Dear Pope Francis,
A couple of months ago, I wrote about the importance of simply letting things go so that wounds can heal. Letting those wounds heal has resulted in some significant changes in my life and new areas for growth. Thinking back over the last few months (really since Meredith and I started LTP), I have come to realize that all of that change and prunning that was required is finally starting to make room for new things to grow. But this growth requires something from me.
At first, mostly in the last month or so, the changes simply required me to show up, to acknowledge that the change was needed. More importantly, it required me to realize that growth is possible, not only possible, but necessary. So I showed up. I set what I considered a few small goals, among them: remembering to floss every night and to pray every morning. Showing up simply meant making sure that I plunked down with my prayer journal for about thirty minutes, and that I took an extra five minutes in front of the mirror at night.
What I have quickly realized is that while simply showing up is an important step, it is only the first step. It is the launching point. It is the gentle push to get started. So that leaves me wondering what my next step needs to be.
After some reflection I realized what that is. The next step it two-fold: prayer and discipline. Pretty near every call story in the bible I can think of has an initial step, taken by God. The person being called chooses (eventually) to respond, but that person needs to rely on God, which inevitably comes with some doubt. I think of Peter walking on water. When Jesus calls him out of the boat, Peter could have chosen to give up his crazy request, and simply stayed in the boat. Instead he followed Jesus onto the water, and then relied on Jesus to save him from the waves when he doubted and began to sink.
If you look at Peter’s whole life, we can also see the progression. He was called by Jesus. He ‘showed up’ by leaving the fishing nets and following Jesus. That initial call led to Peter being sent out to evangelize, eventually becoming the leader of the Apostles, the rock on which Jesus founded his Church. Peter’s first step built a lot of momentum. Yes there were bumps along the way, like denying that he knew Jesus, but they didn’t stop him.
So simply showing up, like I have been doing for the last few weeks, has been a good first step, but I need to build on that momentum. I need to use these smaller changes as the push to tackle bigger changes that require more drastic alterations to how I live. These changes won’t be easy, especially since there are some big changes coming all at once; it really is a massive overhaul of some bad habits. Every day, I need to choose to show up, but I need to let each day build on the progress I made yesterday, even when that means picking up after a mistake or two.
Building on that momentum comes from prayer and discipline. Prayer helps me to discern the changes that need to be made and where God is calling me. Discipline helps me to stay focused and on track, especially after I have hit a bump.
Keeping my eye on the prize,