One of my greatest struggles in 2016 was my lack of humility. It was not so much lacking humility in the sense that I was bragging constantly (at least, I didn't think I was?...), but humility in the sense that I wasn't letting God do His work. I was too prideful and definitely not humble. And in reflection, I feel that this was the root cause of my anxiety.
So from this year on, I really need to enjoy a slice of humble pie and drink up the spiritual coffee.
This concept came to me when I went with my friend Emma to this lovely place called Gabi and Jules in Port Moody. They bake and serve delicious homemade pies in-house, and having missed all the delicious holiday baking due to being incredibly sick, I was really craving something warm and yummy. So in the rain, Emma and I trekked out to Port Moody in search of this delicious pie and coffee combo.
As we caught up after a month of having not seen each other, I almost laughed to myself at how life - and God - had served me this humble pie. I knew that I was craving something - a key to understanding my anxiety, a roadmap that would take me beyond all my incessant worrying, and a GPS for a future that I could tolerate. I was so set on making sure that everything worked for me that I forgot about the plans that God has for me.
What Rise Up showed to me in many ways was my need for humility. I have always been a very future oriented person as well as one that spends way too much time agonizing about the past. When things don't go my way, I tend to become very distressed and upset, with last year showing me how bad it could really get. A couple of things stand out to me:
Rise Up was destined for me. In the week leading up to Rise Up I was scared. I had signed up for something that I wasn't sure that I could do, and I was looking for any way out of it. But trying to get away from it all left me feeling unsettled, whereas once I was in it, I was in it. I felt a sense of calm and belonging that I had never felt in other Catholic settings.
This was where I was meant to be.Vocation is not a me thing, it's a WE thing. I said that I was a future oriented person, and when I say that, I do mean planning ahead to the future family home, how many kids I would have, their genders and their full names. All I was missing was the husband. But this had always been my perception of my future, one that I didn't consult God about. But going to a vocation talk and talking with many members of the religious community showed me that there was more to it than just talking about it in my own head.
I realized that the relationship that many of these people had with God was full and working together with Him, and not against Him. I still have yet to figure out my vocation and spend time discerning, but I realize now that being humble and letting Him work is the best way to find out what He wants me to do.The Litany of Humility. I had spent the week also talking to many priests and seeking advice, and one of them had passed along this prayer. When I first read it, I felt confused and almost offended. Accepting the grace to allow others to be chosen over me? Denying myself of people coming to me for advice? But then I realized that this was the whole point. This isn't about me, it's about helping others to become the best version of themselves by serving them.
And in that process, when I serve others I become the best version of myself. This is what led me to tack on another part to my new year's resolution, that I hope to be more present and readily available to serve others when they need help.
In just a few short weeks, being humble has truly enabled to let go and let God. I have surrendered my life and my whole being to Him, allowing Him to take charge and show me where He wants me to go. Because in the same way that He did with Rise Up, deviating off the path will not make me happy. God is happiness, and He wants us to be happy.
With that said, I knew that a few things needed to change. For one, my prayer life needed to actually be alive, because for many years it had been dead. My prayers consisted of weekly family rosary, prayers before meals, and those desperate cries to the Lord ahead of submitting a huge assignment or studying for an exam. But my conversations with Him needed to be more than that.
Recently someone had equated our prayer life with God as something that we should always look forward to, in the same way that we look forward to catching up with a friend.
Drawing on the example of catching up with Emma after a month apart, I was so excited about it. I had it in my calendar, we touched base two weeks before, then a week, and every day leading up to it, and when the day came, I was overjoyed that I could see her again. My excitement to talk to God, to catch up with Him after a long day, should be the same - and if not more.
I also need to take seriously the sacraments as well as go to adoration more so that I can be with Christ, discern in His presence and also be with other people of the faith. Spending time with the CCO family, for example, has been a blessing that has allowed me to grow my faith as well as help others grow in their own.
I am optimistic about this year and the future that is to come. But while I have gotten to this point of trust and total surrender, I also have to remember to enjoy what is in front of me. God has led me to this point in my life, this beautiful mountain top, so that I can appreciate my hard work and what He has done for me. I need to be more present with others around me and savour the taste of trusting in God. Because when you really are present with anything, it becomes so much more enjoyable.