A friend of mine has a Catholic blog called En Fuego, where he talks about how he is living out his Catholic faith. It’s a great blog, and I highly recommend you check it out if you are a Christian looking for some examples of what faith in action looks like! Recently, my friend Randell has taken En Fuego beyond the blogging world to the world of podcasts. He’s just starting out, so you should totally go and follow him on social media and give his content a listen and a rating on iTunes.
Last week he interviewed me about my time as a Student Athlete, specifically how I lived out my Catholic faith during my time as a Division 1 College Athlete. Now I could have talked a lot longer than an hour about this subject. But have no fear, this blog is here and you shall see some post in the future about my time as an athlete student. I played soccer for 16 years, so you could say it was a big part of my life.
One of the things I mentioned in the podcast was a folder I made before I entered college. The summer before I went to college was a really low point for me in my faith. It was the first time since my reversion, back to my Catholic faith, that I had purposely lived my life away from God. For most of the summer, I had this teenage angsty attitude with God. I was mad at Him, because I felt like He was holding out on me and purposely making things more difficult for me. . . I thought my life was totally unfair! (I know typical self-centered teen!) It was weird because there was no event or circumstance that made me feel slighted by God. I guess pride just got the best of me and I thought I knew better. Anyways, the Lord pursued me through this time and brought me out of my teenage angst stage.
A couple weeks before I was scheduled to leave for college, I started to prepare. I knew that although God had saved me from darkness, the darkness would not rest and would continue to try and steal me away. After much prayer and reflection, I realized that the reason I walked away from God that summer was because I forgot who I was. I forgot who God was. Instead of taking those big life question of “Who am I?” and “Who is God?” to the Lord, I decided to leave them unanswered and rough it on my own.
I knew that navigating college on my own in college would be dangerous for my faith and personhood. I would argue that student athletes face much more temptation to sin than your normal college student, and I did not want to fall into sin. So the last week before I left for college, I took a manila envelope and stuffed it full of things that would remind me of who I was. I filled it with scripture, letters and notes I was given throughout high school, saint quotes, and other personal items. This folder, known as the who am I folder, stuck with me through that first year and through the rest of my time as a college. It was my touchstone, and it was one of the first things I would grab if I was ever feeling afraid or confused. This was a great exercise for me to do before college, and a great tool to have with me through my time as a college student. It not only provided me with joy and hope through dark times, but it also held me accountable and helped me remember that the Lord is the one who can answer all those big questions of life.
From time to time, all of us go through periods of confusion where we wonder who we are, where we are going, and where is the Lord as we journey through life. I’ve gone through the valley of darkness a few times in my short time here on this earth, but I have never gone through it alone. Through my struggles and through my darkness, God has been in tireless and fearless pursuit of my heart and soul. Today is the feast day of my homegirl and favorite Saint, Mother Teresa. I could blog about her for ages, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I’d like to leave you with a beautiful quote by her, and also challenge you to never forget who you are and who God is. . . Who are you? A worthy child of the Lord God Almighty. Who is God? He is your loving Father who want to be apart of your life and sustain your life. If you feel confused or forgotten or hopeless, God to the altar and spend some time with your God. Let Him remind you or who He is and who you are.
“Jesus wants me to tell you again . . . how much love He has for each one of you—beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it.”
In His love,
To check out my interview with my friend Randell, visit his blog En Fuego or search En Fuego on the podcast App! Make sure to give it a rating if you use the podcast app!