What We Give Back to God

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about talent and not wasting our days. I’ve been thinking about procrastination, scrolling on social media, and browsing the internet. I’ve been thinking about work and responsibility.

I’ve been praying for change.

Last night, I was sitting in my car outside my parents house. My wife was finishing up a phone call while I stared out the window. There I saw a tulip with a light shining on it.

A single tulip just resting in the light.

The tulip I saw

I started thinking…

God has given us all a tulip when we are born. A gift to grow and water. We know what waters our tulip and helps it grow. We all have the duty and the responsibility to care for this gift. Using our talents we water the tulip and feed it with the light it needs. When we watch our days go by the flower withers. When we head off course the flower loses its brilliance.

At the end of our life the tulip will be finished growing.

What will your tulip look like when you give it back to God?

Ants in Your Pants

A couple months ago.

I was walking around my apartment when I saw it.

An ant.

The tiniest little guy squirming around on my floor.

So I got rid of him and went on my way.

A few moments later I look at the floor and see another one.

Then another one.

Then another one…

I can feel my blood pressure start to elevate.

Where are they coming from?

What are they doing in my apartment?

Why now?

Long story short, I had a lot planned for that day but I wasted it.

Those pesky ants effected me so much physiologically that I could not concentrate.

I slept thinking I felt something crawling on my legs.

I went out and bought traps.

When I studied in my apartment, I would see one, and that would be it.

The other day I realized something about my ant experience. It is very much like how I am effected by the small annoyances.

You see the big things don’t bother me. Medical emergencies, I envision myself pretty cool, calm, and collected. Speaking in front of a giant crowd? What a rush. Getting lost in a city, not a problem.

But a few ants, and I can’t think straight. Missing one question I should have gotten on a test and I feel like a failure. Saying the wrong thing to someone, and it spins around in my head all day. Thinking negatively about someone and I beat myself up with the guilt. Needing to get gas on a busy day, and I get really stressed. It’s the little things…the little ants, that can drive many of us away from peace.

So, what is one to do about it?

Recognize that the ant is there and move forward.

Put it into perspective.

It is just a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of life.

You have work that needs to be done.

If we start allowing the ants of daily life to grab our attention we will live our lives staring at the floor.

We have to make a choice. To choose our purpose rather than our distraction.

Recognize the power that you have; given to you by God.

You have a mission friend, don’t let the ants in your pants prevent you from living it boldly.

 

 

Are you giving it your all?

“Are you giving it your all?”

This question comes up during many different times in my day.

When I’m studying…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m working out…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m at Church…am I really giving this my all?

When I’m talking to a family member…am I really giving this my all?

A lot of the times, this question arises because I am not. I notice that I am losing focus and procrastinating. When working out for instance, I notice myself choosing the lighter weight or taking a different path on the run.

To be honest, this question plagues me.

This might be you too?

There are many positives to being bombarded with this question.

Like, the hope of improvement.

Or, the constant search to be like Christ in virtue and love.

However, the flip side is many vices can dwell in this thought.

When giving it your all, is focused solely on you, it may transform into pride.

As usual, the Big Man Upstairs, gives us an answer to the question.

This is what Mark’s Gospel teaches us:

“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12: 41-44

What can we learn from this?

This poor woman, in her poverty, gave all she had. Notice, the Lord mentions her poverty? We too like this women are poor. Maybe not financially, but what about the poverty of our daily life.

The poverty of focus.

The poverty of endurance.

The poverty of zeal.

Christ teaches us that when we give our all in these moments of poverty, we are giving even more than if we had abundance.

We must remember; however, that our “giving” must be aligned towards Christ and not ourselves.

So when you can’t focus and you just want to put that book down, offer the moment up to Christ and continue reading.

When you don’t want to run that extra mile, offer the moment to Christ and continue running.

When you are having trouble focusing in Church, redirect your eyes to Christ and allow Him to fill you even if just for a millisecond.

Friends, you can give it your all, if you give it to Him.

Procrastinating by Looking Up How to Not Procrastinate

Motivation. We all are looking for it.

Praying, when we sit down to do our work the Lord will come down and fill us with a zeal for what we are doing.

Sometimes, it happens.

The room temperature is perfect.

The coffee is soothing the soul.

The hum of rain sets the perfect background noise.

However, for me anyway, this is pretty rare.

The motivation to sit down and get done what I need to is more than hard.

It feels like a battle. A constant battle between fidgeting my legs, doing something more fun, eating more food, checking my phone, calling someone, legit anything.

A lot of times when this is the case, I procrastinate by looking up ways to not procrastinate!

All of my procrastination searches, lead to absolutely one thing.

More procrastination, and absolutely nothing else.

Which is kind of unfortunate.

However, if I can sum up my findings it is this.

“Act, and God will act”

-St.Joan of Arc

 

All to often, we allow the difficulty of starting a task prevent us from having an opportunity for God to work in our lives.

God comes to us in times of need and gives us all that we need.

How do we expect Him to give us a zeal to do our work well, when we do not even begin?

Therefore, we have one obligation.

The duty to start.

Then it is not our problem anymore.

God will take care of it.

This “giving of the task” to God is like a ball rolling down a hill.

All we have to do is give the ball (the task) a slight push and God will take it where it needs to go.

God works in our lives like the hill.

Once we let go, and give the slightest push, our task will reach its completion.

Therefore, stop procrastinating by finding ways to stop procrastinating.

ACT. And I promise you, God will act. Trust in His power.

 

 

Prayer and Procrastination

I am procrastinating right now.

I hate it.

This week I have two big medical school tests.

Am I ready?

Not even close?

Do I want to get a good grade?

Of course.

Have I been working hard?

Yes.

So what’s the problem?

Today, I want to write a little about procrastination and staying focused. As someone that has many issues focusing/sitting still, studying is very hard for me. I have tried everything. Running while listening to lectures. Writing on a white board. Pacing and reading my powerpoints. At the end of the day, I somehow manage to get it done.

However, things are a little different in medical school. In order to succeed one must be able to focus for an insane amount of hours in the day. My school recommends studying for 8-10 hours. Umm. Yeah.

I’ve been struggling to keep up with my classmates. I have been struggling to keep up with the boat load of material.

Only one thing has helped me get through it all.

That is prayer.

Prayer has allowed me to calm my overactive mind.

Prayer has allowed me to put my situation into a new perspective.

Prayer has reminded me that I am not in this alone.

Friends, I encourage you to take time out of your day for prayer and reflection. I promise you it will make the journey much easier. Procrastinate with prayer and you won’t be wasting time…in reality you will be doing the best thing you can do with your time.

A Millennial’s Guide to Restlessness 

Hey Millennials!

I am here to give you a ten step guide on how to feel restless every single day of your life. Not just 5 days a week. BUT EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Yes, this is a great deal. For a one time payment of your entire life I will teach you how to drown yourself in anxiety and despair. This guide was composed based on experience and stories of experts. 

Thank you for your purchase. 

Enjoy! 
10 Steps to Restlessness: A Millennial’s Guide



1. Zeal is coffee 

You want zeal? You want to feel passionate about something? If that’s the case drink as much coffee as you can. One cup not doing it? Try two or three! Eventually you will become so addicted you will feel like you are doing work when you actually aren’t! What a score. Your high heart rate and energetic attitude will feel almost as if you are passionate about something! And that silly crash? Don’t worry about it! Just drink another. And another. And another. 

2. Emotions and rabid squirrels.  

In order to stay restless you must never tell anyone about how you are feeling. Whether it be a loving parent or a friend. I repeat. Don’t tell them! Bottle it up and let it run around in you like a rabid squirrel. The emotions such as anger and sadness are especially powerful! If you have those boy are you lucky! Lock them up inside you and throw away that key. 

3. Every follower is your best friend

Treat every Instagram follower and Facebook friend as your bff for life. If they do not like a photo something must be wrong with you! Use this to question yourself continuously for hours as to why you aren’t good enough. Every time someone unfollows you it must be because you are a terrible person. Once again, the key here is to think about all the times in the past when people made fun of you and try to see what they see. They are obviously your best friends, so they must be right.

4. Stay in Bed 

In order to stay restless stay in bed for hours. Use this time to ruminate about all of your life’s troubles. For a double effect go on social media while in bed. Don’t get up early and see the sun rise. Don’t take deep breaths and think about all you are grateful for in this world. Don’t count sheep. Count your problems. We all got at least 99 right? That should do the trick.  

5. Frowning is the new smile

Turn that frown right side up and show it off to the world! If you smile you may actually feel happiness. Avoid that at all costs. Frown at your parents. Frown at loved ones! Frown at strangers! Let that sorrow fill you up. Restlessness will soon follow. 

6. Throw away your sneakers

Do you own a nice pair of nifty tennis shoes? Throw them out! Like to participate in sports and workout? Forget it. Working out will only give you peace of mind. That is not what we are looking for here! In order to stay restless rid yourself of all workout clothes. To be sure only wear jeans from now on. A really tight pair. That way it is impossible. Whenever you feel like working out refer to tip #4. 

7. Avoid loved ones

At all costs avoid the people that love you. When at the dinner table use your phone. When at a family party sit in the corner. When hanging out with friends preoccupy yourself with social media. In order to feel restless you must work on destroying these relationships. If an individual starts initiating deep conversation counter it with “I’m good.”  Works every time. However, if the person is persistent flee to the bathroom and use this down time to check social media. 

8. Rest and Relaxation:waste of time 

If you are resting you obviously need to be doing something else. If you ever catch yourself catching your breath be quick to think about your to do list.  Always have it handy on your smartphone. When you go to the beach or a mountain to hike make sure you check this list every few minutes. Studies show that the more times you check the list the more things get added to it. It also helps increase heart rate and blood pressure! Yippie! 

9. Your dreams are impossible

Why act when your dreams are impossible? So don’t! It is that simple. First start by thinking about how worthless you are. Then think about how much better everyone is around you. When impossibility becomes a possibility you know you are at the right place. All of your dreams will soon fade away! 

10. Prayer? Talk to Siri 

Why pray when you can talk to Siri! Through prayer you are only finding true peace through God. Why would you want that? God is the opposite of restlessness. Instead, it is much better to ask Siri all  of the questions you have. God may be calling you to change the direction of your life, but the GPS is right there!
There you have it. Follow these 10 steps and you will have the best restless life possible. 

Pick A Resolution Day

 

Lets talk about resolutions…

As you all know today is also known as

 “Pick an awesome resolution and 9.9/10 don’t stick with it Day

Personally, I like hearing other peoples resolutions. It is interesting to me to see what people want to change in their life in order to so called “better themselves.” I appreciate the effort that people put in to reflect on their year and decide what went wrong/went right. I wish for the world’s sake that this reflecting happened more often.

To those people that have made resolutions I want to encourage you. I know how difficult it can be and I think it is great that you have already reflected.

For the past few years I have made New Year’s resolutions. The majority of the time it doesn’t look like an every.single.day habit for all 365 days.

Instead, it sort of looks like…oh I’ll do that today (Day 7).  Whoops I forgot about that, I’ll be sure to do that today (Day 85). Hmm it would probably be smart to do that now that I have time (Day 320).

Looks like I should try this again this year (Day 1).

However, this year I am going to

really really really really really

really really really really really

really try.

Scratch that not “try” but rather….commit. 

Over the years I have read almost all (well it feels like anyway) every self-help book on the market. I have downloaded so many apps to help beat procrastination, maximize efficiency, build habits, etc.

After my thorough research and countless hours of late night reading I have come to a conclusion.

A step by step process that I know will lead to success.

It appears so complex but it actually quite simple.

Ready for it?

Step 1 of 1:

is…….

ACT

 

 

In life there are no short cuts. There is no app that will magically make us read a book a week, read the Bible every night, exercise everyday at 6am, pray every morning, start an organization, be more thankful, take more risks etc. Believe me if there was I would have found it.

The only way to change your life is to take action.

Swim out of the stagnant water. 

Become a man or woman of action.

 

I want to touch on something I read a few months ago that always puts things into perspective for me. It reads…

“Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how that feels.”

 

 

I can tell you right now. It does not feel good to use this technique. It knocked me down flat on my back. However, by doing this I could see the sky.

For example, as a Christian I realized that I was not praying often. During college it is difficult to make time out of your day. This became my excuse. “I just didn’t have time.”

Really? Not enough time?

How many minutes do I spend on social media in a day?

How many minutes do I sit on the couch doing absolutely nothing?

How many minutes do I worrying about tomorrow?

How many minutes I have used to make excuses?

Therefore, I recently started to say, “Prayer is just not a priority”…which hurt me to even say. This allowed me to realize that prayer and my relationship with Christ is my #1 priority but my actions are not following suit.

Therefore, friends I encourage you in 2017 to decide what your priorities are in living the life you have been called to lead.

I hope that you are able to escape the stagnant water, commit, and ACT every.single.day. not just when you feel like it.

If you do, I can assure you, that 2017 will be the year of a lifetime.

 

*I want to thank all of my readers for following me along this journey in 2016. Thank you for all of your support, advice, and encouragement. I hope to continue to receive your support in 2017. I want to wish you and your families a Happy New Year!

IMG_8054.jpgLove you all. -Nick

 

 

 

 

Pool Noodle

Days ago, I had a huge lab examination for anatomy class. Like any typical college student I procrastinated. You would think after four years I would learn. Nah, it obviously makes life more exciting. However, it was about 1 in the morning and I was exhausted. I had stayed up really REALLY late almost every night the week before and gotten up really REALLY early.

Why?

Cause college.

Anyway, at that point I still had a lot to memorize for anatomy, but I knew I could not absorb anything. I was dead tired. I laid down in my bed and set my alarm to 5:30am.

I had no choice. Wake up or do bad on the test. As a pre-med student, I would wake up. However, because I had gotten so little sleep I knew waking up would be nearly impossible. I would be fighting a battle against my flesh that I was not expecting to win. Getting up when you are exhausted is like going into a battle and the only weapon to your name is a pool noodle. I am sure you will confuse the enemy, but after a few seconds you are toast.

So, I sat in bed and thought, “I can’t do this. Only God can do this.”

I prayed fervently for a few minutes asking God to help me get up on time the next morning. I prayed that God give me the strength and courage to get out of bed and tackle the day. Towards the end of my prayer, I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up. I had forgotten of my prayer the night before. What time was it? I felt so great. Was I supposed to get up early? All of the “just woke up” thoughts were flooding my mind. I was delirious. Quickly, I sat in bed thinking. Surely I missed my alarm and got a great (but way to long) night of sleep. Now, how am I supposed to learn all this material in such a short time?

My thoughts were immediately interrupted by the sound of my alarm.

What was going on?

I jumped out of bed to shut it off and looked at the alarm.

5:30am

I had woken up a minute before the alarm went off. I felt way to amazing. It was unreal.

When I was in the shower I continued to think about how refreshed I felt.

I never. ever. ever. felt that great. My pool noodle this morning had turned into excalibur.

Immediately, I remembered my prayer from the night.

“Wow,” I thought. “God is so good!”

I then had a smile on my face that nothing was going to take away.

God is always with me.

God hears my prayers.

God understands.

God He….He listens. 

However, a few seconds later a few doubts started roaring in my mind.

The human body can do crazy things.

Maybe, you just trained yourself to wake up at that time. 

Maybe, you just weren’t that tired. 

Maybe, you ended your sleep cycle at the perfect time.

Maybe, it was a coincidence. 

The smile that was on my face began to fade. Why was I having these doubts?

This experience reminded me that it is not about having the doubts but if we listen to them. If we treat them as important.

I remember reading a quote from St. Pio. He discussed the idea of having thoughts as being at a train station. Everyone is going to see the doubts and fears like trains at a train station. However, the difference is whether or not you hop on the train.

Friends, today I encourage you to understand that doubts are not a defect in your faith. We will all have them. However, it is important to decide not to hop on the trains but rather remain in the train station. One day a train will come that will lead us to paradise.

In conclusion, it is very easy to discount the workings of our Creator. The devil is active in the world trying to worry us and lead us away from Christ with doubts and deception. It is important to remember that the way in which we look at a situation determines everything. Faith is not going to be easy. Sometimes, it may feel like all we have is a pool noodle to fight against the doubts we have about ourselves.

I remind you that what you may see as a pool noodle may very well be an excalibur in disguise.