Saturday, January 17, 2015

For the Better: What I have learned so far in 2015

On the journey home from SEEK2015, my friend for life and I talked a lot about how to apply what we learned at the Conference to our lives this year. I boiled it down to the six topics you see below, and I wanted to share it with all of you! I hope it will edify you as much as it did me. 

Can I be comfortable with Christ in my life? Hey Christ!
Add Christ to your daily vocabulary. I don’t have to go around like a Jesus freak to share him in my life and affect others’. If we can be so comfortable with telling our friends where we went to lunch and the last movie we saw why can’t we just as easily mention that we went to mass earlier? Or share the funny joke we heard in the homily? Or tell people we are going to the circle tomorrow night? Do not be afraid to use casual Christian language even with people outside of our typical circles. Be Bold!

Make work fun. Make faith fun. How? Do it with others.
I once heard a story: There was a man dancing on the side of a busy street and everyone thought he was crazy. Another man came to dance with him and everyone thought they were weirdos. A third person, a woman, came to dance with the two men. Everyone thought “Awesome! They are having so much fun!” Yes, they were a little bit strange, but how much fun is it to be different with real, authentic people who accept who you are? Now take that to heart on the matter of faith. Share your faith life with others and you’ll never be lonely or bored.

Pandas are flagship species, name an actual endangered species.
Pandas get all of the attention in the conservation world - and your heart - but in fact hold little to no essential value to the environment. They rarely even move. Yes they are cute, but other species like the Proboscis Monkey (look it up) hold a higher value to the environment and are actually critically endangered, but ignored. Transition! Choose a passion to follow in life where the market is not already flooded. Everyone jumps on the fads and cultural buzz words for about five minutes. Right now let’s jump on the (insert current cool thing to support) band wagon. Everyone wants to save pandas but are they the most important thing in the world? What about intrinsic truth? How are you working now for the truth and how do you plan on sharing the truth in the future and a lifetime? Have you considered mission work, working for a church diocese, and a vocation either to the religious life, priesthood or sacred marriage? Just think - you could work both for the church and important current issues!

Are you investing properly? Who is in your 401(k)?
Friends come into and leave our lives often, and what a blessing it is to have and have had them in our lives when we do. But are you investing as much time and energy with your own family members. Sometimes I offer too much to my friends (and Hulu) neglecting to call my brother, texting my sister hello in the morning and sending a letter to my grandmother. Family is forever, don’t forget it. Relationships aren’t easy but are you giving fair time to them. Maybe if you invest they will improve.

You are who you… eat?
Surround yourself around people that are positive. Make real decisions to determine who you want to be in your life. At the same time remember that you are the person that other people surround themselves with. Are you a good example for them?

Don’t pick up the phone it’s yo Mama! (I learned this a long time ago, but needed to share it due to immediate insistent need. So just do it already)
People of today are digitally addicted; fact. TV, Phones, (un)social media, Netflix, Hulu, texting, video games, candy crush, et cetera. Please, for the sake of humanity consciously take a minute to consider how much digital intake you are consuming. Could you be using your tech too much? Do you look at it unceasingly? Can you go an hour during class time without checking Facebook? Do you sleep with your phone? Could you spend your time doing something else? What would you do without your phone glued to your face you ask. What about studying, praying, serving others, spending time with others, working a hobby, visiting friends,and having a face to face conversation, antiquing, going star gazing... good heavens entertain yourself! Challenge yourself to cut the amount of attachment you have with a technology toxic relationship; you will be happier without him.
Good Luck!

BONUS SECTION! Choose 5! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. 
Last year I used this method to help me find tangible ways to grow spiritually, and I've decided to continue it each year. 
1.      Pick a virtue to focus on for the year; e.g. year of humility- Think as often as you can about your virtue and how you can apply it to your daily life.
2.      Then pick two- Pick two things to add to your daily life. Think outside the box, but here are some ideas: daily mass, daily devotional, rosary, smiling at everyone you pass, saying a short prayer while you wash your hands, et cetera
3.      Then pick two- Pick two things to eliminate from your daily life. You know what they should be... but here are some examples: cracking your knuckles, cursing, slothfulness, complaining, et cetera.
My best tip is for you to be simple, be genuine, but be serious.

Happy New Year! My prayer is that we will all grow closer to Christ this year. 

Andrew Wayne Lusk (known to Campus Minister Jodi Phillips as A-Dubs, A-Dub-a-Bub, A-Dubalicious, and so on and so forth) is a Senior at Stephen F Austin State University studying Art History. He is passionate about his faith, and loves to share it with others. His other passions, aside from Proboscis Monkeys, include making crazy exclamations ("What the hey-ho?!"), winning at Nerts (it's a crazy card game), and inviting people to fun parties at St. Mary's. Oh, and he has great hair. That's real. 

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