Returning to social media after taking a break for Advent has led to much introspection. I noticed immediately that I was falling back into addictive patterns and that my mental health was starting to decline. It really helped me to identify some vices I need to work on: pride and envy.
I have always been a leader and a lover of talking. This is not necessarily a vice but if left unchecked by humility, introspection and charity, it can grow into an ugly animal. When I initially converted to Protestantism I wanted to be a pastor. I soon saw that this was clearly prohibited by scripture but I still felt drawn to teach in some way. I soon became enamored by apologetics. I wanted to convince and convert people to my particular brand of Protestantism, so that they would be saved.
Now as a Catholic I still love apologetics but having been so haughty and anti-Catholic for so long has given me another perspective. It also makes me afraid of misspeaking as I have in the past. Despite this, there is still a lingering desire to be a cool apologist lady.
But apologetics seems widely a man’s field right? So I have gotten swept up with the idea of being Miss Productive Mommy. With so many Youtube/blogging/twitter/ Instagram mommas who seem to have it all together and an etsy shop on the side to boot, it seems like I can hardly compete. There are so many people doing so much; it feels like I’m left behind in the dust.
But this is not true.
The desire to be something has blinded me to what I already am!* God has blessed me with so much already. We are not supposed to compete with our sisters.
A few years ago I was dreaming about having a handsome, loving husband and a child and here I am! What more can I want than what I have? My pride has led me to have false ambitious; my envy has caused me to desire attention. May God forgive me for this.
A lot of what I want is good: a schedule where I can exercise, a lot of babies to homeschool and love, clear skin, maybe a side gig to supplement our income. But these things must be placed at the foot of the cross. I must thank God for the blessings He gives others and ask that I would have the humility to work for God rather than man.
The reality is that most of us are called to serve God in the little things: in the shadow of our homes, in pouring a glass of water, in rocking a baby to sleep. We are called to holiness and martyrdom, not fame and grandeur.
Even when I work to please my husband, I must remember that it is ultimately for God’s glory. Even if the world does not notice or appreciate, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4).
What I truly need is:
Charity to help me to work in a spirit of love and self-giving; to make my home a place of peace and comfort.
Discipline so that I may flee from sloth. It is essential so that I may efficiently run my home like the Proverbs 31 woman and so that I may be healthy.
To develop an interior life so that I may be present and worship God in everything that I do. That God would purify me and use me to spread His Gospel, joy and true peace.
Humility so that I may know myself as I truly am. To not take on more than I can handle for praise from others but, work at what is before me day by day. To foster a humility that promotes silence, so that I may listen more than I speak. (Litany of Humility here)
In other words I need the Holy Spirit.
On the internet, one is bombarded with people doing amazing things, with criticism (both reasonable and unreasonable) and this is in addition to our own fight against the flesh. May our “thoughts be held captive in obedience to Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 10:5) which is only possible through prayer, meditating on scripture and frequenting the sacraments.
If God calls me to anything more, glory to Him forever! But right now my job is to “discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” ( 1 Corinthians 9:27) and to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). My ministry is my home and those around me. Deo gratias
* Something by Hans Christian Anderson is a quaint short story that is related to this. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you all to read it