Welcome to October – the month full of falling leaves, pumpkin spice and festive fall gatherings as we wait with such anticipation for the true change in seasons! Oh, and in the Catholic Church, a month packed with power-house feast days to celebrate, like St. Therese of Lisieux, our Guardian Angels, St. Francis of Assissi, St. Faustina, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Luke, St. John Paul II, St. Jude and more – all leading up to All Saints Day on November 1st!
(All you holy men and women, pray for us!)
Even though it is still 80 degrees and humid in my neck of the woods, I am stoked that it is October and am soooo ready for fall! I love the tastes, smells and sights of the fall and winter months. I have been ready to curl up in a sweatshirt, sip hot tea and breathe in the crisp, cool air since, well, a long while now.
I was working at a coffee shop one day last week. To the left of the counter sat a cute little decorative sign with pumpkins on it that read, “October is proof that change is beautiful.”
I think I need that sign.
Ever since I was a little girl, I believed the thought and bought into the narrative that change is hard. I fought change, holding on to current realities and traditions with all of my might. Even in college (and well beyond), I resisted the urge to grow because I was afraid of letting go of how things “used to be.” I told myself that change was bad and that I would never like it. I believed change was scary and something to resist rather than welcome or even, at the very least, just accept.
As you can imagine, these thoughts became self-fulling prophecies as they led to lots of tears, heartaches and difficulties transitioning and fitting into new stages in life. Honestly, it took until last year to realize just how much consenting to those unchallenged thoughts about change was keeping me stuck and adding unnecessary drama to my life.
Tradition isn’t bad and not everything needs to change. Heck, the Catholic Church has been the same for the past 2,000 years and that’s a good thing. It isn’t supposed to change. (Hence why Jesus instituted apostolic succession and why the traditional aspects of our faith are so revered.)
But we (you and I) are supposed to change.
And we should want to change.
Looking back, I am glad I am not the same person I was in high school, during my freshman year of college, last year or even at the beginning of this summer. I am proud of the ways I have grown and matured and continued to develop and purify my mind and desires. Guess what? That’s change. Good change.
Four months ago I didn’t have a job, know where I was going to live, have any idea how I was going to get involved in a new community or what time with my family was going to look like. Transitioning from working as a campus missionary to serving in this new role with Metanoia Catholic is a change. Moving from Champaign, Illinois, back to Kansas City is a change. Going to various young adult events and gatherings throughout the city to try and meet new people is a BIG change from being surrounded by teammates, roommates and students everywhere I went on campus. Creating a rhythm of life with my family who I live with and see on a daily basis, as opposed to a weekend visit once every other month, is a change. But these all are really good things!
In the past four months I have had new opportunities that I have only dreamed about! I have met new people who have transformed my life and blessed me abundantly. I have gotten to be a part of a team and contribute to a mission that I believe in and know the Lord is using to transform and heal my own heart. I have received invitations to travel and experience new places and cultures in ways that were not possible when I was so tied to a school schedule. I have spent weeknights at my cousin’s soccer games, helped my sister move, helped care for my aging grandparents and have been a part of more family dinners than I have in over seven years!
REALLY GOOD THINGS.
Whether they are big or little changes, being in a state of transition has definitely given me a new opportunity to evaluate how I think about change and plenty of practice for choosing thoughts that incline me toward continued growth, rather than stagnation, disappointment, jealousy and regret.
Want to know how a thought is serving you? The quickest way I have learned is to look at its fruit.
While I was choosing to believe change was bad and something to be feared, I woke up every day and told myself, “I’m homesick.” I was afraid that if I didn’t tell myself I was homesick it meant I didn’t miss or care about my family who was six hours away. I was afraid my love for them and desire to move back to Kansas City or to spend time with them was going to fade and be replaced. I was so consumed with these thoughts that I made myself pretty miserable.
What kind of fruit is that? It was pretty rotten fruit. Yuck.
And I felt “yuck” too. I felt anxious. I felt tired. I felt confused and conflicted about the work I had perceived the Lord had called me to do. I felt not good enough, not strong enough and not holy enough.
I experienced feeling stuck and unable to move forward toward my goals because of the fear that had built up as a result of the negative thoughts I had about change. I actually chose thoughts on purpose that would prevent me from growing because I was so afraid of what, or rather who, I would become.
Do you think those thoughts were from the Lord? HECK NO!
Why was I allowing this fear of change to rule and control my life? I didn’t have a reason other than my thoughts had never been challenged. But, I wasn’t about to give the enemy any more time or power over me. I had dreams I knew were placed on my heart by God. I had a purpose. I had a mission. So, I took my thoughts back!
I still have a lot of work to do on how I perceive change. I still need to ask the Lord to strengthen my mind and my heart and defend me when the fear starts to creep back in. But I am becoming much more aware of the thoughts I allow and trying to be more vigilant about the narratives I choose to believe. Now when I think of change, I try to pause and imagine the changing gold, red and orange leaves of fall. I think of the changing tide and let my mind take me to the lakefront where I have encountered the Lord and felt His sure and steady hand guiding me into the unknown. Those thoughts lead to emotions of peace, hope and joy. From here, it is exciting to consider change. I believe I am empowered, adventurous and courageous.
Do you think these thoughts are from the Lord? Absolutely!
How are your thoughts serving you? Is there a thought that has gone unchallenged in your life? How do your emotions fuel the action (or inaction) occurring in your life?
This workshop will elaborate on how to choose thoughts that lead to emotions that will actually propel you forward toward your goals.
You can register for this LIVE workshop in the Metanoia Catholic Academy or by clicking on the registration link here. A replay of this workshop will be made available immediately following the conclusion of the live event inside the Metanoia Catholic Academy.
I truly am so grateful for you! Thanks for being here.
P.S. You can find the October workshop: How to Use Emotion to Fuel Action in the Metanoia Catholic Academy by logging in (don’t forget to copy and paste your password for best results). Once you are at the Academy landing page, click on “Monthly Workshops and Self-Study” then “Monthly Workshops” on the left hand side of your screen. (Audio and video replays will be posted here by the end of the day on October 5, 2021.) As always email, firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance!