By Nick Sciarappa
“Need” is an intense word for me. It’s a word that demands rather than proposes. All of my life I have been taught a litany of needs that I must accomplish to live a good life. The word ‘need’ has manifested itself in various ways in my life, dragging along a great deal of anxiety, pressure and scrupulousness that seems to be so important.
I need to study hard in high school so I can get good grades. I need to get good grades so that I can get into a good college. I need to get into a good college so that I can get a good career. I need to diversify my college experiences to create a good resume. I need to get a good career so that I can make a lot of money. I need a lot of money so that I don’t face hardship in the world. I need to avoid hardship to prove that I lived a good life.
The pressure on me to be successful was immense growing up.
I was raised in an upper middle class area of Pittsburgh, in a school district where most moms and dads were bosses and CEOs of big companies. My high school was very competitive, and as a result my list of needs were many.
I wanted to be a journalist in high school and stopped at nothing to become a good one. CNN or the Washington Post sounded like good careers for me. I knew that If I believed in myself I could get there one day. I worked hard in my English and TV classes to be better than my competition, and in many respects, I was.
After applying to many colleges, I settled on a school that was both affordable and had a great communications program. College was tough, but I achieved a lot: President of the TV station my freshman year, writer for the news paper, resident assistant, president of my acapella group, retreat leader and so much more.
It was tough, but I achieved it all because I believed in myself. I knew I needed to.
After college I was a step closer to achieving my dream of being a journalist: I got a job a National Catholic Reporter. NCR is a newspaper based out of Kansas City that has a huge audience. I knew that if I stayed their long enough, I could have become a successful and well known religion journalist. But there was one problem.
Slowly I figured out that the world of journalism wasn’t for me. My whole life culminated to this one job… a job that I didn’t like. I miserably made my way through each day. The worst part was that I sensed it was all my fault.
My misery was a result of me believing in myself.
I would have been jealous if I read today’s Gospel reading three years ago. Jesus was so clearly destined to be a great teacher, and the fulfillment of the prophets from a very young age. I wanted that clarity in my life.
Jesus fulfilled the wish of his father in heaven to be the Christ for his people. As for me? I just believed in my own personal ambitions.
From the moment I started school as a kindergartener, until I left my journalism job in 2015,
I did not once ask the Father what He wanted from me.
I didn’t consider that He had purpose in store for me. I believed in myself, rather than Him.
And so, as this blog post comes to an end, I find that the lesson of my life up until this point is clear: Don’t believe in yourself. Believe God the Father who has a purpose for you, just like He had for his son. I know that He will guide me well because I too am one of his children.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick graduated from John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and a Catholic Studies Minor in May 2014. After a short residency reporting for the newspaper, National Catholic Reporter in Kansas City he stepped away from journalism into full time ministry. He works at Saints John and Paul Catholic Parish as a Media and Marketing Specialist, and at St. John Neumann as a Youth Minister in Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys playing the ukulele and singing.