I’ve never had much luck with keeping New Year’s resolutions. Actually, I stink at it.
So, for the past few years I haven’t really made any. That is until last year, when I decided to turn my resolutions towards the more spiritual. I mean, we all know I am never going to participate in a marathon, or make vegetable smoothies with any kind of regularity, so it seemed pretty common sense to go a bit deeper with them.
Last year’s resolution was simply to consider God more in my day-to-day actions.
What would God think of this decision?
What would Our Lord do in this situation?
I think you get the point. And I can’t claim to have done it perfectly, or even consistently…but I did it, throughout the entire year.
So, this year I decided to step it up a bit. This year my resolution, in addition to considering God, is to talk with Him.
Conversation with God.
But let’s take a step back first. Throughout my life, and even after becoming Catholic, I have experienced, in the past, almost an inability to talk to God. It felt a bit strange. Just not quite right.
Was He really listening to me? Perhaps He was too busy to deal with or care about my minuscule problems. And He can’t talk back with me? Or so I thought (more on that later).
And even when my faith-filled, common-sense self says, of course He is listening…I still have had doubts.
Conversely, I’ve always found myself more naturally inclined towards routine prayer. By that I mean saying my daily rosary, morning and evening prayers. Prayers that I say so often I have them completely memorized. Prayers that sometimes I don’t even remember saying because of how well I have them completely memorized.
Maybe you can relate?
I have always been fascinated when people have told me that they speak to God, either often, or in times of need. I hate to admit it, but I’ve almost been jealous of them. Why is this so easy for them? What are they doing that I’m not?
Well, my friends, it’s 2019 and I’m about to find out. Or die trying.
What I can say I’ve learned in the first few weeks of this year is that to converse with God, we must first form a closer friendship with Him. I’ve also learned that by simply thinking of God more often, He naturally becomes part of our life, making us more conscious of His presence within our soul.
Here’s an example for you: Alan versus patience.
I’ve always struggled with patience. When I want something, or am tasked with doing something, it has to be done right away. Well, it doesn’t, but my lower nature sure thinks it does. I have struggled with this…My. Entire. Life.
I mentioned in my last article that I recently bought a new home. And I love it. Except for the finished basement that can’t seem to contain itself, and leaks when there is a heavy rain happening. Which lately (and since I moved in) is often.
And last night it was happening again. So, before heading to bed I checked the basement, and there it was…a growing puddle forming in the corner of my basement.
My first thought: I’m so sick of it raining every day!
My second thought: I can’t even do anything about it until Spring, since I can’t check the underground drainage pipes until after the ground thaws.
My third thought: I can’t wait that long!
Then I thought, ok Alan, this is where I should be talking to God. Not just becoming upset and drawing conclusions, which may or may not be helpful.
So, I did just that. I went upstairs, sat down, and discussed the situation with God. And within minutes I was calm, rational, and even had a realization. I had done all that I could do. I hooked up a shop-vac to suck up the water, I determined the location of the problem, and I would keep an eye on it until Spring (when it rains), and then fix it.
And in my mind what was the Niagara Falls of leakage in my basement, was in reality just a small leak. Geesh, Alan. Can we say exaggeration?
But by talking to God — Who, by the way, is both my Friend and my Savior — He helped me to come to a calm, peaceful decision and trust in Him for the outcome.
And I realized that if I can simply take this step and focus more on God’s place in my day-to-day life, I can also find the peace of Christ in my soul. Because by having more and more conversations with God, I will get to know Him better, trust Him more and my worries and distractions will start to become small in His presence.
Wow, this is a New Year’s resolution that is taking hold. A resolution that is making me desire to be deeply transformed by God’s presence in my daily life. A desire to do His will more perfectly.
Oh, and back to my earlier thought of God not actually speaking back to me. I’m learning that His conversation goes well beyond actual words — God has many different ways to speak to us, including through our circumstances, which have us asking, “God, is there something you want to teach me through this?” And He answers this by giving us signs, through prayer, and through the Holy Spirit.
Five people can hear someone speak, but each person will walk away with a different reaction that applies directly to him. In some cases, the speaker never spoke “exactly” what the people say they “heard.” Many times, that may be the result of God’s Spirit speaking in a personal, deep “conversation” with us.
And remember, regardless of the way God chooses to reveal Himself or “speak” to you today, by living your life in His presence, and by sharing your thoughts, desires and essentially every activity with Him, throughout your day…you will learn to better recognize and follow Our Lord’s Will as it comes to you through the events and obstacles that shape your daily life.
If you’re already talking to God, learn to share with others how you do it, and what you have learned in His presence. And if you’re like me and just getting started…get to it! Keep going!
You’ll be glad you did.