Carol S. Bannon considers how she has neglected the need to look for God's hand in everything: every day, everywhere, and in everyone.
I was reminded of the old saying "putting the pedal to the metal" the other day by one of my adult children. Of course, these days the pedal of a car is no longer made of metal -- for that matter, the car itself is not either -- but the meaning behind this particular idiom stays the same. Basically, get out there and move! Don’t idle, don’t go slow -- hit the gas and fly!
Most of us do not fly anymore, figuratively or literally. There isn’t even a rustle of wind beneath many of our wings.
And this is especially true in our faith development. We get to be a certain age, and we feel we have heard all the Gospels before. Every Sunday we listen to basically the same sermons on how to live God’s Word and what we must do to enter His Kingdom. Fall arrives and we show up for the monthly rosary and prepare for the coming holiday celebrations. We make lists, prepare our homes, put out the Advent candles to prepare for Christmas, and after the Christmas season, I for one look forward to Lent ... usually for less than stellar reasons.
Our actions are predicated on what we are taught by well-meaning parents and teachers eager for us to embrace our faith.
But, are we embracing and growing our faith or merely sustaining it? Do we resemble the Pharisees who Christ admonished in Matthew’s Gospel when He asked:
“Which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?” (Matthew 23:19)
Do we, at times, make the same mistake by doing what we have been taught just because it is expected? Do we take the time to truly reflect on the reasons? When our children or grandchildren ask why we do something, are we too quick to say, "Because that is what we do" or “Because that is how your grandmother taught me to do it”?
I know there are times when I have used those exact words!
Life is complicated and many of us get caught up doing the same thing day after day, year after year. We complete responsibilities to family and career first, collapsing at night only to do the same thing every successive day. We decorate our homes according to the season without contemplating how God truly fits into our life. Many in fact delegate God to Sundays and certain holidays, forgetting to include Him in every moment unless a problem comes up.
And when the problems do materialize? We quickly turn to God to fix it. Like errant children, we want what we want, when we want it.
My pastor once posed a question years ago which I have never forgotten: “When the day is done and you are readying to sleep, can you honestly say God is proud of your actions today?”
At first I was confused by this question. But, contemplating on the previous day, I didn't remember thinking very Christian thoughts! Instead of thanking Him for His many blessings I became frustrated with everyday little irritations. I cursed a woman who cut me off in traffic, became angry at my husband’s complete inability to open up a dishwasher and truly enjoyed listening to gossip about a neighbor who had been less than nice to me.
Even worse, I made excuses, blamed others, for missing my morning meditation and Rosary.
Today, setting aside time to spend with God, to expand our knowledge of God’s Word always seems to come in second to other duties. Discerning His Will for us though needs to become our number-one goal. We need to look for God's Hand in everything ... every day, everywhere, and in everyone.
It is time to put the pedal to the metal and fly. Create a life of prayer instead of creating a time to pray. Dust off the Bible and open up His Word. Join a Bible study, talk with others on a weekly basis about the daily readings, help others grow in their faith by showing Christ to them, through you. Discover what it is you need to continue to grow from the inside out.
Take the leap right into His arms ... give Him the only gift He truly wants: your total love.
Copyright 2021 Carol Bannon
About the Author
Carol Bannon currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband. She is a wife, mother, grandmother to seven, substitute teacher, and an active supporter of the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island (DSSRI). Carol is the author of Handshake from Heaven and Our Family’s Christmas Elf. She and her husband love to spend time boating on Cape Cod and traveling to new harbors.