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Posts tagged ‘free will’

Space to Grow In

Free will can look a lot like teenage rebellion–

if the people who dislike your choices are manipulative or gossipy or judgmental or think your faith is some kind of cult.

Not kidding. Some people think that about the Catholic Faith.

You will get resistance. Breaking family and cultural mores can get you more consequences than backtalk did when you were twelve. There are times I would rather have a slap across the face for being a bit of a smart Alec to my parent.

Or a fly swatter to the butt. Done and over. Stings for a moment and the sting is gone.

Or a lecture that I could hear and then walk down the hall to my room and shut the door.

So how do you know if you are who they say you are? How do you know much of anything when you decide to stop factoring in and even responding emotionally to the sanctions, both covert and overt?

You know that passage, lean not on your own understanding? Get a priest. A very good spiritual director.

And get it all out there – like you just threw up all over the place.

He is used to that.

And he is used to seeing the bigger picture. God’s perspective. If he gives you the green light to carve out space from those who make you feel crappy, then it is not rebellion, or angst, or vindictiveness. No matter what anyone else says (or whispers to another).

It is you just doing what you should have done a long time ago. Congratulations, you just embraced the gift of free will.

And if you frequent the confessional and seek spiritual direction, chances are pretty high that you are actually making a solid decision. Be willing to say, Get behind me satan.

It will still feel uncomfortable. You know how your old friends or family respond to your tentative attempts to extricate yourself from their frowny faces.

Rebellion is not bad. It just depends what you are rebelling against.

You are loved by God. He delights in you. He wants you whole. He wants you fully living the life of his divine grace.

Anything that threatens that beautiful gift needs to be told to stand down.

So now that you can choose to live any way you want, choose to live well. Choose the life God created for you.

Welcome home.

Here, you really do get to be you.

 

 

 

Invisalign Braces and More Lent

I am one hour in to my first set of invisalign braces.

I now have many more things to offer up this Lent. No coffee – except with meals when the braces come off. No soda either. Nothing with color – unless I want a red, or brown, or orange smile.

Water. I can drink water. And I can eat and drink whatever I want – but only at meal time when the braces come off.

As they said in the orthodontist office: This is a good time to start a diet. So there is a bright side.

They say the good thing about invisalign is that you can take them out. They say the bad thing about invisalign is that you can take them out.

Still, I think invisalign is a good choice for me. Perhaps you should ask me later – after my teeth start hurting – because they say they will hurt. They say I will want to take them out. But they said I should not give in to that desire.

It’s kind of like the freedom God gives us. The good thing about this faith is that God has given us the choice to love him or to walk away. The good thing about God’s gift of grace is it depends on our free will to receive it and to walk in it. The bad thing about God’s gift of grace is that it depends on our free will to abandon it and to let it fade away completely.

There will be times we will feel like throwing off the mantle of holiness. But we should not give in to that desire.

Like the invisalign braces, my faith may not be obvious at first glance. This pursuit of holiness is usually a quiet, hidden process.

But those who are closest to us know it’s happening. They are aware of the changes, and eventually others will notice as well.

So we submit to the pain required in spiritual change. We do not throw off the mantle when it becomes a little difficult.

And when we need some assistance, we know where to go. The Eucharist. The waters of Baptism. The confessional.

We turn to Christ.