An Invitation to Obedience
Earlier this year, I embarked on the journey of Fiat90 with a small group of friends. Fiat90 is a 90-day program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to prepare for Easter. You may have heard of the men’s version, Exodus90, which involves cold showers and 5 a.m. alarms and such, but Fiat90 is geared towards the feminine heart and (praise God) no cold showers were happening over here.
At the start of the program, we each picked ten things from a list of about 25 activities to commit to; options included fasting from gossiping, complaining, social media, YouTube, sweets, and TV, and adding in daily practices of mass and the rosary, prayer time, etc. Each participant was free to choose the activities they felt God was calling them to commit to. Immediately, I felt called to a few things, and one of them was giving up alcohol.
But approximately six days into Fiat90, I swapped it out for something else. “I don’t have a problem with alcohol – I’m in business school! If I’m not drinking with everyone else, I’ll look lame. Will events even be fun?” I honestly couldn’t fathom the idea of three whole months without drinking – who wants a sober spring break or a sober ski trip; I need my wine nights with girlfriends!
But ever since I dropped my alcohol fast in January, the call has been nudging my heart. Why is it so hard and so scary to let this go? I wondered, before inevitably pushing the thought away again and ordering a glass of wine.
As He often does, the Lord continued to invite me to trust Him in obedience. I felt the Holy Spirit holding out His hands, waiting for me to release my grasp on drinking for something better. He was gentle but insistent, encouraging, and firm. So this past month, I embarked on “Sober October.” And, as is usually the case when I’m *finally* obedient to the Lord’s call, it was spectacular.
On October 1, I joked to a friend, “At the end of this month I’m going to be sleeping so well, my skin will be glowing, I’m going to feel so great and less anxious, and it’s going to be so annoying.” And what do you know? Here I am, October 31, reveling in the gift of this past month. I have come to know myself so much better – completely surprising myself with the situations in which I did want a drink, and the many (many) situations in which I was relieved to have an excuse to enjoy a mocktail. In social situations (which I expected to be the hardest to enjoy) I have never felt more fully or confidently myself. I loved being totally present, and not having to relive and rethink things I said or shared after a drink or two. And nothing was better than sliding into bed each night, tired and sober and ready for a good night’s sleep.
This is not an email telling you to stop drinking (although, if God is prompting you to cut back I highly recommend it). This is about obedience – a virtue and even a vow taken during Holy Orders because it’s that important. For almost a year I was Jonah, running away from Ninevah because I didn’t want to lose the comfort of curling up with a glass of wine. And I bet there are things in your life, too, that the Lord may be inviting you to release to Him, even if just for a season.
I can say this because I know there are other places I have yet to be obedient. There are many other things I am clinging to (cough cough, Instagram) that I know I would be much happier without. But God rarely rips things out of our hands – like me playing fetch with my family’s dog, He waits patiently for me to drop the ball and trust Him to throw something much better.
Here’s a prayer for all of us as we strive to live obedient to the Holy Spirit:
Lord, I give you permission to reveal to me the places where I have yet to be obedient to You. Show me how I can live more freely, more fully, more completely in Your will. I trust that everything You have for me is good and that You know me better than I know myself. Please give me the courage to say yes to You today. Amen.
What we’re loving lately:
Ep. 89 | Surrendering control
- In faith and life, one of the toughest struggles we face is our desire to be in control. It sometimes feels like we just can’t help it – we grasp and fight and do everything we can to get what we want, or to make things happen. But God has so much more for us, and He wants to free us from this exhausting (and fruitless) fight. This week, I’m sharing three things that have helped me loosen my grip, trust God, and surrender control. Tune in here on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
- Mmm this hymn opened up the mass this weekend and it hit me right in the feels. There’s something about classical church music that hits my heart, especially when I’m in a beautiful church with an organ and a talented cantor. I found this version on my walk home and loved it.
Watch marathons at your own risk!
- This weekend was the DC Marine Corps Marathon and I had a BALL cheering on my awesome friends who raced! But watching all those people have so much fun bit me with the bug again and I may have signed up for Chicago 2024… oops! Come run with me 🙂
Last call!! Join our virtual Fall Book Club! He Leadeth Me
- We’re officially doing it: a SundayMonday book club!! We’ll be doing two Zoom book discussions (in person if you’re in the DC area!) on November 12 (ch. 1-10) and December 10 (ch.11-end!)! Please get the book and sign up here if you haven’t yet!
A prayer I’m loving
- My Lord and my God: into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal. – St. Josemaria Escriva
I love that Catholics are fighting to reclaim Halloween, and the battle cries seem especially loud this year. Bishop Barron even released a Word on Fire video on his Pro-Halloween stance! My friend Delaney and I went all out for Halloween this year – her commitment to the green paint was truly stunning. I’m planning on going for a walk through one of my favorite DC neighborhoods tonight to see all the cute trick-or-treaters! I hope you have a wonderful evening 🙂
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.