New Year’s Resolutions – pretty sure I gave up on those a while ago. I tried out the whole gym thing. I was good for about 2 months. I tried out no gossip. Let’s be real, as much as I wanted to, I totally failed. I tried the “be more confident” thing. Well, let’s just say my confidence did not come from this resolution in seventh grade. I’ve kind of seen them as a joke for so long that I didn’t realize how life-changing they can be.
This year was one of the happiest and most blessed years of my life. I have developed one of the most beautiful and holy and fruitful friend groups ever, I hiked the Camino, I’ve traveled all over, I got my dream internship, I’ve seen my relationship with God grow closer than ever before, and I’ve got a family that loves me so flippen much! I am truly, truly, blessed. But what I also found a lot this year was this feeling of being stuck in prayer. I struggled so much to concentrate and when I finally did a lot of the time all I could pray about was apologizing for not praying as much as I should be.
I have been so stressed about making sure I’m the perfect servant and daughter of God that I wasn’t living in the freedom my faith offers me.
I was at my family Christmas party this year, and I love my family to death, but there is so much that my cousins and I disagree on. I was talking to them about my faith and they didn’t really understand and, heck, I understand why they thought I was crazy when I said I think about Jesus all the time. At first it kind of hurt, but the more I reflected on what my cousin was telling me, the more I recognized the wisdom in what she was trying to tell me – I have been so stressed about making sure I’m the perfect servant and daughter of God that I wasn’t living in the freedom my faith offers me.What do I mean by that? I spent all my time this year apologizing for not praying in prayer and trying to focus that I never just sat and soaked up the love and mercy of my Father. I became so nervous to go to events where I was the “token” Catholic because I wanted to appear to be the perfect and happy Catholic so that everyone would want to know my God. For a very split second, my eyes lost sight of heaven. But the Lord called me back so completely into His heart and His freedom over this break, strengthening my trust in His mercy, and proving to me that He is a faithful God of miracles. Podcasts and books and homilies and preachers kept bringing up the same thing – we were made to live in freedom, with our ultimate end goal as heaven.
The Lord called me back so completely into His heart and His freedom over this break, strengthening my trust in His mercy, and proving to me that He is a faithful God of miracles.
So, this New Year’s I am making a resolution: Just get to heaven. How am I going to do that? Firstly, I’m going to live in the freedom my faith gives me. Does that mean I’m going to drop the rules of the Catholic Church and just do whatever I want? Absolutely not. The Catholic Church and the traditions it upholds are what bring me true freedom. I’m going to stop apologizing and believe in the mercy of my Father (as much as I can). I’m going to trust Him with everything in me and keep my eyes focused on heaven. This New Year’s I’m making a resolution to focus on my soul first so that it can better reflect God’s.
Maybe you don’t struggle with the kind of things I talked about. Maybe your prayer life is on a roll and you’ve got your eyes focused on heaven but there is something else on your heart. Maybe it’s an addiction, anxiety, an unhealthy relationship. Give it to God this New Years. Make a resolution that focuses on growing your personal relationship with Christ. You can say you’re going to read the whole bible this year or say a rosary every single day, and maybe you will, but also know that there is a good chance that you’re going to forget at least once – don’t let guilt and unrealistic expectations stop you from living in freedom. Don’t be worried about making yourself perfect this year, because I can guarantee you it’s not going to happen. To God you are enough, you are His, and you are perfect. Let the distractions fade away and keep your eyes focused on heaven. We’ve got a God of miracles and I know He has crazy plans for 2018.