Hey everyone! So, I’m currently in Rome but before that I was at this crazy random Catholic Young Adult festival in the middle of nowhere England called Walsingham. How did I end up there you may ask? Well, my friend asked me if I wanted to go and I figured – why not! It’d be an adventure like no other. Pulling up to this festival, to say I was skeptical was an understatement. Immediately, I felt myself full of pride thinking I knew everything when it came to Catholic conferences and this one couldn’t be as good as the ones I’ve been to. I was thinking, maybe Jesus just had me here to make friends and to be a witness of the faith…
Holy heck Jesus could not have humbled me more. At this conference, not only did I meet people who were pursuing the most beautiful and free lives with Christ that I only dream of obtaining, but also Jesus revealed so so many weak points in my faith. He called me out in my doubt and my sloth and my pride and made me really look at who He wants me to be.
How did He do this? Well, first He entered into my anxiety – an anxiety that stems from perfectionism and the need for control – and said, “Lizzy, this conference and this entire semester is not going to go according to plan… will you trust Me, My goodness, through it all?”
How do you say no to that? See, I’ve never considered myself an anxious person and yet Jesus was pointing out – every time something goes remotely not according to my original plan I kind of have a mini melt down. Most of the time I pretend like it isn’t happening but I cannot deny the fact that every time something doesn’t go according to my plan I can’t help but question God’s ability to make things work out.
And I know for a fact that Jesus isn’t just saying this to me. To the girl holding onto her desire for perfectionism. To the girl who is freaking out that she doesn’t have her life planned out. To the girl who feels like all of her friends are getting married and you’re just stuck. This message is for you – “This life is not going to go according to you’re plan, will you trust Me, and My goodness, through it all?”
This life is not going to go according to you’re plan, will you trust Me, and My goodness, through it all?
Now onto my sloth, because for Jesus, doing anything halfway is never enough. Let me promise you this, when you give Jesus permission to enter in and heal your sinfulness He is going to go full steam ahead. So, be ready to have your whole world changed because He is never going to stop at one thing.
Jesus called me lazy. Not often you hear Him saying that. I looked at all these amazing people around me who are in a country that persecutes Christians way more than in America and their fortitude in their faith was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I met people dedicated to prayer every single day, who fasted from meat every Friday (not just in Lent), and who, despite having no community, continued to pursue an adventure with Christ. Jesus pointed to these people and said, “Lizzy, I’ve given you community. I’ve given you a family on fire for Christ. I’ve given you everything and yet still you choose to spend your time elsewhere instead of dedicated to me.”What did He mean by this? I’m really really bad at praying every single day. Of dedicating time, each morning, even just 20 minutes, to our good good Father. I hear Him every single day saying, talk to me, sit with me, choose to sit in silence today and yet I continue to spend my time sleeping in, on my phone, or watching TV. I tell myself I just, “need a break” and yet I do it every single day.
What do my anxiety and my sloth problems have in common? The virtue of fortitude is the cure. What is the virtue of Fortitude? “Fortitude is the virtue that allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles” Steady… not a word many people would use to describe me. My anxiety stems from fear – a fear of letting people down, of not being good enough, or being too much. Jesus is calling me to a steadiness in the knowledge of my identity as His Beloved. He is calling me to trust in His goodness and His providence to provide in all things and to be steadfast in my belief no matter what. He is calling me to pray even when I don’t feel it and to step off this emotional and spiritual roller coaster that has me in a different place spiritually every other hour.
Just talk to Me every morning and I will help with the rest
Now I’m at this point of asking Jesus, okay, now how do I obtain this virtue of fortitude? His answer, “Start with something small. Make yourself pray every single morning, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Work on fortitude just in your prayer and I will give you the steadiness, the trust, and the healing you need. Just talk to Me every morning and I will help with the rest”
That is my challenge for all of you this week – work on fortitude in your prayer. If you’re like me and struggle to wake up every morning in prayer then make the conscious decision to go to sleep earlier every night this week so you can get up and pray. I promise you, you will notice a difference. The anxiety will start to fade, the sadness will turn to joy, the suffering will subside at the foot of the Cross. You can’t go to Jesus every single morning and remain unchanged. And if you need help or have a victory story from this week of prayer please reach out to me! I’d love to share in the victory of Christ with you. And hey! If you’re ever in England at the end of August… I highly recommend checking out the Walsingham Youth 2000 Conference next summer. I know I’m going to try to be there again.