Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On Noise, Facebook, and Cultivating Silence - Part I

A couple weeks ago, as 2012 was coming to a close, I found myself, in a rare moment of silence, reflecting on the year.  No doubt it had been quite challenging for a number of personal reasons - family illness, the stress of figuring out my major, and spiritual difficulties that come with a newly cultivated faith.  Despite all of this, however, I looked back and saw how God had been acting in all those hard moments and this gave me hope for the future, hope for 2013.

I recalled one of my favorite verses:

I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope.
- Jeremiah 29:11

Isn't astounding to know that at this very moment God is thinking about each one of us individually?  And he's not just thinking random thoughts, reprimanding us for our faults, or even simply watching us. Thoughts of peace... to give you a future and hope.  He is here loving me, loving you, loving all of us.

How easy it is to forget that!  In fact, how easy it is to disregard God's presence, or even to imagine Him far off like at the top of a very tall tower watching everyone - distant and impersonal.

Immanuel, God is with us.

He is with us at every moment of everyday.  He knows our deepest desires, our insecurities, our doubts.  But it is up to us to open our hearts up to him.

But how?  How exactly do we open up our hearts to God and soak in His presence?

This was the (probably very self-evident) epiphany I made two weeks ago as considered my 2012.
See, last year my stress level were through the roof, because I was constantly plagued with thoughts about school, grades, obligations, and so on.  I just always felt the need to be consistently busy and was always trying to be in the loop.  I prayed, but my prayers consisted of me telling God what I wanted and then recounting everything I had done that day, had to do tomorrow, which would then digress into thinking about what I wanted, everything I had done that day. and what I had to do tomorrow.

I was so inundated with internal noise that I was blocking out anything God was trying to tell me.

For this reason, my prayer life was suffering - and I had a feeling this was also affecting my physical health as well as my ability to learn...

More to come! In the following post, I'll elaborate on what Facebook has to do with all of this.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Adventure

Hello there and welcome to this little blog of mine. :)  It is a new venture that I am undertaking this year, because I've long been a fan of the blogosphere - I mean, what a great way to communicate ideas and experiences!  While I am someone who often longs for simpler times and loves old time-y things, I must say that this is one of my favorite modern technologies.

So apart from somewhat old time-y and a blog enthusiast, who am I?
Well, firstly I'm Catholic - my faith is the most important thing to me (or at least I try to make it be).  It's a faith that I started to kindle a little over a year ago and, while I don't have "it all figured out" (and never will), it has transformed my life and changed my world view completely.  God is good.
I'm also currently in my second year at college - in fact we like to call ourselves "second years" here instead of the more commonly used term sophomore (hint as to where I go!)
I'm a systems engineering major, French minor.  I enjoy running, cooking, baking, singing, reading, and watching movies - usually of the Golden Age in Hollywood.
I love being outside, traveling, a warm croissant with a chai latte, and the company of dear friends.
Overall, I see life as an adventure full of lessons that teach us about ourselves and about the world around us - an adventure meant to be conquered with the imagination and intellect our Creator has endowed to us, as well as His love, mercy, and grace.

I'm excited to start writing about my experiences being Catholic at a secular university and share the little joys that God has blessed me with!

In Christ,
Joy Marie