Think about this: You did not need to exist! You, as a person, did not need to come into existence. So why do you exist?
There is one answer, and it is powerful: the reason you are here on this earth is because God wanted you. God conceived you in his mind; He loved what He saw, and He wanted you to be born. No matter what way you came into the world, no matter how you got here, God wanted YOU here and you belong to Him.
How Do You Want to be Remembered?
This leads to many questions: How are you living for God? How are you living on earth with others? Are you being the person that you want to be? If you died tonight, tonight, how would you be remembered by this world? How would people remember you? Your friends, family, coworkers, etc. Also, how do you want to be remembered?
Would you be remembered as the person who was a drunk, or as someone who was often angry and cursed people out? Would you be remembered as the one who gossiped about others and talked poorly about them behind their backs to prop yourself up? Would you be remembered as someone who was dishonest in your work and in the way dealt with other people? Are you honest and loving in achieving your goals or your finances? Do you use women and disregard other people? Do people know who you really are? Do you say one thing and do another?
Would you be remembered as someone who loved others, put their family first, was kind, honest and compassionate? Or angry, temperamental, mean, rude, impatient, and selfish? Are you the type of person that you want to be in the here and now? If not, what do you need to work on?
I know many people who struggle just getting the motivation to change, to do what’s right to make themselves better. They may know what they need to do, however they don’t do work toward that goal. It’s more of a nice idea in the mind. They are aware of their sinfulness but do not work hard to make lasting improvement. Lent is the perfect season to make a change!
What Enslaves You?
Maybe you are already working on these things in your life, or maybe you are not, but that’s what Lent is for. We can start to change any time. The bottom line is: many of us make excuses for changing, and as a result, we do not really make the change. Because it’s difficult, we do the same sins over and over thousands of times. We may even go to confession, but we never attack the problem. We may attack the leaves on the tree (the symptoms of our problems) but never discover or hack away at the root of the problems.
We need to commit to change so that we can become the people we want to be remembered as. As extreme examples not always so easily changed, people may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Or, it could be an addiction to sex, fame, porn, or power. Or it could be an addiction to laziness and sloth. just to name a few. When we have addictions, we are like slaves because something else is in control of our life. Are you not tired of being a slave of sin? These things constantly control us and tell us what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and we often have no control over it.
I have struggled with addictions in the past and reached the point where I simply hated being a slave to these things and hated not being able to break free from it. But that led me to literally hating the thing that I felt enslaved to, and I hated it with all my heart. I was frustrated that I could not get break free or get past it, but I also never gave up.
It was hard to accept, and depressing, that I would fall into the same grave sins even though I claimed to love Jesus. I finally grew so sick of it and woke up to the fact that while I didn’t have control of it, I could take back control with the help of Jesus and prayer.
Sick and Tired?
This anger and hatred for the slavery propelled me to do something about it and ultimately make a difference in my life. I wanted to change; I wanted to stop making excuses, to stop fighting halfheartedly, to stop going through the motions, and I told myself, “this has to change.” I wanted to change, but on my own I could not.
This anger was the first step to acknowledgement of the addiction. You first need to hate that slavery and acknowledge the problem. This acknowledgement AND the acknowledgment was accompanied by the fact that I needed the God of the universe to help me. I came to know the love of Jesus and that he never gave up on me. The more you hate the sin in your life, the more you are going to do everything in your life to get rid of it. Then you can seriously start working on it with genuine hope of change.
For example, let’s say you that you have a drug addiction. At some point, you become so sick and tired of it all, that you go home and you throw away every single bit of drugs or possible connections to drugs that could ever find you. You change the numbers on your phone of those who lead you astray, you get rid of all websites that entice you to fall, and you tell someone that you have a problem so that you have accountability to the problem with someone trustworthy.
It is the same thing for pornography. You make an immediate decision to throw it all away, to delete every last bit of it from your phone, to install pop-up blockers,and you get an accountability partner. You do what you need to do to make the change. This is how you can change that slavery. Covenant Eyes is a great site where you can find other people struggling and people who you can be accountable to who can help you. In other words, when your serious, you go to war against your sin. You do everything possible to overcome it and destroy it in your life. If you happen to fall back into it at some point, then you start the same process and the same war over again.
This can be said for smaller things in our lives, too, not just big addictions, including sins that have been plaguing us for years. Make a blueprint, a plan, a plan to attack these sins head on and to do something about it. Of course, we can’t do anything about it without Christ.
The Reason You Fail
Saint Faustina once said that the reason for your falls, your many falls with sin is that you rely too much on yourself and not enough on Christ. Sometimes when we get upset that we sin again, we beat ourselves up. We tell ourselves things like, “I messed up again. I cannot do this. I am bad. I am failure.” We have the devil beating on us and we have him telling us how bad we are and reinforcing in our minds that we are never going to change, that we are never going to get better, etc. but these are lies. We just need to depend more on Christ. We need to get angry at the devil, get angry at the sin, get angry at the slavery, and we need to do something about it. Make the change now, not tomorrow, not the next day.
Do not wait! Make the changes you want in your life. This is what Christ is calling us to do. He is there to take our hand and walk us through it. His grace is powerful. His power is mighty. His life in us is powerful. His love and His mercy is going to change your life.
Persevere with Christ!
Changes in our life depend on the grace of God and running to Him and praying and offering all of our sacrifices. This is what Saint Francis de Sales says to do: offer your communion, offer your rosaries, offer your prayers, your fasting, and your sacrifices all toward the one thing that you want to change. You will see that by praying about it more, by sacrificing and by offering things up for that goal and correction in your life, it is going to happen a lot quicker. You are going to make progress in the spiritual life. This is what we are called to do. This is what Christ is calling you to do.
Take His hand and run with Him. Don’t fall. Don’t get upset when you fail. Get back up. Get angry against the vice. If you fall, say to yourself, “So what? It did it to me again but I am not going to stay down. I am not going to take it. I am going to defeat it. I’m going to rise above this. I am not the sum of my failures. I can do this!” So we get up and we run to Christ again and again and again, asking for His help. We go to confession, receive that grace, we spend time in adoration and soak in His grace, His love and His mercy. We go to Mass and we stay after mass for 10-15 minutes, and just pray for the grace to overcome these things. And we do little fasting throughout the week to give us the grace to overcome.
It’s like Doc Oct in Spiderman when his arms took over him because his inhibitor broke; once he got back in control of his life, his mind was in control and not those arms that tried to control him. When we fast, we give up things in our life and are putting ourselves back in control over our body, over our impulses, over our base passions. We are in control, and we are giving ourselves more to Christ.