My New Year’s Resolution was to strengthen my relationship with God and to explore my faith a little deeper. Growing up Catholic, I knew about the Original Sin, and the Lord’s Prayer, and Confession, but I never quite understood why we do those things, or how God instructs me to live my life. So, in order to accomplish my goal, I have been attending church, joined a Bible study, and have been interviewing people I know who are strong in their faith. Here are my recent revelations:
1. Reading Signs: My high school dance team focused our success on ‘signs’. We would run around, saying, “IT’S A SIGN!” If the sunrise was pink the morning of state, we were probably winning. If we heard our song in the grocery store, we were probably winning. If we saw #44, we were winning. As I got older, I chalked this up to be just us being superstitious and trying to find anything we possibly could to grapple our confidence onto. I recently joined a Bible study in which we are reading “The Good and the Beautiful God”. Part of the reason I joined was because I wanted to learn how to recognize God’s signs and how He is trying to work through me. Being an analytical thinker, I always ask myself, “Is this a sign, or am I just overreacting?” So, I asked a few people how they know God is speaking to them. One person said, “Well, I know it is not just a coincidence because I feel constantly bombarded and this nagging voice in my head that I can’t get rid of until I complete the task”. Another person said, “I can tell it’s God when I find myself arguing with the voice. If I am trying to talk myself out of it, it is probably someone else trying to persuade me to do something”.
So, I decided to take some time and try to recognize these ‘signs’ in my own life. Two things came out of it. One is a secret I can’t divulge yet. Another told me that I had to contact a particular person. I ignored the nagging voice for about a month, and for some reason, everywhere I went, ‘the signs’ just kept popping up. The more I argued with myself, the worse it got. I would turn on the radio and a song would come on that reminded me of this person. And then, the next song and the next. I would meet someone that looked like this person, had the same name. I even got cut off and almost caused an accident one day by someone who drove the same kind of car. And, no matter how hard I tried to ignore the feeling, it kept intensifying, until I literally was feeling nauseous and couldn’t eat. So, I contacted this person and the feeling immediately went away. I can’t really tell you why I was supposed to contact this person–I have a few theories–but I believe that someday, it will be revealed to me why this action was so necessary.
2. God has to consider many different factors: I am not sure if it is because I grew up Catholic or what, but I always had this ‘false narrative’ that God was in control of everything in the world, which kind of made it difficult for me to believe in God’s presence; that if He made someone’s nose snotty in church, there was a reason for that. If He caused a car accident, there was some larger purpose. If He ignored my prayers, it was because I did something wrong. However, I don’t necessarily believe this anymore. When I think about ALL of the factors and ALL of the people God must take care of, I am not sure some of those minute details are things God wants to control. Of course, the big things, yes. But the smaller things–the rate at which my windshield defrosts, the amount of rhinestones that fall off my uniform tops, the temperature of which my frozen pizza burns at–are probably not God-directly-controlled things. That is why He created nature–to take care of those other things so that He can take care of us.
In terms of relationships, I think God has to factor in both people’s lives and plans. I remember having a conversation with someone who told me, “I prayed a lot about this and don’t think we should date”, and I rebuttled, “Oh well I prayed about it too and that is NOT the conclusion I heard-I heard that we should totally be together”. I struggled with these contradictory messages: How could God be sending up two completely different, contradictory messages? I heard one thing, and he heard something completely different. However, in retrospect, I think I needed to hear God’s message that we should date for one reason, and I think this person needed to hear the message that we shouldn’t date for another reason. When you think about timing two people’s lives, God must be very conscientious and strategic with His moves, and it is actually a very difficult move.
3. You just gotta have faith: Something I have been particularly working on is my patience. I don’t have much of it, it turns out. However, I constantly remind myself that God has a plan for me, and I just have to wait for that to play itself out. Perhaps right now is not the time for me to have a boyfriend. Perhaps now is not the time for me to hear from a literary agent. Perhaps now is not the time for me to learn to cook. But, perhaps will be in the future. Right now, I am supposed to be coaching my dance team, I am supposed to be in grad school, I am supposed to be doing my Bible study. And, when those other things are supposed to happen, they will. I just gotta have faith, and be patient.
4.God presents choices: I am always envious of those people who marry their first boyfriends, who get a job offer from the first place they interview, or sign with an agent without any effort. Um, as God presents to me over and over again, I will never be that kind of person. I will never marry the first and only person I date. I will be rejected from at least five jobs before I get offered one. And, who knows if I will ever sign a contract. However, what my mom pointed out is that God presents choices and options in order to teach us and to test our faith. The first agent I query probably is not going to pick me up, but perhaps I will be presented with another one later on, and that there is a lesson about preserverance and commitment to self there. I will probably get rejected from ten jobs, and then have to suddenly make the tough decision between two, because God is testing my faith, and my trust in myself. And, as we all know, there are plenty of reasons why I am not supposed to marry the first guy I dated.
While I know I have a plethora of topics to continue exploring about my own faith and views of religion, I am resonating in the fact that it is a long journey that perhaps will never be complete.