Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that my image of God has been screwed up for my entire life.
Yeah, MINE…and I’m the kid who grew up in a loving, Catholic home. I’m the high school classmate who grew up and went to a Catholic college and then got a job at a Catholic ministry.
So, how could this be?
As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I underwent a drawn-out move from one apartment to another over the last few months. That’s one reason it’s been quiet around here, lately. But the other, much more accurate, reason is this:
The paradox of self vs. others in the Christian life.
Jesus told his followers that he came “to serve, not to be served,” and that we must follow in his footsteps by serving others. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus tells us that we will be judged based on what we have done for others.
And yet, a Christian cannot be a Christian without an interior life, which requires making time for our own personal, private time of prayer. Even the Second Person of the Trinity (Jesus Christ) climbed a mountain to be alone with God. How can I convince others that God loves them, if I do not know that God loves me?
Intellectually, I have known throughout my life, “God loves me.” And God loves you. And God IS love. And God created everything out of love. etc., etc., etc.
The problem is that, during my biweekly counseling sessions with a Catholic therapist, I have come to discover that my intellectual knowledge and my emotional knowledge are often two, separate entities that fight with each other. While I have retained the intellectual knowledge that God loves me, I have not fully retained the belief that I am loved by God. Whoa.
Last Lent, as I read through the Scriptures, I became strongly convicted that God’s voice was telling me, “This has to stop.” Out of obedience to that conviction, I sought out counseling for my years-long battle with scrupulosity. Out of obedience, I sought out a confessor who could help me through the fight. I am still on the journey toward seeing God as my loving Father rather than my harsh and critical judge. Maybe the battle will last my entire life; only God knows.
I write this post wishing to express to you, my audience and friends, how difficult it has been for me to give up the time that I would otherwise spend pursuing projects to help Catholics work with media—including all the plans I had for Inspired Angela—and instead use that time to follow the guidance of my counselor, confessor, spiritual director and husband; spending that time in the Christian paradox of self for the sake of others.
For half my life, I have known that God was calling me to serve the Church by challenging it (in my own, small ways) to pursue excellence in new media and communication. Each of you, with whom I have had the pleasure to work and grow in friendship, have abundantly enriched my life. This calling become such a part of my identity; in how I view myself.
However, it seems that God has called others to that place, now. While I continue to work with Catholic media 40 hours a week, my other 128 seem to have another calling attached to them.
My closest friends and family know that I’ve always possessed an innate desire to fulfill my duty. Last night, my mom recalled a time when I, a kindergartener, was presented with gummy fruit snacks. I dutifully informed the offender that my dentist had told me not to eat them.
Now, it seems that the Heavenly Commander in Chief has re-assigned me to another battlefield. He has called me to dig deeper into my self so that his light can shine into all the dank and dark places. It seems that he is preparing me to more fully believe in, and embody, his love.
What will this mean for the blog? I don’t know. Maybe I will pop in here and there. Maybe I’ll be back after a few months, or a year. Last post, I was in a bit of denial. I wanted to believe that I can continue blogging here on a regular basis. I have so many ideas and plans. But ultimately, I have to go where duty calls.
As my friends say, “Let’s be saints!” The pilgrim adventure continues.