About a year ago, I sat at a high school football game and watched the promenade of the 2014 Homecoming Court. I was proud to know a handful of the kids, as if I hadn't done everything in my power to make them unpopular. I smiled at first when the first kids' name was read and his plans for next year were uncertain. By the time the 14th kid still couldn't decide whether he wanted to be an astronaut or a social worker, I was sitting with my fist in my bemused frown.
Have you ever heard that saying Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can't Lose? It's ironic that I realized under the Friday Night Lights that should describe us, but it very rarely does.
We should have the clarity of our purpose rooted in Scripture, a heart full of grace like Mary's from receiving the sacraments and the confidence that Heaven is our true home. This is made possible through reading scripture every morning with the purpose of renewing our decision to Christ - as Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind."
This is possible by knowing our heart and how we will be tempted - by being proactive. It's possible by making up our mind quickly without petering around because Jesus was never irresponsible. It's possible by remembering that we're made for heaven and meant to bring heaven here on earth.
Know Your Heart:
"The devil doesn't pop out of your closet with a red cape and pointy horns and a glowing pitchfork. He shows up as everything you've ever wanted." (I found the above on Pinterest but couldn't locate the source.)
Have you ever had that happen to you? Where you were so lonely because you just had a fight with your best friend? Or you were desperate for a boyfriend because a dance was coming up, and suddenly - aha! A new person popped into your life and even though you had nothing in common it was like you finished each other's sandwiches? (Frozen reference.) If Anna, from Frozen, had known her own heart - she would have saved herself from a lot of heartache. If she had just stepped back and said Wow, I'm so desperate for love that I'm talking to the paintings on the walls and fantasizing about meeting the love of my life tonight. I should probably be careful
When Jesus was in the desert, how did Satan appear to him? As bread when he was starving. As power when he was weak. As the opportunity to prove himself when he was humiliated.
Satan appears as revenge. Don't let him steal your heart with vengeance. It's important to know our heart because where our heart is, there our treasure is also (Matthew 6:21). The treasure of our happiness, our vocation, our purpose. Know your heart. If you don't look at your emotions through an objective lens, it's easy to get wrapped up in the moment and how you feel. That's what leads us to sin - is emotion. We're so eager to find someone, we're so eager to have laughter, we're so eager to fit in that we forget that we do fit in somewhere. We do have a place we belong. It just doesn't always feel good to belong there (more on that later.)
I wonder sometimes if this world simply gives us too many choices. There's really only two choices: sin, or virtue. Heaven or hell. No matter what people tell you, between however many goods you have to choose between, there is only one that is best.
Make Up Your Mind: 2 Timothy 1:7
You are not called to indecision. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us we are not called to a power of fearfulness or indecision, but the Spirit gives us power, love and self-control or sound-judgment. Power, love and self-control. The Spirit gives us clarity, not confusion.
So we're not supposed to be seniors in high school with still NO clue of where we're going to college! We know that we'll be this person if we go to this school, or we'll come out like THAT person if we go to another school. Who do you want to be? No. That's not the question. It's who YOU ARE. And if you know your heart, it's easy to make up your mind.
You Belong to Heaven: Romans 12:2
Jesus didn't waffle. He knew what He was about and He knew where He belonged - in His Father's kingdom. This life isn't just about patiently waiting for heaven to finally show up. It's about purposefully, determinedly, bringing that kingdom HERE as much as we possibly can. That's our purpose. Living the fruits of the spirit of kindness and gentleness, yes. But we can't exactly do that on our own. As we know - self-control is hard. But if we believe in the Resurrection of the Body, we know that our bodies will be in heaven with us someday. So we can't throw around our sexuality - because we believe in heaven. We won't inject ourselves with a bunch of substances - because we believe in heaven. We desire heaven. And though we want to be there now, we know that sobriety of conscience - knowing our mind and our heart - is how we let Jesus win and our mind be transformed from the ways of the world, to the way of our true home. With Jesus.
You belong to heaven. Which means you don't settle for a cheap match when we were made for fireworks that light up the sky.