I was vulnerable and my friend was better for it.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I caught up on the phone yesterday with a good friend. Good enough that she has a pretty realistic understanding of my life, meaning: she has a good idea of the ugliness in my life, as well as the more pretty part that shows up on...snapchat (no other social media for me!).

After recounting the exciting and interesting weekend she had resuming her public ministry after hiatus, she asked me about my life. And I was vulnerable enough to admit the ugly things: the things I was upset about even though I shouldn't be, the chasm I feel between me and Jesus, my classes, and more. I sobbed and sobbed.

My friend, who I know relatively well, would not describe herself as a nice person...and I would generally agree. She is strong, she is beautiful, she seeks the truth and speaks it into life. She makes big decisions. She's hilarious. She is not a sticky sweet person I go to when I want to be comforted.

In the midst of my crying and whining, I saw (heard) a change. I heard, "Aww, Katelyn, I'm sorry." I heard, "I know it sucks and nothing I say can make it better." I heard empathy. I felt genuinely cared for. I experienced kindness out of my friend who is not nice. I felt nurtured and heard.

Maybe it's a leap for me to say she's better for the conversation. If I hadn't been vulnerable, however, she wouldn't have gone beyond herself and cared for me in that way. So I think she's better for it.

When was the last time you were vulnerable with someone?

Does FOCUS Even Work?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

If you're big on the New Evangelization, that is, trying to see how we share the Gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ-that He is God, and that He came to save us, He did save us, and He is saving us...it's easy but complicated) to a post-Christian world (this is becoming a huge run on sentence. can't stop. won't stop.), you've probably heard of FOCUS.

FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, is the largest Catholic outreach program in the United States. They put missionaries on the college campus here in the U.S., where they form real relationships with college students, share the Gospel, and invest in them so they can do the same with others.

I was a FOCUS Missionary for 2 years, what I sometimes consider the best and worst 2 years of my life. During my first year, I was super homesick/very confused about God's plan for my life/amidst a team with a lot of challenges. I had a hard time making friends (the second most important part of the job). And I often wondered if FOCUS really did or could work.

Now I know.

The answer is YES. I've been off campus for a year, and in many ways, it's like my first year on staff. I have few friends. It's hard to pray. I'm not sure what God's doing in my life.


I have been so encouraged by the fruit, or what Jesus did, with my two years on staff. I have REAL RELATIONSHIPS with my friends from FOCUS. I talk to all my teammates/roommates from Georgia. My teammate Brittany and I are probably better friends now than we were in Florida. I spoke with one of the women I discipled (mentored) in Florida, and I was so excited to hear about her upcoming third year as a missionary.

I was really really close with two students from Southern. And we're still close! It's a funny kind of close. Close in the way that both of them missed my birthday...but I coincidentally received "just because" notes in the mail from each of them the same day or a day before...and I did the same to them. Isn't that the best kind of friend? Birthdays seem obligatory, but sending mail just because is a more real act of service. It's a bigger sacrifice.

The other crazy thing?

The roles have reversed! Or maybe leveled out? I went from being their missionary to needing their support to start praying again, to living a more virtuous life. And they are CHAMPS. It's been beautiful and humbling to have the women I've served invest in me.

So, does FOCUS work?

It did for me.

Being Single Requires Selflessness

Monday, August 17, 2015

I hear a lot about how marriage requires us to be selfless. And it does! I'm sure. I mean, I wouldn't know personally, but everyone really seems to talk about it.

I think being single requires selflessness, too. Maybe it's a different type of selflessness, but it's definitely there.

As a single twenty-something, I'm constantly bombarded by the suggestion to give of myself during my "single years" when I "have a chance" or "am free to give" or whatever mushy (albeit sometimes true) quote you'd like to substitute. I'm challenged to avoid Netflix and leave my little clean apartment and cat and go out and visit my parents, or attend an event, or drop a letter in the mail. For people who aren't standing right in front of me.

As a single twenty-something, I give of myself in seemingly normal ways that require much inner strength. I attend weddings. I help my friends plan them. I've grown a lot a lot in this area, where I used to cry at weddings in mourning instead of glistening with happy tears. I tended to show shock that I was losing another friend instead of joy that another one of my friends had found her vocation. While I know intellectually that other people finding their vocations doesn't set me any farther behind in the journey of my own, emotionally I struggle with it. And it requires selflessness to give and give and give of myself and to exude joy during those weekends, and especially in the following weeks, I fight (mostly not very well) to be joyful as I see my friends grow in a new relationship, as I see my life lacking in the friendship that I had. It takes selflessness to find the balance of asking about others' lives without being completely nosy and wanting the details that should be saved for their spouses. It takes selflessness for me to maintain friendships just to maintain them, and not because I need friends desperately.

When I was in high school, my employer asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I acknowledged that I was going to college, but admitted that I just wanted to stay at home with kids. It takes selflessness for me to view dating as helping someone else get to heaven, instead of a way to fulfill my deep desires and longing.

It takes selflessness to be generous with God. When I don't have a team or students or a spouse or child that depend on me, it's easy to depend on myself and ignore my joyful duties of being a Christian. When no one relies on me, it's hard to ask God what He wants of me. It's hard to live the Christian life without a partner to support me. It takes selfishness to ask God to form me. Because I want to ask Him to form me so I can find my vocation NOW. But I should really ask Him to form me so I can be more like Him and serve Him now. It's a fight to find the goodness in doing things for the sake of doing them, and not using them as a means to an end. My singleness is not an obstacle course I need to fight through to reach the prize of my vocation.

But it often feels that way.

And right now, that's okay. It's a huge area of growth. Which means it is a huge area for me to invite in Jesus. It's a huge area of grace. Because in weakness His grace abounds. This is the area of sanctification for me right now.

Single ladies, what do you think? How do you fight the temptation to be selfish? How do you decide between self-care (saying no) and giving of yourself?

30B430: Another one bites the dust

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Today is Day 31 of my Whole30.

What does that mean?

For the last 30 days I've had no: grains, legumes, sugars (artificial or natural, like honey),

For the last 30 days I haven't: stepped on a scale (except for last night), counted my calories, or felt deprived.

In the last 30 days I have: felt like my skin was clearer, gained confidence, and felt better about myself.
In the last 30 days I've had physical achievements: ran my first ever mile, dropped a size in jeans, and lost about 16 lbs.

Was it hard?


But once I decided to really really really do it, it wasn't terrible. There were definitely rough days: the first week when I didn't have power for 3 days, Day 18 was the simply the worst. The night before vacation feeling very overwhelmed about working all day Friday, driving Friday night and all day Saturday, and then trying to eat clean outside of my kitchen.


And now I have no excuses. I know I can do it. I actually DID it. Through travel and clinicals and finals and a date and no power, I did it.

I'm planning to continue eating mostly paleo...except for Saturday when I'm having a bagel with Brittany.