Author Archives: Kaylee

Staying True

This is another great guest post from my friend, Kaylee!  Kaylee is a college sophomore seeking to grow in holiness.  If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, send me an email at youngncatholic@gmail.com 

Most of us young people are looking for that special person, hoping that we have either already found them, or that they are coming our way soon. It’s a tricky thing, trying to know if this person is someone God is calling you to date; and it’s easy to go about it with yourself leading the way instead of God leading the way. It’s tempting for us to try and take control of the relationship because we feel that it will ensure that it ends up better and happier. We as humans just have this natural desire to be in control of situations.  It is so natural to us that we tend to do it without even noticing it at all.

This is something that I have really been reflecting on lately.  In trying to understand myself and others when it comes to relationships, I have been reflecting on how we handle ourselves and how we are discerning God’s will.

I was talking to one of my friends the other night about a young man she had feelings for, and one of the things that came up was the fear of not being liked back. What I said to her was something that really stuck with me (I tend to have little mini epiphanies when I sort out my thoughts verbally).  I said that if someone ends up not ‘liking’ you, its not because of anything you did; its not because you weren’t good enough, pretty enough, funny enough.  It doesn’t mean you are not ‘good enough.’

Above all: it does not mean you need to be something else, because anything else isn’t you.

I’ve noticed that we have this tendency of taking hold of things once they are within our reach, instead of letting them naturally float to us. If you meet someone and think they are great, then great! It’s good to be interested in someone.  If God gives you a person that pulls on your heart, don’t turn from them, simply turn towards them. Once we have recognized this person we must remember to be patient and unafraid. The reason I say ‘unafraid’ is because we must not fear the idea of them turning around. We must be aware and open to the possibility of them not wanting to date us. This goes right back to what I was telling my friend: if it turns out to be nothing, then let it be nothing because it’s better to have a genuine and peaceful “nothing” than a forced “something.”

Having said that, we should never feel like we have to become something ‘better’ than ourselves to keep the other interested. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to wear that new dress, or that nicely pressed shirt when you are hoping to see them next, but there’s a difference between changing the core of who you are and presenting yourself confidently.

Why would you give them someone that isn’t you?

When it comes to relationships, we need to be aware of these tendencies we have to  try and take control of the situation and to change, even very minimally, who we are. If I go into a hopeful relationship with my heart grabbing for anything it can reach, I will fall victim to my own selfish desires. If I go into it changing who I am, I will become a liar. But, if I am patient, true to myself, and let it come to me, with knowledge and peace at the idea that it could float away at anytime, I allow so much more room for God to work His perfect plan.

 

The Layers of Humility

 

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Humility is an interesting concept. From the looks of it, we think we are pretty darn good at being humble and we think that we have a strong understanding of it; but the truth is, true humility is deeper than the surface understanding we’re all so familiar with. Humility is something that must be meditated on in order to realize its true profoundness. Therefore, I have come to my personal conclusion that humility exists in two distinct layers: the “aw shucks” layer, and the “here’s the other cheek” layer.

The first layer is the more commonly used layer due to its easy-to-access nature. This layer is not one that requires an abundance of thought, prayer, meditation or teaching to understand.  In order to possess this knowledge one must simply know what it means to be Christian, in the most simplistic way. We are taught that it is good to be humble, and not to boast. Really, we think that saying “aw shucks, I’m not that great” qualifies as humility. For the longest time I thought that humility meant awkwardly pushing off compliments from others, or not constantly screaming from my facebook page that I am the greatest artist to have walked the earth. Now don’t get me wrong, it is good that we don’t constantly boast about our strengths, but that sort of sounds like we’re just getting by with a bare minimum. The reason I call this the “aw shucks” layer is because we have this idea that once we have mastered the art of deflecting complements and refraining from patting ourselves on the back, we think we’re done in the field of humility.

 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9)

In the second layer, humility is more than an idea or words; it’s a mindset, a way of living. There is so much more to humility than deflecting praise.  In 2 Chronicles we read, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This is a great example.  Humility is not about just saying to one another, “No! You’re great!” because that wouldn’t have been enough to please God; we need to go further. A 2 Chronicles tells us, we need to become submissive. In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9, the disciples were discussing among themselves who was the greatest, at which point Jesus put a child in the midst of them and told them to be like that child: vulnerable, small, weak—even pointless, a nothing (in the eyes of the culture at the time). We are called to be this way in the world, to be submissive, to allow others in words and in actions to be before us without the desire of being noted for our humility.

The reason I call this layer the “here’s the other cheek” layer is because one of my all time favorite parts of the Bible is when Jesus tells us:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

This, in my most sincere opinion, is the truth of humility. If you desire to be truly humble, take this to the chapel and meditate on what it means to give even more to those who take from you. We must learn to be humble in our very nature.

Maybe this is just my own way of understanding, but I have recently started to realize that a lot of people I encounter are only familiar with and live life in terms of the first layer. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s a fact that many of the people— even in our own churches— only live by the first layer. Why do I think that? Because I firmly believe that if we all took the time to understand the second layer of humility (the more profound truth of humility) our communities and this world would look much different than they do now.

What do you think?  How can we better live out true humility?

Guest Post: We Want Love

From Mary: Last week I mentioned that Young And Catholic was going to be running a post from a contributor: Kaylee!  Here is her post, as promised.  Enjoy!

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Something I have been really wrestling with lately is the idea of some sort of religious vocation. For a while I was very interested in it; I thought that it made my heart fly with joy; I was giddy! Then not to long after that, I would be very stubborn against it, insisting that I was called to marriage. It went very back and forth like that a handful of times.  It has been happening since I started viewing religious life as an actual option for my life.

Just recently (as in: it ended today, recently) I had my worst episode of “Nope, I am going to fall in love with a handsome man and we are going to be mushy gushy lovey-dovey for the rest of our stinkin’ lives” that I’ve had yet. It was so bad, in fact, that it had thrust me into a pit of selfishness. I was frustrated that God might be calling me to a life that was without “materialistic” love. Why couldn’t I have what they have? Why can’t I have someone to hold me and tell me as a fact that they loved me? That’s what life is lived for; that’s what is on everyone’s mind, everyday.

Last week(ish), when my latest “I don’t want to be a nun” phase started, I began to really hold onto the lyrics of some of the popular songs.  That might sound kind of lame and overdramatic, but it’s true, and I used those lyrics as a stencil for my hopes. I was starting to desperately cling to the idea of having “someone to hold in the rain.” I was gradually (but somewhat quickly) throwing God out the window, but I was doing so indirectly.  It was more of me pulling other stuff in that caused God to be squeezed out.

I want a boyfriend. I want to hold someone’s hand. I want to get married. I want a man to love me. You know what? I’m just going to go out with an “I’m single” attitude, and let the guys gawk at me (but just a little, you know. Can’t let God think I am totally self-centered).

I was convinced, with a deep sadness at this point, that I was not “saint material.” Since I am not able to live up to God’s standard (for me) of sanctity, then I am going to live a perfectly happy life inside a good moral standard and just allow myself to slip into Purgatory, narrowly avoiding hell. Lukewarm. That was a pitiful goal and I was well aware of it.

I realized something tonight as I worshipped God with some of my friends.  Love isn’t something that I should seek to get anything out of.  Love should be selfless.  Love is a sacrifice of oneself for the sake of the other.

All along, I was thinking of love so selfishly, seeking that I be comforted and held and watched after. I wanted a man to tell me I was worth it.  I wanted a man in order that I would feel fulfilled. I wanted to date someone so that my friends would have something to talk about, so that others would know that I had it in me to date.

When I look at the crucifixion, I see love—a better love than I know how to understand.  And I realized that the reason that is such a beautiful and perfect love is because He didn’t do it for Himself.  The reason that love is so beautiful is because it is selfless.  I realized that religious life isn’t the absence of love; it is the perfection of love.

My heart was given peace tonight as I realized I am strong enough (and you are too)—by the grace of God— to do without material shows of love.  We don’t need that. I don’t need a man to hold me in order for me to know that I am loved; I just need to love Jesus because it proves that He has first loved me (1 John 4:19).

Pray with me as we pray for the strength of those called to religious life, that they may know that love is more than a physical reassurance.  True love is self-sacrifice (John 15:13).