“We’ve never had anyone within our community who’s had your “spirit" before; you are very different from our other postulants, Judi, yet your devotion to the Lord is undoubted. I will miss you. Tell me dear, what are your plans now?"
“I intend to pursue art, Sister, but would also like to continue working with the kids. They need us and I don’t see where it makes a difference whether I am a nun or not to serve others."
Smiling, Sister Jean responds, “Spoken like a true Franciscan, Judi Lynn."
“That will never change, Sister, never."
In unison, we say a prayer and then affectionately embrace each other very tightly.
“Geez-louise, Judi! I can’t believe that there aren’t any cabs ‘round here and we’re late!"
Frustrated, I ask, “How much money you got?"
“Thirty dollars, why?"
“Good. Between the two of us we can rent a horse and buggy and make it down-town in time for the award ceremony."
“Are you crazy, Judi?"
“No, we’re late! C’mon!"
While waiting for our “ride," Maureen shyly asks, “Judi, I don’t get it. Weren’t you studying for the nunnery, or something, years ago?"
Startled, I reply, “What? Yeah, years ago – and it’s not the nunnery, Maureen; I was considering becoming a nun."
“Yeah, well, whatever. Anyway, I don’t get it. Here you are this big art director workin’ with all these famous musicians. How—“
Intuitively, I interrupt, “Ah-hah! You’re wondering if I’ve lost my faith, aren't you?"
“Well, yeah, sorta kinda. You’re making good money and have this great job…"
“So when is it wrong to make money and love Jesus? My heart hasn’t changed, Maureen, I just wasn’t meant to live the cloistered life."
“You mean it’s okay to believe in God and make money too?"
Laughing, I hug her firmly and reassuredly reply, “Yes, Maureen, it’s okay. I don’t believe that success is evil unless you let it become so."
I personally believe that all Christians are called to live a humble life filled with deep inner peace and joy. It is within our human selves, however, that many of us struggle with (un)worthiness and success.
While some are called to a life of poverty and ministry, others are drawn towards success and attainment of dreams. For a Christian, is it wrong to “think big"? Are such aspirations in opposition to the spiritual life?
I think not.
Since each of us is made in the image of our Maker, I believe it is an insult to God if we don’t strive to become the very best we can be.
It is my humble opinion that the world and success are evil only when you become its slave. The world, in which God freely and lovingly gave us, has a lot to offer each one of us as long as we don’t feel bound to obey it.
The greatest struggle with many, in my opinion, is not to leaving the world and rejecting all ambitions and aspirations, or to despise money, prestige, and/or success, but it is to claim our spiritual truth and to live in the world as someone who does not belong to it.
I believe that the Lord rejoices when His children are successful. It is exciting and fulfilling to win competitions; it is interesting to meet influential people; it is inspiring to listen to good music and be with good friends. And since when is it wrong to eat good food and dress well?
All the beauty of the world is ours to cherish and enjoy in the truth that we are truly children of the King. Such truth sets each one of us free to receive the beauty of this world in gratitude as a sign of our love for Him. The knowledge that we belong to our Maker allows us to let go of the confusing distractions that can jeopardize the Spirit within us.
Spiritually, as believers in Christ, we do not belong to the world. Faith tells us that each one of us has been sent to this world already loved and cherished by Him. As long as we yield to the enormous pressures of life trying to prove our worthiness to others, and ourselves we will loose. We simply can’t look to world itself as our source of life.
On a spiritual level, this we call “life" is a God-given opportunity for all of us to become who we are meant to be, to understand our own spiritual nature, to claim our truth and integrate the reality of being loved by God.
For me, the spiritual life is having countless chances of saying “yes" to the Christ while understanding my own inner truth. Every portion of my own journey; whether it be joyful or painful, becomes bold expressions of my own love for my God.
At every point of our journey, there is always a choice to say “yes" and “no."
For me, I choose to say "yes."
©2008 Judi Lynn Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Judi Lynn Lake has kept up with leading edge business trends throughout her varied and successful career. She had already had her "15 minutes of fame" over and over again before starting her family. Judi and her family now reside in South Carolina, but, having been born and raised on Long Island, NY, it is clearly evident that she will always be a "New Yorker." Today, she successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding and package design while she continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. For more information, visit judilake.com
Below video, Breathe On Me - Shout To The Lord, by Darlene Zschech courtesy of You Tube.