I have definitely had issues with Religion in the past few years. Though the events of the past four years, I have lost some of my faith in the religious community, which has caused me to go to church less and less. The only time I go is when I have my girls, and that’s because they are actively involved in our church. So this morning when I woke up, I thought it would be like any other Sunday that I don’t have my girls. But then I started thinking… I should just go. Even though my own church has become somewhat stagnant to me lately, maybe God would have a message for me. So I did the uncharacteristic thing and I went.
As I sat listening to the readings for the day I couldn’t help but see the irony of how these message related to me on a personal level. The first was from Acts 1:6-14. The disciples asked Jesus if this was the time when God would restore the Kingdom to Israel and allow freedom to the Jews from the Romans. Jesus responds to the disciples saying that, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Jedua and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 7-8)
Hadn’t I been asking myself (and everyone else with in a five foot vicinity of me) when God was going to let me follow my passion and allow me to simply teach? Yet this reading was speaking to me telling me it’s not for me to question or choose the time-table, but God’s choice.
The Litanist then read an explanation to the second reading in which she stated that it’s not looking to others for affirmation, but looking to God for praise. 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised by the ordeals that will be thrown at us because of our faith, but we should rejoice because Christ shares in our suffering and he will exalt us in his own time. We are all struggling against our own trials, but we should have faith that Christ will “restore, support, strengthen and establish” us.
Hmm, hadn’t I also been beating my up because I didn’t get the verbal feedback I so desperately needed from others, and felt less of myself because of this? And all of this time I should have been relying on God to strengthen me instead of others. That is a difficult lesson for us to master.
In the Gospel, John 17:1-11, Jesus gives his last great discourse to the Holy Father, praying for his disciples, asking that they receive God’s protection and love as he had given it to Jesus, and the unity of the church. Pastor spoke about the unity of us all in the Holy Spirit and that we are united in Christ, despite creed, religion, or religions politics. That is the basis of the Apostles Creed, that we believe in “one holy catholic and apostolic church”. Because of the sacrament of Baptism we are one in the body of Christ.
This lead me onto another train of thought that led me to a realization, one that I already knew, but was dormant in my mind. I had lost track of it. The realization was this: The relationship we have with God is not about the action of others, but about our own actions, how we do his will and act on his behalf. Our relationship is with God and how we do his will, not how others treat us.
This was a big revelation to me, being a person who dwells on the actions of others toward myself. If I’m honest, brutally so, I would have to say I have always been a “woe-is-me” person. It’s always about what happens to me or what others have done to me. It is one of my greatest weaknesses and the one I hate the most about myself. I am an excuse maker. I have even gone so far as to see how long I can go without making an excuse as to why something that has happened was not my fault; and let me tell you, being a human, that is an extremely hard thing to do.
In regards to me wanting to be a teacher and working in a school, I have this truth to reconcile: It’s not where God puts me, but how I do his will where I am. Hence, it doesn’t matter if I’m in a school, office, on the street, my own home, or my parent’s home, it’s about how I act towards others in the name of God, not the other way around.
Wow, that huge. As a simple human being, that is a hard fact to understand and learn to do.
What I have learned from this:
I need to work with God has given me and be in the places he has put me doing his will. I need to look to him for comfort and validation and not put all of my hopes and dreams into the value from others. This will take work, I know, but hopefully these revelations will stick with me and I can be thankful for the blessings God has given me.