Tuesday, May 10: Take the Initiative

“we have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it.”  — My Utmost For His Highest

the greater difficulty for me lay in getting rid of my old habits.

i have been so used to doing the thinking for myself, my family, my business, my workers, and even for my clients for the last 31 years that dropping whatever i am doing just to pray, meditate for guidance, and then totally rely on a vision to solve problems just seemed remote in the life of joy bernaldez.

as incredible as it may sound, there have been times when, after some stupid and sometimes risky blunders, i told my helpers/driver not to think anymore and to just leave the thinking to me.

quite a number of people have accepted it.  i think, act on my thoughts, and they’re okay.

so naturally, whenever i had problems or when others within my circle of concern and  influence had issues, my immediate reaction was to think and find a solution.  and, it would only be when i was no longer succeeding that i would turn to God.

unlearning that habit of relying on my means has been quite a struggle.

the only time i successfully did it was when i took the initiative to regularly set aside time to pray and meditate everyday — morning and evening —  until eventually, praying became something i did many times in one day.

like, when i’m idle in the back seat of the car, i talk to God in my head.   or, if the trip is long enough, i pray the rosary.  or, when i’m fuming mad, i run and complain to Him.

when i am not doing anything even for just a minute, my thoughts always turn to Him.  for example, when i’m at the salon having my hair shampooed, i pray.

when the bundy clock goes off for the 12 noon break, i think about Christ waiting for me at church.

when i pass by another church in a rush for another appointment, i wonder what He might be thinking.

when i see food on the table, i praise God for His provision.

when i see the poor, i think about Jesus that He would give their families a break.

when i think of my grand kids, i think about our doting God that He keeps them safe and happy.

when i think of my kids, i pray that He protects and guides them to always choose good over bad.

when i think about my workers, i thank the Lord for them.

when i think about this man i’m with, i tell God that He better makes sure He knows exactly what He is asking of me.  🙂

when i fail to say my night prayers,  i find myself the following morning  thinking back “did i really forget to say goodnight?  sorry, Lord.”

and, believe it or not, even when i am hovering between being awake and being asleep,  my thoughts go straight to the One in heaven.

well, i guess i have become so in love with Him that He now occupies my mind too much.

but that did not come easy.

in my prayer times,  i used to find myself with nothing more to say.  or, i got bored.  or, i felt i had more urgent things to do. or, i felt like i was just pretending.  on moments like these,  i still opted to stay on in a prayer mode, staying quiet and gazing at Him or the Blessed Sacrament.  or, i would read the bible and other spiritual books to learn more about Him.

the more i learned about Him, the more i relied on Him.  the more i could rely on Him, the more i loved Him.  a natural reaction, yeah?

but regarding my salvation? nah, not my department.  i have left that entirely to Him.

my focus here on earth is to stay away from sin as best as i can.  but needless to say, it is and will always be a struggle.

life on earth is just too complicated, too deceiving, too full of distractions.  it simply is difficult to remain righteous through and through, 24/7.   i am often caught off guard.  before i know it, i had hurt someone’s feelings because i said something or did something uncalled for.

but i am not complaining.  nothing is impossible for God.  i am a work in process.  i know that for as long as i continue living in Him and Him in me, i can never go far.

“did i embarrass You, my Lord?  if i can express my love for some man, allow him to occupy my thoughts and speak of him whenever i am not with him, why can i not speak of You from the fullness of my heart, my sweet Jesus?  thank you for Your love.”  

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