It’s become clear this is where we’re meant to be right now. Back home, in our childhood bedrooms, waiting for what’s next. At least, this is where I’ve found myself. As the hustle of everyday life has subsided, God is calling us into solitude with Him.
I understand having more free time is not a part of everyone’s life right now. Thank you to those who continue to work and are on the frontlines serving others.
Here are some ways I’ve been trying to be intentional.
Set Up a Morning and Night Routine
Sitting cross-legged on my bed, three books are in front of me for my morning prayer. My first read is usually “Live in Grace, Walk in Love” by Bob Goff. His 365 day devotional talks about God’s love for us in ways relatable to our everyday. His thoughtful devotional shows the person of Jesus in His never-ending love and call for us to love others. Reading about Jesus in this simple way eases me into the rest of my reading. After answering the question at the end of the day’s page, I grab my Bible and a pen. My current read is the Gospel of Matthew. Reading through the chapter twice helps me to see “what sticks out to me” or what Jesus might be telling me in the passage, which I underline and pray about.
At the end of the day, I’ve been getting into the habit of attending daily Mass, since my parish at school livestreams it. I used to never understand the meaning of Mass. It used to be a routine where I didn’t understand why I was participating. But after attending daily on my mission trip, I’m beginning to understand the importance. Just like on Holy Thursday when Jesus gives of Himself, as Catholics, we have the opportunity to receive His love in the form of the Eucharist (spiritually for now)!
“When we pray the Mass, we unite ourselves to Christ and offer ourselves through Christ to the Father for the sanctification of the world. Through the Liturgy, we are conformed to Christ and sent to bring His salvation to the entire world.” – The Beauty Initiative within FOCUS on how the Mass is the public prayer of the Church
Secondly, I’ve been praying the rosary, having recently been drawn to this form of prayer. I enjoy setting a prayer intention for each decade and remembering pivotal moments in Christ’s life as I pray. Encountering Jesus whether in individual prayer or at Mass is essential to the wellbeing of our souls and strengthens our relationship with Him.
Ask Yourself: What can I do besides look at my phone?
I’ve had my phone taken away for weeks at a time before. It stayed shut off in a yurt while I backpacked and camped on North Manitou Island for a week. I’d only have it for an hour a week in my month serving on Work Crew. Social media apps have been deleted during Lent. Turning it black and white made apps less appealing on my mission trip to New Mexico. All of these techniques worked in an effort to avoid mindless scrolling, wasting time, and disconnecting from those around me. If you’re looking for more discipline from your phone, these are good ways to fast from screen time.
I don’t want this time to be wasted scrolling, but I don’t want to give it up all together (at least not right now). I’ve found a couple incredible Catholic Instagram accounts and YouTubers who are speaking truth to these platforms (check out Lauren Marie on YouTube and A Catholic Convo with Maclaine on Instagram)!
For now, I want to stop waking up just to flip over my phone, do my best to be aware of how long I’ve been watching videos, and to use this time wisely. I’ll usually reach for my phone in between tasks or when I need a break. In working to achieve this balance of intentionality and social media during these moments, I’ve tried asking myself “What can I do besides look at my phone?” The answer always points me to something that gives more life than mindless scrolling.
Work on Mini Goals and Projects
If you’ve read my Plan With Me post, you know to do lists are an every day occurrence. This helps me stay on track with the goals I want to accomplish in the future. Sometimes I will schedule the exact time I want to complete something (especially during the school year). But now, a simple to do list with the habits and projects I want to work on has given me plenty to do.
It’s been said before, but taking time to write down your big goals and then making daily goals to achieve them has been helping me use this time as an opportunity and avoid doing nothing.
Plan Your Holy Leisure
On the opposite side of productivity is rest! After reading a blog post from FOCUS about the difference between amusement and true leisure, it has encouraged me to be intentional with my rest as well. The article explains that amusement is reaching for our phones at every free moment and scrolling without even retaining the content, which leaves us feeling empty. On the other hand, true leisure brings peace in reminding us who God created us to be and to receive the life around us. A talk by Dr. Jonathan Reyes also discussed intentional leisure, in planning to watch something specific or read so that time is not wasted on accidental amusement.
The time is now and it is precious. Set down your phone, work on your passions, reach out to others, and encounter Jesus.
For more information, check out the links below for some inspiring Catholic content!
Praying the Rosary: https://blessedisshe.net/blog/how-pray-rosary/
Lauren Marie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk2W5rKO2L6GFXH5HINjWlA
A Catholic Convo with Maclaine on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/acatholicconvo/
FOCUS Blog Posts: https://focusoncampus.org/content/how-to-be-holy-in-quarantine