is so hopeful. An occasion to dig deeper with God if I linger with God rather than fight life as it presents itself.
As I was pondering, praying, and paying attention to my life, I read the following:
“We should always be willing to face our shortcomings with humility, courage, and hope. When we admit we have big problems, we can start looking for big solutions. We are not here to solve problems; the problems are here to solve us. We do not do things and solve problems merely to get them out of the way so that we can get on with life. Doing things and solving problems are very much a part of life, and every moment of life is an opportunity to become a-better-version-of-yourself. But we need to be conscious of this truth in order to reap the harvest of the moment. In every situation in my life, in every problem, every difficulty, I know that if I allow the values and principles of the Gospel to guide me, it will turn out for the best. It will not always turn out as I wish, but I will be a better person for having lived the Gospel in that situation, and because of that, my future will be richer.” **
There is much to think about and reflect upon in these words. They help me to accept the reality of my life, day by day. And they take me back to my theme for this year. I believe living this way is holy living. Living aware that there is always more going on than what meets the human eye. Attune to what is really Real. Remembering that God is in our present, waiting for us there. This type of holiness is attractive and contagious. It intrigues others, allures them, and can even change them. As I change, my community changes. That’s how God works.
While I will relish my idle time here, grateful for its value to my life, I pray I can also sink into the inevitable problems of life, viewing them as a path to holiness. Trusting that God delights in weakness that tries.
As I watch another gorgeous Dominican sunrise, I pray–
Lord, please help me to walk in my lesson today—my path to holiness.
**Rediscover Catholicism—A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose by Matthew Kelly