Hey everyone! How is everybody? Has the schedule taken hold yet? You know, the kids are back in school and now we have sports practices, homework, and a myriad of other things we need to do. Are you exhausted already? Yep. I remember! Car tags and school supplies due in the same month… but somehow God always worked it out so everybody got everything they needed. Grab a cuppa and find a comfy spot and let’s take 5. You’ve earned it! And so have I!
As I write this, I’m trying to plan a visit to the college I will be attending. It’s more than a day’s drive away for anyone other than an over-the-road trucker, so I’ve been hunting a shotgun rider. I never dreamed it would be so difficult! I know a few people, but so far, 10 of them have turned me down. No available time off work is the #1 reason. Most already used it all for vacation. Some need to be concerned with child care. Some are already going to be out-of-town. Some are too involved to leave a ministry or family responsibility…
Then there’s the agenda. I’m planning a couple of days to drive, but the route keeps changing. It’s all on the same highway, just different places to stop. I need to get that figured out and get a hotel room booked! I have a day planned to visit the campus with a tour and talking to financial aid folks, professors, department heads, admissions and academic counselors. Fortunately, as an oasis in the midst of the madness we will attend Mass on campus. Time with Jesus is exactly what I’ll need there!
The next two days are blocked off to find a place to live. I’m too old to live in a dorm with 18 year olds! Not to mention I’ve lived alone for the better part of 15 years, and I’m planning to take my dog with me when I move. I’ve had her for 10 years, and she’d likely die of lonesome if I left her here! (My friends are all telling me I might die of lonesome if I leave her here!) So, I’m looking for a cheap little house to buy. Nothing fancy, just structurally sound. I can always paint and carpet or whatever. I’ve been praying, and I believe Jesus has a house set aside for me, that I can re-sell when I’m done with school. I may drop into the local parishes and meet some people, too, while I’m up there.
Somehow I need to wedge the house prep in between trips overseas, and the holidays. I may be spending a LOT of time in my car!
I wonder if God ever feels like this when He’s trying to get one of us to do something. We all have so much to do, we don’t want to spend time doing for Him. We don’t want to be inconvenienced, we don’t want to give up our time, our leisure, or activities. We don’t act like He’s important. Or just as bad, we’re so busy ‘doing for the church’ that we have no real relationship with God Himself. That’s such a tragedy.
I’ve been reading a book that talks about churches whose leadership (not the pastor, but committee chairs, youth leaders, etc.) has no personal relationship with Jesus at all. How does that even happen? No wonder these positions suffer burnout so often, and so quickly! How exhausting it must be to plan lessons or activities all the time and not know the One they are meant to encounter!
So, let’s talk. Honestly. Maybe you’re in a ministry position at your church. Maybe a Sunday School or Religious Education leader. Maybe you’re the youth sponsor, run the men’s or ladies’ group, or are an active volunteer in some ministry. Are you the nursery coordinator? In the music ministry? On the board or council? I think that should cover about everybody.
How often do you actually pray? For how long? Do you pray spontaneous prayers from your heart, or do you limit yourself to something someone else wrote? Is your idea of prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep… ” with the kids? When was the last time you cracked open the cover of your Bible for yourself, instead of expecting your pastor to do all the work for you? Do you read more than what is read on Sunday? What I’m asking is this: Do you have any sort of personal relationship with Jesus of your own?
If you don’t, it’s time. Find your pastor or priest and sit down and talk to them. Ask them how to establish that personal relationship with Christ. They won’t bite, they will be delighted! They can help you navigate the logistics of the best road trip of all – the journey with Jesus!