What a spiritual director and an MBA taught me about being overwhelmed

I have a personality type that leads me to feel overwhelmed a lot. I’m ambitious but lazy; I have a latent perfectionist streak that comes out at unexpected times; I’m an Olympian procrastinator; and I’m so non-confrontational that I often find myself saying “Yes, I’d love to help with that” when what I should be saying is, “I CANNOT EVEN FIND TIME TO BRUSH MY HAIR RIGHT NOW, LET ALONE SIGN UP FOR ONE MORE FREAKING THING.” Because God looks out for people like me, I’ve had some very wise counsel... Read More

Prayer: Because sometimes you need to be dog-whispered

Back when we had cable, I used to be a big fan of the Dog Whisperer show. I don’t even have a dog, but it was fascinating to see how Cesar Millan could take all these bad dogs and turn them into happy, obedient pets. One of his most common techniques is to pinch a dog quickly on the side of its neck while making a sound that is hard to convey in writing, but goes something like, PRSSSSCHT!!! By mimicking the corrective nip that the top dog in a pack might use to keep his subordinate canines in line, Millan gets the dog’s attention and... Read More

How I pray when I don’t have time to pray

There’s nothing like daily prayer time. Over and over again, I’ve found that when I make the necessary sacrifices to structure my schedule around prayer (instead of vice versa), my small efforts are repaid tenfold by the tremendous graces I receive. But I can’t always get there. I usually blame it on not having time, though that excuse is a little suspect since I always manage to find abundant time to mess around on the internet. Anyway, whether it’s due to laziness, fatigue, a lack of faith, being overwhelmed, truly not... Read More

Praying like you’re illiterate

Yesterday I hit a level of exhaustion like I have only rarely known before. This whole “third trimester” thing just is not working out for me this time around, and after a morning of huffing and puffing around the house to keep up with the kids (including the most spirited two-year-old God has ever created) I was on the brink of some kind of physical collapse. I was just about to toss an open box of granola bars on the kitchen floor, stagger to the couch and count on the kids’ survival instincts to do the rest, when the phone rang... Read More

The 7 Habits of People Who Place Radical Trust in God

I read a lot of biographies and memoirs about inspiring people who place radical trust in God. (By “radical” I don’t mean reckless or imprudent, but am referring to the difficult, very counter-cultural act of recognizing God’s sovereignty over every area of our lives. More on that here.) From He Leadeth Me to God’s Smuggler, Mother Angelica to The Heavenly Man to The Shadow of His Wings, these true stories are about people from all walks of the Christian life: Catholic and Protestant, consecrated religious and lay people,... Read More

Is it irresponsible to trust God too much?

Last week I was all inspired about the idea of placing full trust in God, and I shared a story about a missionary who learned to trust God in all things, down to getting a cake for a Bible study event. In response there were quite a number of corrective comments that raised interesting questions about what trusting God should look like. Some excerpts: Magnificat said: It’s typical feel-good story and it makes me feel uneasy. Trusting God is something much, much more serious. These sweet stories may help little children; to others, they are... Read More

OUR (The Our Father, Word by Word)

This, to me, is one of the most startling words of the Lord’s prayer. Maybe the most startling. I have a feeling that it wouldn’t be as remarkable to someone who came from a different cultural background, but I am an American and a Texan. I come from one of the most individualistic states in the most individualistic culture in the world. And even though I was an atheist in my youth, this cultural heritage deeply influenced my views about religion. The Christianity that I grew up around very much had a “Jesus and me” flavor... Read More

The secret to a life of YES

A while back I posted a link to this fantastic post by Carrien, in which she suggests that the secret to an extraordinary life is simply saying YES. The whole thing is well worth reading, but here’s an excerpt: That got me thinking about other people I admire. I found the same theme. They said yes, when they could have said no. […] In 1976, at the age of 60, a woman by the name of Pauline Fell began walking the streets in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Although she was a new Christian she asked God what He wanted her to do with... Read More

4 ways to place yourself in the presence of God

As part of our year with St. Francis de Sales, I wanted to excerpt the section from Introduction to the Devout Life where he offers four practical tips for putting yourself in God’s presence. This is an extremely important first step of prayer, he explains, since all too often we pray as if God were off in the far distance somewhere. With Lent approaching, I thought this might be a  good section to cover since many of us are thinking about how we can improve our prayer lives. (All the text below is directly quoted from the book.) ———- St.... Read More

Weakness, strength and the “end of self”

Have you read the comments to my post about finding strength in weakness? If not, you must. They’re so good. How good? Thanks to reading all the responses to that post, I think I might actually be groping my way towards understanding how you can be strong in Christ, even when you’re physically weak. One of the things that came into sharp relief for me last week was just how much I associate strength with action. Even when it comes to letting God work through us, I assumed that that pretty much always meant doing something: speaking just... Read More

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