QUICK UPDATE: I’m going to be releasing the newest episode of Coffee & Pearls on Tuesdays instead of Mondays. As I’ve stopped working on Sunday and stopped using electronics after 7 p.m., I found I really want Monday to put the finishing touches on my work! So you can all expect awesome inspiration coming every Tuesday from the Coffee & Pearls Podcast!
Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls podcast:
Scroll down to read it as a blog post!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the lies we tell ourselves. Sometimes I suggest that it’s really the devil whispering lies into my ear, and yes, this happens too but I have to be honest, sometimes the lies bouncing around my head really do come from me and no one else.
I think one of the biggest lies I tell myself is that my lazy behavior or my mindless consumption of…. anything (food, television, shopping, books etc.)… that this doesn’t matter. But that is a lie.
Everything we do matters. Absolutely every choice we make and every action we take is either moving us toward becoming the best version of ourselves or away from it. Period.
As we strive for sainthood, there are no neutral actions. Nothing falls into the category of “this doesn’t matter.” Everything is helping you become a better person or not.
As I’ve been chewing on this idea, it’s really become a lot harder to ignore some of my bad habits. We all have bad habits, both big and small. We are all addicted to different aspects of the world. Stop beating yourself up over that, that’s normal. We’re human and our flesh makes us desire broken things.
The danger is pretending these habits aren’t a problem. The danger is in telling ourselves that, “Eating these cookies isn’t that big of a deal. Facebook isn’t that bad, there’s a lot of good that comes out of it. Sure I go shopping but I buy at thrift stores so it’s okay.”
Now… are cookies, Facebook and thrift store shopping bad things? That depends. When YOU do them are you becoming the best version of yourself or are you becoming a worse version of yourself? Personally, I can do all three of those things in a healthy way and I can do all three of those things in a self-destructive way.
When I inhale 10 cookies at 3:30 while the crying chaos of my toddlerland household is making me anxious… that’s bad.
When I choose to sit my girls up at the kitchen counter and teach them how to bake cookies with love and joy and we share some with our neighbors… that’s good.
When I refresh my Facebook account 50+ times per day and yes, I’m sure it’s at least that many times on a bad day… when my heart feels a little sad when there are no red notifications or new messages… that’s bad.
When I sit down to purposefully post positive and uplifting things and check in on my valued friendships or read some God affirming articles and then leave after an appropriate time to do something else on my schedules… that’s good.
I have been pregnant a lot. My body is like an accordion moving in and out of many different sizes. There are times when I have a genuine need for “new” clothing or pieces to get me through to the next size. Sometimes I wear holes in my shoes and I need one new pair. When I shop for genuine needs and I work hard to find pieces that are on sale, used or a good price for something I’ll use for a very long time… this is good.
When I need to leave the house and I’m bored or frustrated and looking for a way to escape… this is obvious because I’m scanning aisles searching for something to buy, hoping to be inspired and feel a “pick me up” by purchasing something with no care for whether I actually need it or not… this is bad.
You’re On Your Own
The very nature of these choices is personal. For most of us, many of these activities are not black and white. It is not obvious on the outside whether another person’s coffee in take is actually an addiction or a mom’s compulsive crafting/baking stops being about love and ends up being a bitter escape.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what anyone else things. You alone are accountable to God for your life.
If you want to become a saint in Heaven, and I truly believe this should be the number one goal of every person on earth… if you want to become the most Holy version of yourself… you need to stop pretending like your actions are neutral. They are not.
All your actions are moving you toward sainthood or away from it.
The bad news is, like me, you probably have dozens of little things you could cut out of your life and that might feel overwhelming.
The good news is, we have Jesus, Mary and all the saints to lean on and pray to for inspiration and strength.
The bar is high for being a good Catholic but we also have more rock solid tools than any other religion to help us realize this deep holiness we are all called to.
Draw a line down a piece of paper. On one side, put all the actions that help you become a better version of yourself. On the other side, put all the options that make you turn away from becoming the best version of yourself.
Pick one thing this week to work on, just one. You don’t have to overhaul your life right away. Take a deep breath and pick one habit that you want to minimize or eliminate. Pray to God for help and ask that He give you strength to let it go and that He help you find fulfilment in something more worthy.