Do you feel like you’ve lost your way?
Are you thinking about your past, expressing regret and disbelief about the path you find yourself on now?
Are you stuck on a road you feel you may never get off?
Has your road been so long that you can’t even remember how you got on?
First of all, I want to say that you are not alone. It’s absolutely normal for all of us, at one time or another, to feel lost or out of sync with our world. Perhaps nothing makes sense, or this isn’t at all how you pictured your life to be. At this point in time, the essential question is, “How can you get on the right track, move forward, and find your place of JOY on this earth?”
I truly believe the first thing to do, is to have a heart-to-heart conversation with God. Tell Him what you’re feeling. Tell Him the truth, and ask Him to show you a better way…the way to everlasting life. It’s never too early (or too late) for God to show you how to set your crooked path straight.
The second step is to discern what God’s purpose for your life might be. What gifts did He give you? What opportunities has He presented to you? Open yourself up to what He had in mind for you when He wonderfully made you in His image, and to the joys He has prepared for your future. After all of these bumps in the road and unending struggles, He wants to set you free to enjoy a life of truth and light. But in order to listen to God’s voice and hear what He is calling you to do, you must allow yourself to be in His presence so He may reveal Himself to you.
I spend a lot of time working with my clients on how to truly be PRESENT. It’s not easy. When we’re preoccupied with the past or worried about all of the things we have to do tomorrow, or we don’t feel healthy physically or mentally, we become anxious, stressed out, depressed, or even despondent. We lose our focus, and we lose our way. We may think we’ll never be able hear God speak through all of the chaos and confusion.
But the truth is, we need God. We need to feel His presence on an intimate level. He wants to know us and have a relationship with us. So, it is very important that we know how to bring ourselves into the present moment in order to experience Him in our daily existence. We literally need to “train” ourselves to live in the here and now so we can be open to God’s plan for us, and encounter His unending love and goodness.
Here are my suggestions for tuning into your life in the here and now, and beginning a new path to joy with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit:
- Quiet time. Find some time in your day (preferably in the morning when you get up, and also right before bed) when you can be silent, away from all of the noise.
- Breathe. Do some deep breathing. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath for at least five minutes.
- Ground yourself. Get comfortable. Feel your feet on the floor. Close your eyes, then concentrate one at a time, on each of your five senses. What do you hear? smell? feel? taste? see? Use your imagination to picture something beautiful.
- Read scripture. Read or listen to the Gospel of the day, or your favorite Bible passage. Meditate on the Word of God. What does it mean for you personally, today?
- Pray. Tell God whatever is on your mind and in your Heart. What are you grateful for? What do you need? Listen for His voice.
- Set an intention for your day each day, with God’s will in mind. What would Jesus have you do today?
- Move your body. Even if you are tired or don’t feel like it, do something: walk, swim, dance, stretch…whatever you enjoy, find a way to move.
- Stay in community. We are meant to live with others. Connect with people—call a friend or family member, volunteer somewhere, go to Mass, join a group, send a card to someone who is lonely or sick, visit your neighbor.
- Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat a best friend, giving yourself time to refresh and relax. Stop negative criticism toward yourself and speak with tenderness and patience.
- Seek help. If you need help, reach out. Find a friend, a counselor, a priest, a doctor, a spiritual director, a support group…someone who can journey with you; you are not alone.
Remember that even Jesus, the Savior of the World, suffered. He turned to quiet time and prayer, connecting fully with His Father to seek His will.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me;
still, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:2
Our Lord, and our Father, want us to be well. He wants us to be filled with His love, and He wants to meet us on the beautiful road toward Heaven. Delight in His endless presence.
He is with us, always, on the path to JOY.
“The JOY of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
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