St. Joseph the Worker (and patron of the Holy Family) is very dear to my husband and I. He’s had such a presence in each of our lives when we were single, and now all the more that we are married. We have a little prayer card for St. Joseph and on the back of the card reads this prayer:
O glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and death.
Did you see that?! The part that says:
..having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted…
TIME LOST, TALENTS WASTED, GOOD OMITTED…
Oh boy… I have lost so much time and squandered my own talent at the feet of such petty things like excessive, mindless use of social-freaking-media! This prayer really makes me reflect on my own talents and how I’ve been actively choosing not to use them. It makes me think of all the good I have not done because of this spiritual laziness.
When we think about life on earth, we have to think of it in terms of our end goal – Heaven. In doing so, death should always be before our eyes – not in a sadistic way, but in a useful way. What is our purpose here? What good are we doing… or not doing? How are we pointing people toward Jesus? Are we using our time – time that is purely gift from God – in the way He desires for us to use it? When we get to Heaven’s gate upon our death, we are going to have to render an account of time lost, talents wasted, and good omitted.
TALENTS WASTED. These two words are particularly rough for me to swallow. I have been feeling sort of guilty for some time now because I have not really written much in the last year and a half – at least not in a way I feel called to write. I’m not really sure when I started to believe that writing, for me, was a gift from God (a talent, if you will), but I do believe He has bestowed it upon me as a gift to be used for His glory. There are several reasons I believe this.
- When my well is full, my writing comes easily. Meaning, when I fill myself with the Lord and pursue my relationship with Him in the way I hope He desires, He fills my well. He fills me with things to write about.
- Writing has always felt easy to me, although not perfect and not always grammatically correct.
- It is in writing that I feel I am able to be most intimate in my conversation with the Lord, especially through prayer journaling.
- For years I have talked to the Lord about this through prayer, asking Him in a million different ways what He wants for me to do with my life and how I might best serve Him. What are my gifts? How should they be used to serve Him? You know what He tells me EVERY time I ask??? Just write. Write, my child.
I yearn to be able to unhesitatingly give my YES to the Lord. I want Him to hear my YES (my FIAT) to Him. I desire for Him to see my YES in action because committing our YES to the Lord requires both words and action. But when I read that prayer and came across the words, “talents wasted,” all I could hear and feel was my great disobedience.
I’m being spiritually lazy and in doing so, I’m being disobedient to the Lord in this area of my life. How do I know this? Because this is what He told me when I asked Him through writing…
“Your disobedience does not allow me to do what I have planned for you. You have stalled the process because of your free will. You hear what I am asking of you – say yes and move forward. I will show you the next step when the time comes, but I need you to take the first step, my child.”
Then about a week later, I wrote to the Lord and told him about my fears pertaining to writing. I told Him that I fear that my writing will become distorted and turn into some sort of self-glorification. I told Him how much I desire for that not to happen. I told Him that He is the reason I wanted to write in the first place. I wanted to share my story so as to help others in their journey to Him, but now I am stumbling in my own disobedience.
Ultimately I’ve been afraid of my human weakness so it became easier to simply not write than to fall into my weaknesses. And then the Lord responded to my fears…
“How do you think that people will hear of Me or know Me or see My works if no one shares them? It is good that you are thinking of these things, but you cannot allow these things to paralyze you. Do you know what that is? That’s the devil – he has a hold on this piece of your viewpoint. You are going to have to move past that. QUIT HIDING. How many times have I asked you to write? How many times have I told you that is all I am asking and desire of you? What do you think that means? Why do you withhold your YES from me in this most important arena of your life? You are not only holding yourself back, but now you will begin to hold back your husband and your future family. Don’t you see this is part of My plan? You writing is something I already decided. I wrote your story, not you. I’ve written your future, not you. But your free will… your dang free will. You are tripping up like crazy over it. I need your discipline, I need you to simply show up regularly. I’m not tasking you with any particular kind of content or any kind of schedule, I’m just saying, hey, would you please show up every day? And then I wait…
What do you desire, my child? To continue the path of the past, except now with your husband? Have you forgotten how to live radically? Have you forgotten that the two of you have become one and he needs this of you just as much as I need this of you? Your writing IS the next step. Your writing is the next stepping stone that will allow you to see into your future yet an additional step. I desire for you to flourish, not just get by. I desire big things for you and your husband and your future children. You know the power of a single YES. You have had the courage in the past to live out your YES. You have now wavered. I do not fault you nor condemn you for it, but I am asking you to rise, pick up your mat, and go again. Begin again. Start new again. The time is now. Not later, but now. Devise a plan, a schedule. You have much to say because I speak it to you. Just begin. I love you, my dear child. My power is made perfect in your weakness. Lean on my power, lean into your communication with me, come to me. I am here, waiting…”
When I think about disobedience to the Lord in conjunction with the pieces of my life where I might feel stuck, it causes me also to reflect on the fact that a simple YES to the Lord, and a call to action on that YES actually changes everything about where I was before and the place that I am able to grow into. Putting in the work brings us to new heights, where we are able to see things that weren’t visible before because we were standing and looking from a different place.
So here I am, with about a year and a half between blog posts, trying again to give the Lord my YES however He so desires. I pray that I am not falling into the trap that is the human ego by thinking that writing is ‘my gift,’ and I pray I am not misinterpreting what the Lord desires of me. So I come humbly back to the page and I try again. I will write. As long as there are people to read and the Lord continues to tell me to do so, I will write.
What is your YES to the Lord that you may have sidelined? I call on you to reflect on what your YES to the Lord might be. What is the YES that you are feeling a wee bit afraid to commit to? What is the YES that always becomes secondary to everything else? What is the YES that you are always doubting yourself about? What is the YES that has purpose and points to God? I ask you to join me in striving to say YES again to whatever that might be for you.
Hopefully someday, when we are called to render an account of the talents we were given in our life and chose to waste, we can say to the Lord, “Lord, I recommitted to my YES. I recommitted through words and action. I gave You my everything.”