#13 Be Who You Are :-)
I wrote this on Tuesday and wasn’t sure if I was going to share it, but I felt that God wanted me to…it’s a bit of a witness, but someone out there will find it helpful…Love you all! ❤ *z*
I realized recently that I have grown spiritually and religiously so much since I was 14. Lately I’ve been trying to remember what it was like, what it felt like, how I acted, back when I was in youth group, where I felt the most in touch with my faith. I had developed from a timid freshman in high school to an outgoing senior, full of energy, and full of love for Christ. What I don’t think I realized then was that being involved in everything for God was awesome, but doing it for recognition and silently competing over who is involved the most, well that is something God doesn’t look too favorably on. But I went on my way and eventually left the comfort zone of high school and youth group and into the unknown. I dove into undergraduate life, signing up for retreats and every program, club, service trip that I could see. I made friends; I was excited, exuberant with His love and trying to do exactly what I did in high school, but as a college student–with totally different people, in totally different circumstances. I eventually hit a spot where I was suddenly not the same person I was in high school. I wasn’t picked for retreat teams, I wasn’t in leadership roles, and I acted differently. This frustrated me and made me question everything I had become. I thought I was so religious, but things had changed and I was starting to sink into a place I didn’t really want to be—sort of a spiritual rut. I still involved myself in everything and explored my spirituality and signed up for as many retreats as I had time for in order to stay connected and revive my faith. What I didn’t realize was that I kept trying to be who I used to be, getting nostalgic for the good ol’ days of high school youth group, longing to be that person again, when in reality, I should have been focusing on who I had become. Not all of me had become bad, just different. Jealousy overcame me though and overpowered my new spirituality and new relationship with God. I realize now, not being selected to be on a team was the best thing that could have happened to me because it humbled me. I stopped thinking I was more religious than someone else, more involved, better if you will…and just became…me. Somewhere in there I lost my way, but God guided me back to where I am now. Each time I strayed, He would lead me back and always open His arms to me. What I had taken for granted became a thing that nagged at me. I would tease my friend for the way she showed her love for God. It didn’t bother me; I just felt it was so…innocent? Naïve? Juvenile? I love her for it, but I also teased her about it. One day I stopped and realized though, I take everything for granted. What happened to that young girl who had a naïve, juvenile love for Christ? Had I really lost what I had been longing for? I started wanting what my friend had, to be at the place she was with God and experience what she was experiencing! I started getting upset, and worst of all, jealous. Jealousy hurts us more than we know and it took quite a bit to finally get me to figure out where I was going wrong. Instead of trying to be like her, I should have been trying to be a better version of me. So I started to reflect on it, understand and accept the way my religiosity and spirituality have been molded and formed to become the uniquely matured version of me. I realized
“I can’t be who I was; I can only be who I am.”
Tonight I had a thought when a fellow Catholic Young Adult commented that he wanted to be where we are. Afterwards, I thought
“you don’t want to be where I am; you want to be where you are, but deeper. It’s what we all want. You can never get too deep when it comes to Jesus.”
Besides, the “we” he was referring to was three different people, in three different places. We don’t have the same spirituality and we never will because it’s all shaped by experiences and we’ve all had different ones. In our spiritual journeys, it is so important to have others beside us to walk with, but individual spirituality and religiosity is also so important! We need to meet each other where we are, have patience that we may be in different places, and come together to offer our experiences and knowledge to each other. I mean, that’s essentially why I am so drawn to participating in this blog, we are all so different, with one tiny connection that is we were all at the same school, at the same time, for like two years. In that time, we met, became friends, and maybe attended mass together along with other things. The beauty of a collaboration is that each of our individuality shines through. While we may be thinking along similar lines sometimes, we each have our own unique way of sharing it with the world. The same is true of each and every individual out there. Don’t be afraid to share your gifts or experiences because it is what forms us, what brings us together, what leads to understanding, and what helps us grow.