#09 Be Not Afraid

This past weekend I went to visit a friend at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.  Another friend and I road tripped out there and we had an amazing time.  Although I’ve now been there four times, I have had completely different experiences each time.  I realized, as I was there, that the last time I was visiting I was in such a different place in my relationship with God.  I mean, for a time I had been really lost, searching for where I used to be, so close to God, but not willing to change who I was.  I had gradually fallen away from the (is it possible to be overly religious?) girl I was in high school, into a college graduate, faced by the realities of social pressures and religious disconnect.  As much as I denied it (my sister would say “oh, she’s not religious anymore” and I would become angry), I think I knew deep down in my heart that I had stepped away from Jesus and couldn’t find my way back.  The funny thing about being lost in your religious relationship is that the best way to get back is through prayer, but when you’re lost, you rarely think about that…So I was that way last fall, wandering around aimlessly, unsure of where to turn, being pulled in so many different directions, trying to fill my heart with all different things that weren’t really God.  While I can’t exactly pinpoint where I went wrong, there was a point where enough was enough!  Joining the young adult ministry in my diocese has really helped bring me back to Him.  If it wasn’t for that, I may still be searching for my way home.  I’ve realized (from experience) that having support of a group of people wanting the same things really helps with my faith life.  I have my best friends, but we don’t always see each other, or hold each other accountable as much as we should.  Being a part of something bigger than me began to inspire me to get excited about my faith; and while I may not be the same as I was in high school, I have found my place now (my sister now says “what, you’re really religious again?”).  THIS TIME when I went to the Festival of Praise (FOP) at Franciscan, I felt closer to God.  Instead of wishing something more could happen and that I could open myself up to Him the way I did in high school I experienced God in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Without getting into it too much, what I felt was both stranger and more exciting than any of my other experiences.  Not to say that one gift of the Holy Spirit is better than another, but it freaked me out a little more than the one in high school.  I felt that closeness and that God was reaching out to me, assuring me that He was still there, waiting for me, waiting for this moment so that He could reclaim me as His.  The verse that spoke to me (and a few others, I found out afterward) was “Be not afraid”.  I needed to stop being so scared and just fully allow myself to be His.  I’ve always meant to put my self and my choices in His hands, but there are times when I fall short (okay, a LOT of times).  I bought a book over the weekend about Ignatian decision making/discernment (How can a girl of Jesuit education pass by an Ignatian book in a Franciscan bookstore?  She can’t…) and I plan on deepening my faith by practicing discernment in decision making.  There were a few different Ignatian books like this but I chose the discernment one because (hello!) I am one of the worst descion makers EVER!  So I thought, hey, why not see how to know what God wants me to do, and not what I want me to do (as if I could ever really figure that one out)!  I already discerned that I will be graduating this fall from grad school instead of waiting until the spring (a small one, I know, but something that has been weighing on my heart for a while and, hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?) and I am still praying on where I will be called to go, but I think it will be a small Catholic college in campus ministry.  Not sure where He’ll take me though.  Guess I’ll keep praying!  I’m praying for all y’all too!!  Love you guys 🙂

God Bless,

*Zoey*

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About Juli

I received my B.S. in Counseling and Human Services and a minor in Theology and Religious Studies and my M.A. in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education. Through a strange twist of fate, I ended up in the Human Resources field and at a company that I really love. I'm not much of a writer because I tend to write how I talk and when I tell stories I tend to ramble and tell way too many details. I love writing though because it's fun to get all my thoughts down. I also love drawing, I love photos, and anything artistic really.

Posted on March 8, 2012, in Lent. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Zoey, this is really random, but when I read that comment my mind swapped the word “sacred” for the word “scared”; and I think that’s what we have to do along our journey, swap that scared-ness for sacredness instead.

    PS. I’m aware that I kind of sound like a pot-head, but I’m not, so whatever! ;P

  2. haha no, that makes sense! And of course the same letters make it confusing…for a second I thought you meant I wrote the wrong word…but I totally agree, let’s stop being so frightened to have a relationship with our Lord and make it a sacred experience!
    ❤ *z*

  3. Still struggle with decision making myself, as you may know, and fear as well. It’s true that prayer helps bring us closer to God, and knowing theres still a ways to go for me, it’s nice knowing other’s have had such successes in their journey. great post, inspiring

  4. Matt,
    God gives us difficult decisions so that we will come to Him. Offer it up to Him as best you can and He may surprise you with His answer. Also know that no journey is ever over and there are always going to be struggles, otherwise we wouldn’t need our Father to turn to and, of course, we do need Him 🙂
    ❤ *z*

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