Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When I live for signs

I have a confession to make: I have a tendency to focus on signs (or potential signs) from God. You know that part in the Gospels where Jesus reprimands the Pharisees and Sadducees for a preoccupation with signs in the visible world while they completely miss the message of the kingdom of God and Jesus' mission (Matt 16:1-4)? That passage is basically directed to me. 

I like to think that this is only something I did when I was a teenager. Like all those times when, while discerning my vocation, I'd take one small event and say OH! It's a sign from God! Of course this is the path He has for me! Sometimes this is a perfectly valid thing to do, and it can be reassuring when God gives us small signs of confirmation which console us that yes, we're heading in a good direction. But I would practice this overzealously, anxiously taking every single instance, every single breath, as a "sign from God" that I should do a particular thing. 

Eventually, I discontinued this continual "search for a sign" and started living a lot more peacefully, trusting in God in the present moment. And while I'd still experience nice consolations or "signs from God" from time to time, it was more like an added bonus, and not something that I was living for. 

WELL. I'm doing it again, guys, and I'm trying to pull myself out of this mode. I don't know when this started-maybe a week or two ago?-but I've found myself creating all sorts of scenarios pertaining to childbirth. I've looked at our calendar, at all the feast days and activities we have coming up, and thought, Wouldn't it be hilarious if baby was born on that day? I'm not particularly anxious or "ready" to have this baby, and my due date isn't even for several days, but I am thinking way too much about what this child's birth story could be. Maybe it's because I love birth stories? Maybe it's because my firstborn's birth story was hilarious and I'm trying to think of ways that this child could top that experience? I don't really know the reason, but I do know that I'm way too preoccupied with Things That Could Be (but probably won't even happen). 

Over the weekend, I spent a bit of time with Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. One of my "before Baby gets here" projects has been to make a little Diary of St. Maria Faustina for my toddler-a little booklet (inspired by the BabyLit books) which displays certain words from the Diary with an accompanying passage.

Anyways, as I paged through the book, reading the words of St. Faustina and Jesus, I began to notice a trend. There were many mentions of the "present moment." For example:

“O Jesus, I want to live in the present moment, to live as if this were the last day of my life. I want to use every moment scrupulously for the greater glory of God, to use every circumstance for the benefit of my soul. I want to look upon everything, from the point of view that nothing happens without the will of God.” (#1183)
At the beginning of this pregnancy, my constant prayer was also taken from the life and words of St. Faustina-"Jesus, I trust in You." I've found myself going back to those words frequently. God's plans are way better than I could imagine, and if I'm focused on trying to figure out the future, I'll miss what He's doing in the present. If I'm preoccupied with what I think would be a great plan for the future, I can become anxious that it actually happens as I dictate. So, when I find myself focusing on all of the scenarios that I think would make awesome birth stories, I'm looking back to those simple words. 

Jesus, I trust in You. 

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