By Megan Lowes
In today’s scripture, Jesus asks me to work towards eliminating the sin within my life.
He uses the analogies of cutting off our foot or hand if it causes us to sin, which seems to me to be quite extreme.
However, Jesus’s teaching challenges me to reflect upon my life and what I am doing to live a more holy life. What do I need to cut out from my own life to grow closer to Jesus?
During the last several months, I have experienced many changes within in my life. I have changed jobs serving on the pastoral staff in one parish and moving to another. I am completing a Masters of Nonprofit Administration degree from John Carroll University. I have become actively involved with an organization to help young adult Catholics gather together to grow in their witness for Christ.
While some of these changes were expected, most were not.
At this time a year ago, I felt content with my life. I had a job in ministry, doing what I loved and enjoyed serving thousands of families at one of the largest parishes in Cleveland. I was a few courses away from completing my master’s degree and accepted the fact that I was not going to graduate with the others in my cohort with whom I started the program. Things were not perfect, but they were okay.
It was at the beginning of Fall that I was challenged with a question:
“what is important to me and my true self?”
I am someone who always tries their best at everything. In school, I have worked to earn excellent grades while being involved with extracurricular activities. At work, I would spend countless hours to ensure everything was completed to the best of my ability, as well as respond to the needs of my parish. As for my relationships with family members and friends, I would try to make every event I was asked to attend, without necessarily asking for the same from those individuals in return.
I found myself at a place in life where I was challenging myself to identify who I currently was and who I wanted to be.
After much time in prayer over this, I made some difficult decisions. The first was deciding to leave the job I grew to love so much after being there for two and a half years. Then coming to terms that I wasn’t going to graduate from school as quickly as I had wanted.
Finally realizing that it is okay for me to take some “me” time and not commit to attending every single event and activity that I am invited to attend.
This was probably the biggest leap of faith I ever had taken and I was scared to death.
I wasn’t just choosing to leave one job to go to another and I wasn’t just choosing to become involved with an organization that is important to me.
I was choosing to be who God created me to be: Megan.
Happy, cheerful, friendly, loyal Megan. I was choosing to be closer to Jesus by sharing with others who I really am and who Jesus challenges me to be. Through this process, I experienced a radical transformation. This was difficult to do. The person who helped encourage me to stay on this path of transformation and work daily to be the person God created me to be is my boyfriend Bobby. Through Bobby’s love, support and encouragement, I felt determined in working towards being my true authentic self each day.
When reflecting upon all I had experienced over the last several months, I realized that I was responding to Jesus’s challenge to eliminate what is keeping me from Him in my life.
I wasn’t just eliminating long work weeks, the need to be perfect at everything, and the obligation of having to be at every activity...
I was eliminating the need to be a people-pleaser and the feeling that I couldn’t be the person God created me to be. It may not always be easy, but with eyes set on Jesus and having faith, anything is possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan is a 2009 graduate of Saint Joseph Academy. After graduating from SJA, she attended John Carroll University and earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in May 2013. Since graduating from John Carroll, Megan has spent the last three years working within ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland. Since October 2015, she has served as the Pastoral Associate at Saint Clarence Parish in North Olmsted. Additionally, Megan completed her Masters of Nonprofit Administration in May 2016 from John Carroll University. In her free time, Megan enjoys spending time with family and friends, doing arts and crafts, exercising and spending time in nature.