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Guest Post: Boundaries

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This is a guest post from Miranda Kate Mixon, a beautiful young  millennial who blogs at First Class Act: Bringing Classy Back. Share it with all the young women in your circle.

man-on-hill

The most important commitment

you’ll ever make

Today we hear a lot about young adults and our fear of commitment. As a generation, millennials tend to switch jobs more often, wait longer to get married and to buy a home. Various sources list different reasons for this. Some say it’s because we value lifestyle over economic stability (i.e. we’d rather be able to have a job that allows us more flexibility than get paid more), others say that we simply can’t afford to get married, or buy a car or a home (potentially due to our emphasis on flexibility > pay). And then there’s those who say it all comes down to our fear of commitment itself.

As a millennial who knows a lot of other millennials, I would say that each of these reasons may factor in to an extent. And while the fact that we may have a fear of committing- especially to other people- is slightly concerning, there is another commitment I’ve come to learn is actually more important.

Commitment to ourselves.

Ooooohhh, what’s that?

I’ll tell you.

As an avid reader myself, one of my favorite online publications is called Verily Magazine. All about lifestyle, relationships & health. I love how the contributors offer refreshing perspectives on today’s various issues and challenges and how we can face them with grace and a good attitude.

A few months ago, I emailed one of the Verily contributors named Zach Brittle. For a while I read Zach’s column called “Intentional Marriage.” I love his style and the great advice he offers as a marriage counselor. Even though I am not married, I  have always found relationships fascinating and love learning about what makes for a healthy marriage (#goals, amiright).

I decided to email Zach because I had recently entered into my first relationship and had a question that  I felt required a more experienced perspective. My question was this:
How can I be more selfish?

I know that may seem like an odd question – it kind of is – but it is also one that I feel is highly relevant and valid. When we start dating someone, I think a lot of us have a tendency to make the other person a priority over pretty much everything else…including ourselves. Family, friends, extra-curricular activities and self-care take the backseat as we focus on this new person who we want to learn more about – which requires a fair amount of time and energy.

The thing is, you can’t expect to enter into a relationship with someone and not expect your life to change. So where do you draw the line? How do you ensure you’re being fair to the other person and your relationship while also staying true to who you are and what you need. We can’t expect to be fulfilled by the other person; to do so would be a) not possible and b) unfair to the other person – so essentially incredibly unhealthy and a recipe for disaster.

Zach’s response was both very wise and very generous- not to mention super helpful. His main point was this:
Before you can commit to someone else, you have to be committed to yourself.

What does this mean?

In his words: ‘Crafting a plan for how to take care of your mind, your body, your heart, your soul.’

Genius, right?

How are you committing to yourself? What is your plan to challenge yourself intellectually, your plan to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually? A plan that you make and stick to. A commitment you make to and for yourself- not for anyone else.

Zach emphasized that really my question was about self-care, which is NOT selfish because it allows us to love the other person without any strings attached. 

You’re no longer looking to the other person to feel confident or to make you happy (again, not possible), but rather appreciating them simply for who they are. After all, isn’t that what we want, too?

We don’t want to be needed, we want to be wanted.

This topic is supremely important to me and a challenge I’ve decided to accept whole-heartedly. I hope you’ll consider doing the same, as your future (or current) s/o will thank you. I may even post this plan at a later date- please feel free to share any commitments you make for yourself! I’d love to hear about it.

Yes, our generation may face a fear of commitment, but that won’t end until we learn to commit to ourselves first.

Thanks, Zach.

Do Not Fear: “God Is with You”

Introductory Prayer

Father, you created me and put me on earth for a purpose.
Jesus, you died for me and call me to complete your work.
Holy Spirit, you help me to carry out the work for which I was created and called.
In your presence and name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I begin my reflection.
May all my thoughts and inspirations have their origin in you and be directed to your glory. logo-small

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

At the conclusion of every Mass we are sent, sometimes even with the words, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” We are a people on the move, a living Body that desires constantly to grow; we are chosen by God, anointed with His love, to bring good news to all. Jesus promised to equip us for this mission, and assures us that we do not labor alone or unsupported. He tells us not only that the seeds we sow will respond differently according to the hearts we encounter, but that His Word must first grow in our hearts. We are the light of the world, alight with the fire of God’s love; even a small spark can set a forest ablaze.

This mission, this task which Christ has entrusted to us, can be daunting; it is daunting. We are striving to labor with Christ for the salvation of souls, with our own salvation still being worked out at the same time. We may find ourselves completely overwhelmed, helpless, or so discouraged at our failures–actual or perceived–that we are tempted to despair, and giving up altogether seems like our only alternative.

When the storms of discouragement rage around us, when our culture seems unyielding or even hostile to the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), when it seems we are failing left and right and the fruit we desire to lay at our Lord’s feet has not grown, do not be afraid. You might come into a dark time of struggle in your faith and wonder, “Where are you, Jesus?”

Our Gospel today ought to bring us great consolation: Jesus never abandons us. Even should He be asleep, He is yet there; our God is a God that does not slumber (Psalm 121:4) and always guards us. Even when the storm arose at sea and His friends feared disaster, what could befall them if Jesus was there, asleep or otherwise? When God is silent in our lives, when it seems we are abandoned, we must have faith that we are not alone. We are the children of the perfect Father who says, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) We are members of the Body of Christ; can He forget Himself? We are anointed with the Spirit of God; our Baptism, our Confirmation cannot be undone. God’s silence does not equal His absence; He is there.

Do not fear, then, whatever the world throws at your faith, whatever holds you back from serving the Lord and continuing His mission. His Word never returns to Him without effect (Isaiah 55:11), and that impulse to grow and bear fruit, should we seek to suppress it, will become like a fire in our heart that cannot be ignored. (Jeremiah 20:9) Be not afraid! God is with you; love Him, serve Him as best you are able, and know that all success, all fruit comes about by His grace, even if it seems we have failed. The storms of opposition may blow against you, but the Lord of Heaven and Earth is there with you, and He will not leave. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jacob Boddicker, S.J.