Monday, September 10, 2012

Reflections from my journal #1: My struggles with Lukewarmness (1)

Since I can not find the time and/or motivation to blog regularly and I need to share some of my late struggles with somebody, I will post some excerpts from my latest journal entries. Somehow I still cannot make the transition from journaling to blogging. I have been journaling since like 6th grade though, so it is really hard to quit writing in my journal and start posting blog posts instead. I am very, very jealous of some fellow bloggers who post religiously, every or every other day. I wish I could do that. It is one of my goals to start publishing at least one post per week. I have a lot of saved drafts that I began but did not finish. I will try to work on those in the upcoming days/weeks. Anyways, here is some writing from my journal over the past few days. It is mostly about my struggles with being lukewarm and indifferent in my relationship with God. I really needed to share this with somebody. Sorry for being brutally honest.

Today, as always, I have put prayer and reflection to the bottom of my list—to the very end of the day. I’ve been troubled all day, and I know that I Must really reflect and examine my conscience and my current weaknesses so that I can finally get up and keep making progress on my path to holiness..... Today, I decided that things must change! I must really start to focus on my inner self….I must really start reflecting upon my own personality, my flaws, my weaknesses, my habits. I must make that my priority! Doing the Will of the Lord is the sole purpose of my whole entire life, thus I must let myself be changed and molded by Him into a better, holier person. Today, I decided I must start doing some real penance for my sins and offenses against the Lord. I decided I must stop being indifferent, or in other words, LUKEWARM. That’s it! I finally figured out the right word to describe the state of my soul these past few weeks! Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling like crap very discouraged. But now I know what is wrong with me.  I am simply LUKEWARM in my daily life.  I do not show that I am madly in love with Him. I do not show that I deeply desire to follow Him all the days of my life and dedicate myself to Him completely. I’ve been neglecting my Christian duties—especially prayer, reflection, examination of conscience.  I have been LUKEWARM. And God sure does not like or appreciate lukewarm Christians. I’m pretty sure Jesus said that He’d rather be truly loved or truly hated, than being treated in a lukewarm way. That’s baaaaaaad. Now what do I do? Well, I need to stop being lukewarm! I need to decide to take up my cross and follow Him no matter what! I need to quit making other things take priority over spending time with my Lord. I need some self-discipline! School is starting in less than a week, so I really need to start thinking about what my routine will be once it starts. This second year of pharmacy school is supposed to be really tough. So, I need to figure out a plan to make GOD the center of my life—not just in general—but the center of EVERY SINGLE DAY. This quote that I read somewhere really helps me straighten out my priorities: "When Christ is at the center, everything else falls into place." I am pretty sure one of the Saints said this, just not sure which once. Also, in the bible (Matthew 6:33) it says: "But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Therefore, I now see the importance of placing God in the center of our lives. It makes sense, since He is the source of life and love. What are we without Him? 

Hopefully Lord, You will help me come up with a wise plan—one to which I can stick to, just like I did in lent. I know that it will probably not always be easy and it will require a lot of sacrifice and a lot of going against my own will…but with You I can achieve anything.

I love You, I thank You, I ask for forgiveness. I beg for forgiveness.
I ask for Your Help—especially for guidance and strength.
Guide me my shepherd, for I know not where I am going.Show me where to go and I shall follow You all the days of my life.

I’m still feeling empty and deprived of true life, but it’s because I really have been deprived of life. I am in a state of mortal sin and according to what I read about it today, my soul is in a state of death. It’s pretty scary when I think about the fact that the sanctifying grace of the Lord, and thus the lifeline of my soul, has been cut off by me choosing sin over love of God. And now I am still feeling like complete crap discouraged. I am in a real great need of confession, of reconciliation, of penance, of prayer. I’ve been feeling like this for a while now, because as I stated earlier this week, I have been very, very, very lukewarm with God. I have been “doing just enough to get by.” I have been saying my morning prayers every single day on my way to work, randomly thinking about God throughout the day, but not much else beyond that. Once again, I have been keeping God in the margins of my life. And it has been like that for the majority of the summer. My summer was supposed to be the opposite. I had goals of prayer and reflection and spiritual growth. Instead, I am now spiritually dead. I am wounded, weak, weary and in need of healing and redemption. I have been very busy working all summer (full-time 40 hour a week pharmacy internship with a 45 minute commute each way) as well as helping out with remodeling the house and I think the devil took advantage of it.  I have been coming from work…and by the time I eat, shower, clean up my room a bit, and sit on facebook for like an hour (ugh! another addiction I need to desperately get rid of!), I am already ready to pass out. Sometimes I go to our new house straight after work to help Greg out because the poor thing has been doing most of the work himself. And I come home at 10 or 11pm, only to shower and sleep, and do the same thing again tomorrow. 

 In the beginning of summer, I at least continued on with my goals from the spring. I was regularly praying the rosary on Wednesdays and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on Fridays, and also going to adoration pretty regularly on Thursdays. Lately, I have done NONE of these. Always too tired to pray at night and too lazy to go to adoration, because I have “other” things to do.  I just don’t have life in me. I cannot even bring myself to my knees. For the first time in I don’t know how many weeks, I have prayed the rosary yesterday. And I had to make myself do it. It seems like it is so hard for me to pray. I do not know why. It seems so dry. I am not drawn to prayer at all. It seems that I would almost have to force myself to kneel down or sit down and have a real conversation with God (one that is longer than 5 minutes).  Perhaps the Lord is putting me through a trial--through a period of spiritual dryness--for a reason? Perhaps Christ, the teacher, wants to teach me that the next step on my journey is to show Him that I can remain faithful in my duties even when I don’t feel like it.  Maybe He wanted to see how I would behave when I am tired, indifferent, and not drawn to Him. Perhaps He wants me to learn on my own skin (although I learned this in theory already) and solidify the lesson of “doing things on purpose.” After so many weeks of being miserable and simply unable to “FIND” myself in prayer or reflection mode, He wants me to see that I have to, on purpose, PUT myself into prayer mode. I have to CHOOSE the right thing, ON PURPOSE, even when I don’t feel like it.  He already knows my weaknesses, for He knows me better than I know myself. Thus, He did not put me through this so that He could “test me and see how I do,” (sine He already knows), but rather that I CAN SEE my own failures and thus discover the truth about my current strengths and weaknesses.  He wanted to open my eyes. I thought I was doing so good on my path to holiness, and the Lord showed me all of my shortcomings—showed me just how SHORT I fall of His Glory. I have been working hard, but what is the point of work if I do not use it to glorify the Lord? What is the point of every day if I do not dedicate it to God?  What makes sense without God? Certainly not life.  So, I need to figure out what happened, learn from it, and use that gained wisdom for the remainder of the journey. I trust that God makes all things new and turns all things, even bad things, into goodness and righteousness. Even though I hurt and disappointed my Lord, He is so merciful that not only will He forgive me my offenses, but He will also bring good out of the bad I have done. A single ray of His Mercy is bigger than all the sins of the world.

 By the way, don't feel sorry for me. I already went to confession and God renewed my drooping spirit and put new life in me-- I just needed to share my struggles.  I will post some more journal entries tomorrow along with an ending to this trial-and my new resolutions for Fall 2012.

Love, Agnes

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