Being Fully Alive #M4MVoices

What makes you feel alive, fulfilled, and present?

Genicia:  I feel alive when I spend time with my family and friends and being present with them by engaging in conversations. I enjoy hearing about their day, knowing about what currently occupies their time and at the same time learning about their joys and challenges.

* I also feel alive when I work with young children, not only because of the energy that comes from a classroom filled with young kids – children have this unique innocence that’s quite compelling. There were countless moments where I can honestly say that I learn more from their child-like faith and trust as opposed to them learning from what I teach them.

* I feel fulfilled when I help out in our parish’s youth ministry; my life becomes a gift to others. It’s a beautiful experience knowing that I am able to share our beautiful faith not only with the youth but with people of all ages. God has given me gifts and talents to use for His greater glory.

* I feel present when I am in prayer – especially when I spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and getting soaked in Christ’s goodness and love! This is a time where I pour my heart out to the Lord and it feels uplifting!

Miranda: Being around people always manages to energize me. Whether I’m spending time with one person or a group of friends, getting the chance to talk, laugh, and interact with others is an important part of my life. Even something as simple as talking with family at the dinner table is very important to me. I love to talk about my day and unload all the difficult things that happened and share the good things that happened. There are times when I don’t feel like going out because I’m tired, but by the end of the night I’m always happy I went out. All my tiredness seems to melt away, and I leave a gathering feeling fresh and content.

Bridget: The following kind of moments makes me feel alive.

* Student: “I want to sit beside you”

Me: “Go back to your spot stop being silly”

Student: “I love you”

I have been working with children for about 8 years now and as cliché as it sounds there is truly never a dull moment with them! As Jesus said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Even though it is a tough battle to work with children as it requires a lot physically and emotionally wise. I thank God everyday that he had given me the opportunity to work with children. They teach me how to love, to forgive and their innocence is something so captivating. I think that they do my job (supposedly teaching them) better than I do!

* Being in a very crazy family makes me feel alive. Although it doesn’t seem that our family get along due to different personalities clashing. I love the fact that we still get each other. I also have a very diverse set of friends. I feel overwhelmed with joy when I reflect upon the fact that I have friends in different walks of life and they all accept me as who I am even though myself can’t sometimes; knowing the fact that I am love by these people keep me alive.

* I feel fulfilled when I make someone smile or at least know the fact that I did something for them, through small things or big things. One of my constant prayers is asking God to use me as His instrument to reflect His goodness. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Whether it is by actively serving in our youth ministry, comforting a crying child at work, asking your co-worker how her sick daughter is doing or even just randomly saying hi to a person you run into in the streets; as St. Therese of Lisieux puts it this way: “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” I think nothing is more fulfilling than glorifying God’s name in all that you do. It’s not an easy feat but I am sure the fact that we desire to please Him already pleases Him.

* I feel present when I am surrounded with people I love (family, friends, students, co-workers). When I share episodes of my life with them; when I live the moment with them- sharing laughter, stories, heart aches or anything and knowing the fact that you are not alone, knowing the fact that someone needs you or that you need them and that they are there for you.

When I am with people whom I journey with in deepening our faith- through retreats, adoration, workshops, going to mass together or waiting in the confessional line together. These moments make me feel present.

Where do you find your mind drifting when it’s free from worry?

Genicia: When my mind is free from worry, I find myself thinking about the future with great hope. There’s an abundant peace that comes from knowing that there’s a God who has the perfect plan and knows exactly what He wants for you. God continuously takes care of us and he meets us where we’re at.

Miranda: When I’m free from worry, I find my mind drifting to things that I enjoy. Food is definitely something I enjoy and think about! Meals have always been important and enjoyable for me because they’re times when the entire family gathers and spends time together. Getting the chance to share a meal or a cup of coffee with friends is also something that I look forward to. Another thing that I enjoy is reading, and my mind will often drift to whatever book I’m reading.

Bridget: My mind is usually free from worry when I am praying (adoration, in my room, in front of the Blessed Sacrament) when I talk to God and tell Him that I cannot contain these worries I have in my mind – since He made me this way – over thinking everything. He places in my heart that everything is all right as long as I know that I have Him, as long as I go to Him. He comforts me in His loving arms reminding me that He gave His son Jesus to us to save us, to help us get through these things and MORE. Knowing this is all I need and it gives me this hope. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure….” (Hebrews 6:19) Hope that tells me that the deepest desires in my heart will be given to me so it is in a sense useless to worry! I mean what is there to worry? If I know that there is that SOMEONE that wants me to be happy, that knows how I can be happy! He created me to be happy not to worry!

What is your biggest fear? How do you overcome it or find ways to cope?

Genicia:  My greatest fear is not doing God’s will and that includes disappointing Him and/or the people I value because of my weaknesses. I bring those fears to prayer. When I recognize my fears and be honest with God about them, that’s when he strengthens me and pours out his love. Another way is to constantly remind myself to be open to receiving God’s mercy. God is surely bigger than our fears!

I also find that authentic friendships help me a lot in overcoming my fears. I become enlightened when I talk to my sister and my friends about my struggles; they offer encouragement and this allows me to bring light into my fears and strive to be the best version of myself for God and for the ones that I love dearly!

Miranda: One of my biggest fears is being judged as not good enough, and I think this is a fear that many people face. I know for myself, this fear can often dictate how I act and what I try out. I’m often afraid to try something new because I don’t want to mess up. I haven’t mastered my fear yet, but I’m getting better at coping and am slowly overcoming it. I find that jumping into something whole-heartedly is a good way for me to get over my fear. If I’m fully committed, it forces me to push everything else aside and worry about the task at hand. Also, different experiences have taught me that my value doesn’t come from others and that other people will never make me perfectly happy.

Bridget:  I guess ultimately my biggest fear is to be unhappy! When I reflect upon things that I fear it boils down to the fact that it will make me unhappy.

* I bring these fears to God! I ask Him to give me the grace to be open to whatever will come my way, wanted or unwanted. As much as it is hard for me to trust and let go most of the times, He constantly reminds me to TRUST in Him (through scriptures, through events in my life and through people He placed in my life)

* I find comfort and strength through my friends and people whom I know will help me to overcome things I fear, who will give me encouragement and enlightenment if there are struggles along my way. Even Jesus had his closest disciples with Him (even though they fell asleep) when he was going through his Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; so I think it is really important to have genuine friendships that will surely help you when it comes to these things. People you know that will never leave you! (Thank God for my sister #cheesy)