There are some things that we as Catholics don’t really talk about, two of these things are spiritual warfare and God asking us to do crazy things in faith. I’ve learned a few things about each of them so I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned and you can share with me what you have learned too!
Spiritual warfare: The devil is real. He hates us and that hate is real. He will never stop trying to get us to lose sight of God so that we can end up in hell. He will use everything and anything that he can. It all starts the same way though, tempting us to doubt the goodness of God. If I’m honest, I’ll tell you that I just told God “and you don’t help, because you make life so damned hard”, because that is how I feel at the moment. Everything that I try to do is met with issues. Nothing has worked out in our favor for a very long time. Even when something does seem to be finally going the right way and we have a moment of relief, then something else goes wrong. It’s been a constant struggle for the last few years. People do not understand that. They offer cliches or advice because as humans we all think that if something bad happens to us that we brought it upon ourselves or that it’s all “for a reason”. No, not always. Sometimes, like in the case of Job, shit just happens for no reason and not because we deserve it but because the devil hates us and it just happens. Not that some of what has happened in my life aren’t consequences of my choices, there is room for personal responsibility and also for “shit just happens”. These struggles can make us stronger as long as we hold on to Christ, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is are times when there is nothing we can do to fix it, we didn’t cause it and we just have to get through it like walking through a fire. Why does God allow it? I don’t know. I have been asking Him just that all week, but this is where faith kicks in. And faith is a Grace. Grace is an unmerited favor, we do nothing to earn it or deserve it, we can only open ourselves up to it. :My advice: when facing spiritual warfare that the time to open yourself up to God’s Grace. That’s really the only option to get through it. Read the writings of the Saints to see how they opened themselves up to Grace. They are the best examples to follow when the devil is acting a fool in your life.
God asking you to do crazy things: Let me break my life down for you just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I blog/write, I have a radio show on a start up internet radio station, I help with RCIA at my parish and I am going to school for a Bachelor’s in Philosophy. None of these projects pays, they all take up a lot of my time and then what is left of me and my time goes to care for my husband and children. So, I am going in the financial hole every single moment that I do not go and look for a “real job”. A lot of people (most people) do not get that. People have said to me that I should just stop all of this and get a job, then everything would be fine. Believe me, I tried that. God has made it clear that that is not what He is asking of me. I don’t know how to convince anyone else of that, all I know is what I know and I know for a fact that every time I discern all of this, His reply is “Just keep going”. I apply for jobs and don’t get them. I got a job waiting tables and it was horrible and my feet almost fell off. At this point, I would love nothing more than to go sit in an office and just get a paycheck but something that I heard someone say sticks with me: the greatest sin is to not use the gifts God gave you to glorify Him. And that is exactly what I would be doing if I went and worked a job that everyone else seems to think is what I should be doing. People can should on me all they want, but my only goal in this life is to do the Will of God, not the will of people who think they somehow know what God’s will for my life is. It is hard enough for me to figure out His will for MY life, I would never try to figure it out for someone else’s life. My Advice: If God is asking you to do something crazy like spend all your time doing things that don’t pay and put radical trust in Him that He will care of you (not because you’re lazy but because you have discerned that is His will for you, which includes going to a Spiritual Director to help with that discernment) then just keep on keepin’ on. Listen to their advice, run it by God in prayer, thank them for their thoughts and then do what God wants you to do without worrying about how you didn’t do what so and so said to do. Also, don’t tell everyone your business. Have a team of about 3 people who you know will get it and who will build you up. Confide in them and nobody else. Conforming to God’s will is bat shit crazy, and most people are not going to get it. Keep a journal and stay close to the Sacraments. Get a spiritual director and go to confession regularly. And be prepared to suffer. Oh…. and buy lots of wine.
These are just a few of my thoughts as someone who has learned the hard way . We talk about them vaguely but don’t really spell it out and I have had a very hard time lately because I had no clue how to deal with it. I am not asking for advice and I’m not telling you that you have to take mine. If it works for you, great, if not then that’s cool too. The most important thing though, don’t do crazy things without running it by a confessor and/or spiritual director, maybe even a therapist. You need people who can objectively keep you grounded because when I say “crazy”, I mean countercultural, not something that can land you in prison or hell. When God is calling you to these things, it usually involves a lot of healing of yourself and your wounds. When I say “usually”, I really mean “always”.