Hello! I hope this was a welcome surprise in your inbox (assuming you subscribe to my posts... if not, get ya booty on over here and subscribe so you don't miss another post). After a three month hiatus (yikes!) from posting in this little journal, I'm pleased to say, I'm back :) While I had hoped to write a post by now with my resolutions for the new year and explaining my online absence, January came and went, and here we are. I still hope to write the aforementioned post (you're looking at the girl who posted about her wedding on her 2nd anniversary... those who know me well are probably not surprised by my tardiness) but, for now, suffice to say that grad school, personal struggle and growth, and real life priorities got in the way. (To keep up with me when I seemingly go silent on this side of things, make sure you're following me on Instagram, @withalittlegrace_. If you're not on IG, have no fear, you can catch my 'mini-posts' by clicking the little square photos at the bottom of this page under "follow along..." at any time!)
So what the heck am I talking about when I say "real life priorities"? I'm talking about my two most important identities: (1) daughter of God and (2) wife. About a month ago the Gospel at Mass was the story when Jesus gives St. Peter the mission to be his disciple—specifically, to be the rock on which Jesus builds His church. Jesus signifies this new mission—this new life, new identity!—by changing Peter's name from Simon to Peter, which means "rock." His mission (Jesus' disciple and first Pope of the Church) is characterized by a new title (Peter)—altogether, a new identity. We, too, get titles for each mission we are given, signifying each of our identities. When I was baptized into the Church, my new identity was a daughter of God. On July 3, 2015, I became a wife. But, like St. Peter's name change, these new titles did not come without a mission. These identities were not just meant to be an outward name change, but external signals of a new life, a new mission. These titles are not just meant to be nouns tacked on to the list of things I do—runner, baker, therapist, writer. No, these titles are missions, meant to be lived out.
So, what does it mean to live these identities out as missions? Well, as a "daughter of God," God and my personal relationship with Him should come first in my life. As my beloved Fr. Mike likes to say, prayer isn't something that enhances our relationship with God, prayer IS our personal relationship with God! So, I make time to spend alone with Jesus every day—well, almost every day, if I'm being honest. Second is my identity as a wife, so after prayer, I make time to spend with Anthony. I'm not talking about just watching TV side-by-side (although we have ourselves a good cry watching This Is Us and gotta love some good ol' Fixer Upper!) or looking at our phones lying next to each other in bed (phones are off-limits in bed for us). Rather, I'm talking about having a mini reunion each time one of us walks in the door, sitting down to dinner together every night, or having impromptu weekday lunches together. Now, these things sound very nice, and they are. Spending time talking with God and quality time with Anthony are things I do in some capacity every day. But to do so intentionally—to give each of them quantity and quality of my time rather than just what's convenient—falls through the cracks much more easily than I'd like to admit. I have a paper due, a midterm to study for, a friend who is in real need of comfort, a blog post to write, an Instagram feed to scroll through, a workout to do, family members to catch up with, class to attend, work to go to, cookies to make, dishes to do... the list goes on. For you, the list might include caring for young children or aging parents—and I can't even imagine where those lists start and end—or traveling or volunteering or grocery shopping or driving the kids from A to B to C to D... Important things and not-so-important things (read: social media, screen time) fill up our to-do lists, our minds, and our time.
So when my planner is full and my mind even fuller, I try to remember what I once heard my mom's friend, Mrs. Dirksen, explain at the famous Church Ladies' rosary group. She elaborated how in life we often juggle so many balls, that we have to drop some. But, she emphasized, we have to drop the rubber ones that can bounce back up, not the glass ones that will break. For me, the glass ones are my relationship with God and my marriage—the ones for which I have a mission—and the rubber ones include things like writing for WALG—although it is a favorite hobby of mine, bar none. So when life gets crazy, busy, or overwhelming, it's okay to say no, to not do it all, to drop the ball... or a few. Just make sure we drop the balls which will bounce back up, not the glass balls, those which represent our core identities, our missions in life. For it is often our most important missions that we start to lose sight of first when other, louder duties come clamoring for our attention.
What is your mission? Remember it. Name it. Prioritize it.