Reminiscing

Many of us enjoy reminiscing on past events and certain periods of life.  Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot more.  Places I’ve been and people I’ve been with.  Wondering how differently things would have turned out if I had made better decisions or invested more in some friendships.

It’s crazy to think of where we’ve been and where we are now.  Reconnecting with old friends/classmates makes that contrast even more impressive.  Although I am not proud of every decision I’ve made in life, I do consider myself very blessed with the life I have today.  I am blessed with a beautiful wife and beautiful daughters, I am building a successful career, writing books that I hope to publish (sooner or later), enjoying the support of amazing family and friends, etc.

Can I say that this is all due to my decisions in life?  No way.  I’ve made decisions that drove me further from my goals.  What I am learning from all this is that no matter the nature or number of our mistakes/sins, God’s Goodness can never be outdone.

Any time you feel regret, shame, or guilt, simply admit it to yourself.  Then count your blessings.  Literally.  Look at all the great people you’ve been blessed with during those difficult times, all the great turns of events that helped you along.  See all the good that could not have come about otherwise.  It doesn’t justify our bad decisions, but it shows that we’re being looked after by someone or Someone.  Life isn’t as lonely as we may think it is.

Next time you see someone in a difficult situation, be there.  You may not be able to fix the situation, but you can be present to help that person pull through the current challenges.

Be a light to your world today!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/58782227@N00/2250359151″>Day 39</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Be What You Should Be

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze” – Catherine of Siena

This line penned by Catherine of Siena is breathtaking.  The possibilities seem endless.  It’s a promise that nothing in this world should come between us and making this world a better place.

We have to ask ourselves, then, what it is we should be.  In the words of speaker and author, Matthew Kelly, it is to be the best version of ourselves.  We don’t need to deny our identity, we just need to become the best version of it.  If we could unleash our full potential, who knows what we’d be capable of doing.  And with God on our side, we’re be capable of doing anything.

Unfortunately, we all too easily get side-tracked by our fears, insecurities, and confusion.  Perhaps the issues are deeply rooted in childhood experiences or incidents.  Perhaps we put too much stock in what others say.  Whatever the sources of these, they are probably what’s keeping you from being the best version of yourself.

God’s given you every gift and talent you need to be an amazing person.  Take a moment to identify all those God-given qualities.  Courageously tap into your full potential and move forward hand-in-hand with God.  Then get ready to start seeing some change.  Some will respond positively to the change, some won’t.  That’s secondary and out of your control.  What matters is the good you’re bringing.

Be a light that sets your world ablaze!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33470929@N05/15893654768″>Fire (II)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

The Perfect Lie

There are many false beliefs we can latch on to.  Some of those beliefs are no more than little quirks, others have detrimental effects on our mental and/or physical health.  Of all the lies I’ve seen, one of the worst ones is perfectionism.  The idea that I have to achieve perfection in everything has left many in states of utter devastation.

Setting the bar at perfection can be a setup for failure.  We usually fall short of perfection.  If I value myself by the results of my endeavors, I’m building an unstable image of self-worth.  Underneath the setup for failure and unstable image, we often find underlying self-loathing or self-doubt.  Am I very critical of myself or self-depreciating?  If so, I may have been bit by the “perfect” lie.

Striving for perfection is actually a fundamental moral belief of Christianity.  When Christ invites us to be perfect as the Heavenly Father, he’s not trying to set us up for failure.  He’s giving us a direction.  Instead of settling for a mediocre life of doing the bare minimum to be considered a “good” Christian, he challenges us to embrace a life of virtue, to become more and more like him.  Even though we will never become as perfect as God, we’re invited to embrace Him, to love Him, to fight for Him… to treasure Him above all else.  We’re treasure hunters.  If God is the treasure of our hearts, then we will pursue Him and His Word every day of our life until our soul rests with Him eternally.

Be a light to your world today!

The Long and Winding Road

It’s a fact of life that most things don’t come easily.  Whatever you want, you have to fight for it.   Sometimes you have to wait for circumstances to align themselves.  If we were to plan a future for ourselves, we’d make our goals easier to achieve than they actually are.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a straight path to follow, bathed in sunshine with the sweet chirping of birds and the tamed wildlife to keep us company?  It would… but our road is long, winding, often laden with risks, fog, and other uncertainties.

Looking back at my life, I see the long and winding road I’ve had to take to get to where I am today.  Although I wouldn’t be thrilled to go through it all over again, I wouldn’t want to go back and take a different road.  It made me then man I’ve become.  It brought me the many blessings for which I am thankful to God.

I look at the present and at what is to come, and there are circumstances in my life that are truly annoying and inconvenient.  I would prefer that they be different, but I know that God will lead me to a better and happier life.  I am reminded of these words from the prophet Jeremiah:  “I have not lost sight of my plan for you, the Lord says, and it is your welfare I have in mind, not your undoing; for you, too, I have a destiny and a hope.” (Jr 29:11)

Be a light to your world today!

Walking Through Fog

Recently, I was talking with a friend who basically told me that he doesn’t take on challenges or endeavors that don’t come with a laid out plan.  He feels angry with God that he doesn’t find more purpose to his life.  Needless to say, he’s not happy with the way things are right now.

If there’s one thing that my 36 years of life have taught me so far, it’s that most things come without a laid out plan.  If it does, the plan usually changes along the way, so it doesn’t matter all that much in the end if you had a plan or not.

I’ve followed God down paths that didn’t always make sense to me (I could write a very long blog on that topic alone).  Did things turn out the way I thought they would?  Never.  In fact, my expectations were often surpassed.  Most of my life has been like walking through a fog.  I never see far ahead of me, and sometimes I get disoriented, but God’s always lead me on a good path, even though He didn’t give me many details as to what I should expect along the way or when I reached my destination.

If you’re afraid to take on a challenge or a project because you can’t figure out a plan, take the few steps you can see in front of you and see what’s revealed to you as you go.  You may be surprised by the doors that open up to you.

Be a light to your world today!

Honoring God

Honoring God is to give due respect to the Author of all there is.  It’s to acknowledge the omniscience of the One who knows absolutely everything there ever was, is, and will come to be.  It’s to bow down to the One whose Might knows no limit.  It’s to live a life of virtue worthy of a child of God.  Ultimately, it’s to open our arms to the One in whom our heart will find its eternal rest.

As we’ve witnessed in recent current events (most of us only virtually through the media, thank God), there are some who have a very different perception of what it means to honor Him.  They use God’s name to justify all sorts of abominations, convincing themselves that God (sometimes He goes by other names) will reward their violence with eternal bliss.  The deception couldn’t be greater.  Their actions are not honorable, they’re blasphemous.

One of the basic principles of morality is that you can’t use evil to obtain a good.  Morality is not determined by the end alone, and so the end does not justify the means.  On Judgment day, we will be judged according to the compassion of our hearts, and so all the evil we’ve committed deliberately, in action or in omission, will testify against us (cfr. Mt. 25:31-46).  The truly honorable heart is compassionate, patient, rational, lover of peace, model of integrity.

I invite you all, therefore, to pray for those poor blind deceived souls who chose a path of destruction in the name of God.

Be a light to your world today!