That’s sort of how I’ve been feeling the last few months. Like a fraud. A failure. Lost. Disconnected. The very furthest from Holy a person can get. Not that I’ve ever really considered myself Holy in the first place.
I can give you lots of reasons (excuses) why I feel this way: Work is incredibly busy. The kids’ schedules are a nightmare. I’ve been dealing with some serious health issues lately. There have been just too many changes in our church lately to feel anything but the way I do. But do you want to know the truth? I got complacent and I quit. I quit trying. I quit making God a priority in my life. Sure, I still have been going to Mass each week and I still pray. And there are moments in the midst of everything where I still feel present with God, like he’s calling me back to attention. But most of the time? I’m just simply going through the motions. I’ve allowed myself to block out the grace that is available to me if I just let myself be open to Him.
I truly believe that one of the most powerful things about being Catholic is the Church Family I have around me. I am surrounded by people with great faith, knowledge, talent, and love. People that I can lean on and depend on and take strength from. But sometimes, instead of seeing all the blessings to be gained from them, I look at these same people and my insecurities flare up and I think: How could I ever live up to any of them? I’m not worthy to occupy the same space… Look at how well she can recall passages from the Bible… Look how openly and seamlessly he can pray in front of others… Look at that family, their kids are always so well behaved… Look at that couple, their marriage seems so perfect.
Doubt and insecurity are compelling weapons in the Devil’s arsenal. They drive you away from the safety and security of God’s light. James wrote “for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1: 6, 8). The Devil wants us unfocused and feeling cut off. That’s where evil can thrive.
I’m definitely no expert and will forever be full of triumphs and setbacks, but I have learned a few things. I have had to dig myself out of a pity party or two in my lifetime (or five or ten!). I often find myself so easily slipping backwards when I’m not paying attention to my spiritual life and well-being.
There’s no one solution. There’s no right or wrong answer. And for me, it is a continual battle that I fight between my weak human doubt and insecurity and my complete surrender, trust, and reliance on God. I mean, come on -- I am a Type A personality. You want me to ALWAYS give up control?! Are you crazy?!
And God’s answer will always be “YES! Give it all to me!” No matter how much I fight against it. “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future’” (Jer. 29:11).
WOW. Let that sink in. God has already planned for me to be happy and safe and hopeful. In His time. Although sometimes we question why we go through pain or grief or doubt or insecurity, we simply can’t see God’s bigger picture and plan for what He is doing in our lives. So, if God is planning the great future for me, why do I ever question that?
The Evil One’s weapons of doubt and insecurity. And if I know that, how do I keep the Evil One at bay?
SPEND TIME WITH GOD. Four words. Simple, right? The good news is that there are a million ways to accomplish this, as long as I am willing to make it a priority in my life.
If you know anything about me, you know that music is a huge part of my life. I’ve been involved in music ministry since I was young. I’ve grown up in my faith so much because of the messages I receive through music. You know how some people can flip open their Bible and find a perfect verse that fits the moment? That has never happened for me. But I can pull up one of my playlists, hit "shuffle," and many times the first song that I hear grabs me and makes me listen and usually fills my heart with a special message.
Since music has touched me at some of the highest and lowest points in my life, I wanted to share some with you. I have a mini-playlist that I have been listening to while writing all of this. Each of the songs carries answers for me and speaks of how I feel and what God is still willing to do for me. Here are just a few of the lyrics that speak to exactly how I’m feeling and what I need to do now:
At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged, knowing that someone somewhere could do a better job. For who am I to serve you? I really don’t deserve you. As I walk with you I’m learning what your grace really means. The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary. So instead of trying to repay you, I’m learning to simply obey you. (Grace by Laura Story)
Make me empty so I can be filled, cuz I’m still holding onto my will. I’m completed when you are with me. Make me empty. (Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets)
When you’re tired of fighting, chained by your control, there’s freedom in surrender. Lay it down and let it go. (Just Be Held by Casting Crowns)
It’s gonna take more than I have in me, but I’m not trusting in me. Cuz once again you call the most unable to show your vast ability. So if you’ll help me strive to be faithful not extraordinary, then I’ll be free to walk through doors wide open, opened by You. (Just Be by Lyndsey Taylor)
I’ve been holding on trying to take to control. What I really need is to let it go. And lift it up, lift it up, lift it up to You. Where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m goin’ to. Gonna open my hands and watch you move and lift it up, lift it up, lift it up to You. (Lift It Up by City Harbor)
I have enclosed links to the videos for each of these songs at the end of this blog for you to listen to the full songs if you’d like. That way, you might get another glimpse into how I’ve been feeling and what I think God wants me and anyone feeling lost or disconnected to know.
I was at mass recently and the priest said, “Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.” So, as I close this out, I want first to ask you for prayers for me. I think that prayers said for people without their knowledge is actually a truly powerful thing. So, please pray for my intentionality when it comes to God. Also, please pray that I will learn to stop comparing myself to anyone else because we are each fearfully and wonderfully made. I am exactly who God made me and that’s got to be enough.
I also want to offer up a prayer for anyone reading this:
Dear Lord, bless each of these readers. Let them know that if they ever find themselves feeling as if there is a distance between themselves and You, that You are always there working for their good, even when they can’t feel it. I pray that each of these people be blessed with your Grace. I also pray that they will each find within themselves that special calling You have for them. Help each of them embrace their talents that they will use to glorify You. Remind us all that we have been perfectly designed and assigned by God to be exactly what the people in our lives need us to be. I ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Grace by Laura Story
Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns
Just Be by Lyndsey Taylor
Lift It Up by City Harbor
AUTHOR: SARAH CLARK
I am a lifelong member of Corpus Christi Parish. I was baptized here, received my first communion, had my first reconciliation, had my dad’s funeral here, and Nick and I were married here. Both of our kids, Bennett (11) and Easton (5) were baptized here as well. Corpus Christi is another home to me. Nick and I will be celebrating 14 years of marriage this year. I work at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and have various administrative responsibilities as a nurse. Nick and I are involved in many aspects of Corpus Christi which, along with our kids, keeps us pretty busy.