Hi everyone! I am back – thank you so much for your patience this finals season. They went well and I’m ready to get back at it. First order of business: I chopped my hair off. No, it was not planned but, you know, I kind of like it so we shall see.
Secondly, Christmas break is here and with that comes being home with family and a total shift in routine. Coming home from college for long breaks like Christmas is always weird. You’re home for three weeks after living in a totally different world for 6 months and all the sudden you’ve got parents telling you what to do again, chores that didn’t exists, and you’re wondering whether or not three weeks is enough time to unpack. And on top of it all, it seems as if all those things about your personality that have grown up, matured and improved, seem to fall away as you fall back into your old habits – especially in our faith.At the beginning of the year I wrote an article about How to Stay Catholic in College, but then, once you get into that routine in college it’s hard to come home and break that routine. For me, I go from daily mass and rosaries, hours of personal prayer time, and friends who debate theology with me to barely being on time to mass on Sundays and setting alarms to wake up early to pray but then turning them off to sleep in.
Between wanting to spend every moment with friends and family who you’ve missed, catching up on sleep you definitely need, and lack of accountability our faith slowly gets placed on the backburner – and while it always frustrates us it’s so hard to change it
So, here are some basic tips that I’ve been using to keep the fervor at home:
- Make S.M.A.R.T Goals:
- SPECIFIC: Your goals for your Jesus time need to be specific. Maybe it be that you go to daily mass on Wednesdays and get up a little earlier on Mondays and Thursdays for 30 minutes of prayer time at 8:30. Just saying, “oh, I’m gonna pray more this week,” or “I’m gonna go to daily mass this week” will not keep you accountable to achieving your goal. Choose one thing to work on: saying a daily rosary, doing Lectio Devina with the daily readings, going to daily mass once a week, praying morning liturgy of the hours, or anything else you desire.
- MEASURABLE: Set specific time limits for yourself so you know how much time to set aside each day. Maybe it’s 30 min every other morning or right before you go to bed. Measurable is about making sure you can track your focus and feel excited about getting closer to your goal (aka Heaven haha) – Ask the questions: How much? How many? And, how will I know when it is accomplish?
- ACHIEVABLE: We’ve all tried to set the goal of getting up every day at 6:30 am to pray for 3 hours, and maybe you kept with it for a day or two – but let’s be real, you never keep with it. That’s because your goal needs to be realistic. Try just setting a time to get up at 8:30 and have 30 minutes of prayer time 3 times a week, and once you’ve got that down to a T, try making it a little more often or longer. Maybe you aren’t even at that point, set a goal of stopping to thank Jesus for something 3 times a day or choose one day of the week to attend daily mass. Don’t beat yourself up over impossible goals – you’re human.
- RELEVANT: This is about making sure your goal matters to you. Ask yourself: Is this goal applicable to my current situation? Is this goal going to help me in the long run? Does my goal match my efforts/needs? Is this the most important thing in my life? If the question is ‘yes’ then it matters enough to work at it.
- TIME-BOUND: I kind of spoke of this earlier but ask yourself: When will I give time to Him? What can I do each day to remember I am the daughter of a King? How can I glorify him today? When can I adjust my schedule to put Him first? Is He my top priority?
- Have an accountability partner:
- To be honest, I’m writing this post and I haven’t reached out to my best friend yet to ask her to be mine, but I will once I am finished this. Find a friend, specifically another girl, from school or from your church who you know is also running towards Christ and ask her to help you out. Tell each other your goals and really be intentional about keeping up with each other and asking each other how it is going. It is crazy how much an accountability partner keeps you on track and motivates you to stick with your goals.
- Be patient with yourself:
- This is the final, and most important, step. You are a human beings and God knew this when He created us. Sometimes we snooze our alarm one too many times and miss our prayer time that day – That is sooo okay. Sometimes we forget to be intentional in our gratitude – that is normal. God created us, and continuously loves us, faults and all and just seeing the effort we put in to loving Him brings Him so much joy. Don’t be afraid to tell your accountability partner that you slept in or that you forgot. Don’t be afraid to be human and truly let yourself rest this break… you deserve it!
Here on some sources to help you this break:
Blessed is She – sign up to get their daily reflections in your email
USCCB – you can sign up to get the daily readings in your email every day for lectio devina
Every Sacred Sunday – this mass journal is a total game changer
Spiritual reading – I’m currently reading “Wild and Free” and it is amazing
The Bible – I don’t think I need to explain this one haha
Ask a Saint – seems weird but ask a saint you are close with to help you out. It’s amazing how much it helps (I’ve asked Pier Giorgio & he always pulls through)