This week God was laying a great urge upon my heart to SIMPLIFY, and while He was met with much resistance on my part, I'm finding this path to be much more satisfying than the way I was living before.
It all began with a simple episode of 17 Kids & Counting (now 19 Kids and Counting), where the Duggars discussed how they only watch around 7 hours of tv a month. A MONTH. I was floored. At first I thought, "how ridiculous, what else could they possibly do with their day?", and that thought/comment I made came as even more of a surprise than the fact that the Duggars only watch 7 hours of television per month. I was a little disgusted with myself. I also knew I had an "electronics problem", but it never really bothered me until this incident. God has given me this wonderful life so far and I spend countless hours a day on the computer, watching tv, listening to music (and not the type I should be listening to), etc. It was high time I needed to bring this lifestyle to a halting stop and start over.
I had so many ideas for blog posts, but they take a good chunk of time to create usually, and as soon as I logged onto blogger I felt this inner need to get off the computer. I obeyed this inner voice, but I was dumb-founded as to what to do next! It just showed how addicted I truly am to my electronics. So I decided to read. I used to loveeee reading, but I literally had no time to read during school, as my professors loaded me with work & reading of their own. Not to mention my "down time" was normally...you guessed it! Tv or computer time. So I read the Duggar's book straight through and picked up some great spiritual gems, especially on the subject of contentment. As much as I wish I could say I am content with my life, I haven't been in a while.
Being home for the summer gave me a flashback to last summer. I had been practicing modesty for a while by the time summer 2009 came around. I even had modest bathing suits (board shorts, tankinis that were paired with cover ups, etc). My dress was a reflection of the contentment I felt in my life and the happiness/ confidence I had in myself. Especially in body image-I had this motto that "no one has the right to see this frame of mine, not until I am married", and literally, all pressure was off to have the "perfect body"; a battle my friends were dealing with everyday, as it was bikini season.
I carried this modesty into college and even covered my hair for weeks. But as school went on, people remarked on why I always wear scarves, bandannas, hats, etc...I heard girls non-stop complain about their bodies...pressure to go to the gym as a group was intense...and slowly, I began to change inwardly. My confidence dropped and I hadn't even realized it. This inward transformation influenced my outward appearance as well. I was spending more time in the mirror before class, removing my scarves, and buying shorter everything-skirts, dresses, shorts, sleeve-less shirts. Things I was just never naturally was attracted to that summer.
I honestly didn't see this as not being content. I thought maybe God wanted me to have a "personality" like the other girls and maybe I needed to loosen the reins to be more approachable to non-Christians interested in learning about Jesus...after all people just saw me as an oddity before. I thought I was still the confident me of last year (as did my mom) until we were at lunch together some weeks ago. We were quietly fighting over some random thing and then she made a comment that just broke me down. (luckily we were in a private area of the restaurant lol) and I said something to the effect of being angry that she never appreciated everything I do for her and that her comments hurt me the most because I am not this confident person she thinks I am. Then I could just feel hot tears slowly make their way down my face. I hit a low point. God was showing me the change I made in just one simple year away at school. I was so ashamed (and still am) for the fight we had that day and I am even more ashamed I let myself become so unhappy with my life.
So my summer so far has been a healing process from the wounds I've obtained while living in "the world". I hope every summer isn't a re-recovery of that years set backs, I just pray God makes me stronger this time around. I had never been on my own before, but now I see the world's a battle ground and we can fall mighty far without even realizing it.
I'm going to try and make my time restricted computer time, blogger time, so I can keep you updated with my "de-electronicized" life haha Maybe if any of you are struggling with this too, I'll give you some tips and ideas for better ways to fill your day. So far I read a lot (especially the Bible, since I fell off my Bible in year schedule a few months back, I'm trying to make up for it!), pray the rosary, help out a lot more around the house, play with the dogs, exercise...and that's about it haha but I'm working on it!
So the moral of the story is:
Watching the Duggars is similar to reading the Bible-no matter how many times you watch/read it, you always find a new spiritual lesson!
And I am sorry I speak about school so much (and it always seems to be negative) I just never in my wildest dreams expected this phase of my life to be like it was. I thought I'd find a whole Christian niche where I would be encouraged in my walk and people would take God as seriously as me (not that I am saying there aren't people at my school who do! because I'm sure there are) and I would be respected for my beliefs (even though it's a super liberal school) and my relationship with God would only grow stronger. I can attest that my relationship with God has transformed and strengthened immensely, but just not in the ways I thought. I NEEDED this college experience as much as I hate to admit it, because it showed me what it takes to be a true Catholic in this world. It's hard work! It's not butterflies & rainbows! Our suffering WILL be great, but this only glorifies our amazing God more! I went into college more of a Protestant, so the whole suffering aspect completely escaped me, but as I learn more (slowly, but surely) about Catholicism, I see what God is really doing in my life. So thank you so much for this journey Lord, you are truly a Savior!
Please, no matter who you are, do not be discouraged with life- strive for contentment in all things and maybe even simplify. I know a lot of my discouragement comes from an over-abundance of worldly programming, websites, and music. Thank God for the good & the bad, the suffering and the joy and continue fighting the good fight! Don't lose hope!
Peace be with you always!