Be Always With Christ

 

Copyright © 2015 Molly Sabourin

Not everyone is a fan of orchestrated dinner conversations, but it being Christmas and all, and having been emboldened by a glass or two of Cabernet, I tentatively threw out a discussion question to the loved ones feasting at our table: “What are you hoping to work on in the New Year?” To my relief, no one balked at the predictability of my chosen topic but rather jumped right in and pondered aloud with thoughtfulness and honesty the potential challenges and opportunities facing each of them in 2016.

So engrossed was I in their eye opening and endearing personal revelations, when it came to my turn, I blanked. Gosh, what were my goals? All I could make out in my own scattered brain were a hundred different criss-crossed rabbit trails leading to half-baked personal and professional resolutions I had little confidence I could maintain with any constancy.

Eventually, I mumbled something vague about family time and photography but long after the meal was over and dishes were done, my lack of direction began to eat at me. It isn’t a sense of control I am pining after; I’ve lived long enough to know contentment and micro-management do not go hand in hand. Life is terribly unpredictable – it’s uncertainties can be daunting, even paralyzing at times. Procuring inner calm in the midst of the pervasive craziness coursing through society, our world, my little home, requires no small amount of resilience and flexibility.

No, what I long for is growth, spiritual and creative growth, and for that I do need a plan. You can’t just blindly fall into growth, nor can you buy, borrow or steal it. Growth is earned the hard way through practice, work and repetition – thinking “small and consistent” is key. Growth is the one thing I can control.

Is denying myself and following after Christ more important to me than anything? To be candid with you, it depends on the day. I waste a lot of valuable time on vain and empty pursuits that leave me feeling aimless and unsatisfied, anxious and insecure, thus I am meditating yet again on the wisdom of Father Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, and his 55 Maxims for Christian Living.

Here’s what I’m proposing, to myself that is: Don’t sweat the small stuff, i.e. the mess, the frequent stumbles, those extra five pounds gifted to me when I turned forty. Instead, gauge the quality of this life in terms of healing connections with others and in my oneness with Jesus Christ.

The 55 Maxims never ever fail to realign my priorities and turn my wandering attention back to the one and only thing needful. My modest 2016 goal is to reflect on each and every one of them here on my Grace Here and Now site – to do some old fashioned blogging as a way of tending to those spiritual and creative needs desperate for some TLC and nourishment.

This first post, “Be Always With Christ” is my invitation from myself to myself, and to you if you wish to join me, to regularly and mindfully water and care for my faith that it might not be snuffed out by busyness and earthly cares. We can fall and get up again, fall and get up again together. May God bless you and keep you in His perfect peace.

 

12 comments:

  1. Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Oh, YES! What a beautiful way to challenge yourself – and, through this blog, all of us (THANK YOU!) – in the year ahead! Thank you in advance!!!

  2. I love your new blog and how it draws one to prayer. I’m looking forward to this series. Thank you for sharing your heart, and may you have a blessed New Year.

  3. Thanks so much for writing! I truly appreciate your article here, as it is an excellent follow up to the advice given me by my priest: Ask (Allow) (seek – whatever words he used) God to order your steps, your life” and the minute he said that I knew it was what I needed to hear and that in order to ask that question or to seek My Lord in this manner would require my full attention! Lord have mercy! These Maxims are an excellent resource and encouragement to focus on God and to seek His Order for my life.

    Again, thank you! God bless you and yours in all ways and happy 2016!

  4. Thank you sister. Amen! We are saved in community and not alone. Perhaps that is why new year’s resolutions seem to so gracefully and inconspicuously fall by the wayside for so many every time…because they are often ‘me’ resolutions.. Sometimes the ‘me’ gets worked out when we just focus on the Him and the ‘we’…otherwise why would there be the command to ‘love thy neighbour AS thyself’….Bless you and thank you again. from across the Pacific…

    1. That is such a beautiful and profound way to look at New Year resolutions, Nicki. “Is this a ME resolution or a WE resolution?” is a question I will be posing to myself often this week. Thank you!

  5. “Orchestrated dinner conversations” Words fascinate, they paint pictures and evoke emotions. Your phrase caught my attention as I was rummaging around in AFR land. I thought, yes, I don’t like them. Now that I’ve read your well crafted thoughts, I find that I do like orchestrated conversations (albeit, dependent upon there focus (if I can’t see Jesus, its insipid).

    “Longing for growth, spiritual and creative” Experimenting with “small and consistent” by eating elephants, lots of little ones. One bite at a time.

    “Following after Christ” Absolutely the most important of all. I sure would like to be finished with wasting any more “…valuable time on the vain and empty”

    “Don’t sweat the small stuff” Did you read that book? Just the fine print in the title saved me all the trouble, ‘And its all small stuff’. Not that its stuff that isn’t important but we need not ‘sweat’ in the sense of it getting under our skin and dragging us down. Yes, lets as you say, “…gauge the quality of this life in terms of healing connections with others and in our oneness with Jesus Christ”

    I’ve come here as a help for my own need to be “…tending to those spiritual and creative needs so desperate for some TLC and nourishment”

    I accept your invitation “to regularly and mindfully water and care for” His faith that is in us. Looking forward to hear what pours forth from within you, dear sister.

  6. Hello Molly,
    Thank you for your timely words..again such a good reminder of what my real resolutions should be. I struggle so much with getting caught up in daily routines and messes and “to- do” lists…rather than focusing on “healing connections with others and in my oneness with Jesus Christ”.

    Also, do you know who made the 55 Maxims video above? Fr. Tom is actually my dad, I would love to know who made such lovely video. Thank you and thanks for your blog! Alexandra Sedor

    1. Greetings Alexandra! Thank you so much for getting in contact with me! I cannot express how thankful I am for your father’s ministry. The first podcast I ever heard from him was on understanding the cross and it brought me to tears. I have shared it so many times and have listened to it myself so many times. His teachings, including these maxims, have deepened my faith and and fueled my love for the Mystery of the Church and salvation. The beautiful video was created by Ben Cabe, an Orthodox artist and videographer who started a Youtube channel of Eastern Orthodox videos called Theoria. I pray this new year is a peaceful one for you and your family! God bless you! Thanks again!

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