The year to get fit, lose weight, eat better, drink more water and eat less sweets. And/ Or was it the year to pray more, say a daily rosary, go to adoration more, and attend a weekday mass. Maybe you threw in being nicer to people, more tolerant, more merciful, or maybe more volunteering to those in need. So, what are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018… and more importantly, how’s it going so far?
After 4 days into the new year, I can tell you that somehow all my resolutions have been burnt to the ground! As soon as my feet hit the ground on Tuesday (1/2), which for me was the first work day of 2018, I got hit by several “not-so-nice” emails from work followed by an onslaught of crap I don’t really want to get into. It took a good 10 minutes that morning to convince myself not to turn off my phone and crawl back into bed. During that 10-minute internal debate I wondered, “Is this how my 2018 is going to be?”
I Need a Safe Space
As the week went on, I started to feel dejected in my efforts and a little ticked at God for what I felt was like a swift (and repeated) kick to the gut. Until this morning! It started with remembering something a friend once told me. “If you pray for patience, God is going to give you things to build your tolerance to be patient.” Over the past several years, since I heard that comment, I’ve come to realize that I don’t care if it’s God helping me build my tolerance or the Devil testing my resolve. What matters is how I conquer these obstacles, because they will define who I am and what I stand for.
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” -Ephesians 6
As I reflect on this short window of time called 2018, I realize I have two choices moving forward. I can either cry about how hard my life is and retreat to a safe space… or I can realize my armor is not meant to put in a trophy case, but worn every day as I battle the darkness.
A Call to Arms
God built us in His image. We are made to endure the pain and suffering. We CAN turn the other cheek or choose a higher road. It won’t be easy and in fact, in some cases, it’s gonna be hard as hell. But if you’re reading this and you’ve had a tough stretch, whether it’s been this week or the entire holiday season, take a moment and remind yourself that you’re still here! You may have taken a beating and feel worn down, but you have not lost. I could even say, to a certain degree, you are actually winning the battle. Why? Because you have not stopped trying. You’re reading this blog, which means you are still seeking His guidance. In fact, you probably at this point have more in common with the saints than the people blissfully twirling through life. Embrace the pain and remember the second part of what Paul told the Ephesians:
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” -Ephesians 6