He Made You for More
In a two-week period this winter, I went from looking at engagement rings and picking a wedding date to single and searching.
Not for a man, but for a lost identity. For most of 2019, I struggled with despair and general blech. Circumstances at work and in my personal life weren’t great, but they weren’t horrid. I just was unhappy and battling what I like to refer to as “the burden of truth.”
I was raised by a remarkable woman. A convert to Catholicism who had six kids by two less than stellar fathers. From the time my baby brother was 2, she took care of us on her own with love and strength unmatched. And she taught us the faith. Because of her witness and the principled, simple way she showed us the truths of the Church, I grew up attracted to truth and convicted by it.
But as I got older and realized how crumby the world could be and how few people were living for excellence, the narrow way became claustrophobic. Over the years, I paid lip service to the faith, while in my heart and life I resentfully sought to shake the “burden of truth.” If excellence and holiness promised freedom, why did I feel so stuck?
Which brings us back to 2019 and the despair. I can say with confidence, through experience, that giving up the fight and living “freely” in and for your passions is literal hell.
So, when I woke up in a panic the day after looking at rings, I said to God, “Lord, I need clarity.”
Girl, be careful what you ask for.
That same day, I flew to Phoenix to work my organization’s booth at FOCUS’s annual conference- thousands of Catholic college kids on their quest for holiness or friendship or free stickers and 5 days filled with speakers, music, Adoration, Confession, and Mass. Even though I wasn’t there as a participant, there was so much grace in the air. God knew exactly what He was doing.
In short, I got clarity. As I sat at least 70 rows back at Adoration one night with the Eucharist shining in the dark, it felt analogous to real life. There He was, alive and inviting, and I was so far away. I got up and sobbed to a poor priest at a Confession-turned-counseling-session and I told him how I had felt at Adoration. He said, “Life is hard. But God never, ever turns His back. If He is far away, it’s because you’ve walked away.”
I knew the priest was right but wasn’t sure how to begin what seemed like a long trek back to Him. (Disclaimer: that part is still a work in progress). BUT, what did hit me over the head was how sloppy I was living and how miserable it was making me. I realized in those 5 days that I was a wreck, that my “happiness” was entirely circumstantial, that my life was filled to the brim with distraction, and that whatever my vocation is, I wasn’t living it.
Most importantly, though, I had this deep, peaceful conviction that God had a plan for me, that He was calling me to excellence as His gift to me, not a curse. The Holy Spirit peeked in and revealed that holiness, perfection, excellence- they’re not about me getting it right. Christ came to “get it right,” to make all things new. He died and rose to take our ridiculous, broken wretchedness and heal us and bring us back to the path that leads to indescribable freedom and joy.
Abba wants to show you, too, in His clear, patient, and adorably gentle yet loud way, “I made you for more. I made you for true and lasting happiness that far exceeds and overpowers your circumstances or brokenness. My dreams for you are magnificent. So up and at ‘em, girl. The highroad has your name all over it.”
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Bridget is from outside Boston but resides in Washington, DC where she works for a pro-life nonprofit in government relations. She played soccer and softball while attending Christendom College in VA. She’s a big fan of invading the personal space of other people’s dogs, going to baseball games on summer nights, and eating McDonald’s #2 meals (no mustard, add mayo).