Walking Our Faith: What will your walk of faith look like?
I spent this week house hunting. This entails spending way too much time sitting in front of my computer on real estate websites drawing long irregular circles over maps of the coast of Maine.
The websites suggest criteria to help me narrow my search, such as how many bedrooms, what square footage, what type of views, and of course the all-important price range.
I know I want a small house, not more than two bedrooms, and if I could have a view of water, whether ocean or lake or even a pond, I’d be happy.
The other consideration on my list of wants and must-haves is the proximity of a Catholic church to my new home. Going to weekday Mass three or four times a week has become an integral part of my life here in Breckenridge and I want it to continue when I move. That means I not only have to find a Catholic church within a reasonable driving distance, but which has a regular schedule of weekday Masses that I can attend.
As I considered my list, it got me thinking about how decisions like where we want to live or what we want to live nearby, shapes our lives.
And, because this is a column about our walk of faith, I considered how the decisions we make on a daily and weekly basis to include our spiritual practices in our lives impacts the choices we make on how large or small our spiritual lives will be.
I used to believe that regular attendance at a Sunday service was darn good and certainly better than going once a month or twice a year or not at all.
But when I started going to Mass four times a week, I realized that I wasn’t becoming a holier person, but I was becoming more conscious of my behavior and my impact on those around me.
I suppose you could say that enlarging the space which my spiritual life took up in my day-to-day life made me more aware of how well or how poorly I was living the commandments to love God and to love my neighbor as I loved myself.
For me, enlarging the time I devote to my spiritual life has also made me want to devote not only more time, but more of my productivity, to learning more about my faith and then writing about it.
Still, I also strongly believe that my walk of faith should not be yours, nor yours mine. An authentic walk of faith is a private matter between you and God and one which you must choose to pursue or not to pursue, each day.
Before I sound as if there is no relationship between time spent in pursuit of God and the quality of the relationship we have with God, allow me a sporting analogy.
I joined my middle school swim team at the age of 11. When I began, I barely made it to the end of the pool without stopping to take a few hopping steps in the shallow end, to end my flailing. Six years later, after countless 5 a.m. workouts, runs on the beach and hours in the weight room, I set a National Junior Olympic record in the 100-meter freestyle and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan.
I’ll bet you can guess where this is going. Yes, my achievements in the pool were directly correlated to not only the hours I put in but equally as important was the passion I felt toward training and racing.
I never thought I’d feel that way again about anything in my life. But I do now.
But remember, there are a lot of Olympic athletes who chose different approaches to greatness and achieved far more than I did. Perhaps our only commonality is a love of the sport — that’s what I hope for you. That your path to God will not be mine, it will be your own, but I hope it will be pursued with a passion that causes you to spend more time with God, not out of obligation, but out of desire for more of God in your life.
P.S. I will continue to write and publish a weekly column on walking our faith after I move. I hope you’ll join me here: SuzanneElizabethAnderson.substack.com
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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