By Jenna Breiner, FC 19 Costa Rica
After 17 years of Catholic education, one would assume that I possess a great sense of knowledge of my faith. It should be something deeply ingrained in my upbringing and strengthened further throughout my life- which isn’t necessarily wrong. However, I still don’t think I have even pulled back the first layer to discovering the truth about who God is, what His plan for me is, and how I fit into the big scheme of EVERYTHING. What I do know is that God is found in everything around me, if I just take the time to seek it out. I’m not talking about finding God in the same way we find car keys but rather something much deeper.
I ran across Psalm 105:4-5 the other day and it began to shift the way I am viewing certain things in my life right now: “Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.” After reading this, I began to think about how we as humans actually serve God in this busy world, where it seems as if we serve everyone except Him. But in this very thought is where I found consolation through personal reflection.
The things we do in our everyday life and how we do them matter. This includes our actions, behaviors and words, which permeate every single relationship (even with God). Our doings also give us a glimpse into our authentic selves and in turn, help us view what we can do to become the best version of ourselves. These thoughts have led me to establish three ways I am able to find God in my daily life:
- SLOW DOWN
- Working with kindergartners has made me realize that they might be onto something…sometimes we just need to slow down and pay attention to the minute details of everything around us. So often, kids can become transfixed by something so ordinary, and this should teach us a lesson. When was the last time you stopped what you were doing to just look around and enjoy it? To truly take in the beauty of it all and remember the One who created it and further think about how it could be calling us to change?
- Stop to actually listen to the needs of others. God is speaking to each of us through every relationship we have, but sometimes, we just don’t listen. However, when we do, it helps us to become more aware of how God is prompting us to be His hands on Earth. There are so many needs in the world and we are all uniquely equipped to serve Him in the exact way He is calling us.
- BE THANKFUL
- When I look for things to be thankful for, I can see how and where God is meeting me everyday. I can hear God’s voice in a compliment from a coworker, I taste His goodness in the fresh mangos we have growing in our courtyard, I can feel him in the warm embraces from my kindergartners and I can see His face in all the relationships I have formed. Taking a moment at the end of every day to picture these sources of gratitude is pretty effortless— and the results are incredible.
The past four months since I went home for Christmas have absolutely flown by..but as I take a moment to reflect back on the little moments, it all becomes so clear that God has been right there the whole time:
- in the smiling and always sassy faces of the children I work with at Rostro de Maria
- the new relationships formed: with Costa Ricans, the women and children at my work site, the friends and family of my community members and SO many friars
- every moment spent in my dynamic community, whether that be washing dishes and jamming out to remixes, traveling out of the city for a breath of fresh air, wandering into the city for a gallo pinto breakfast, going to support the local soccer team, or even just nights where we stay up way later than we should making cookie dough and talking about the most random things
- spending time with the friars: sharing meals, celebrating birthdays and recently attending the beautiful ordination of two friars
- our FrancisCorps retreats, which teach us more about the life of Saint Francis and help us reflect on the reason we all ended up here
It’s hard to believe that my time in Costa Rica is winding down. However, these last few months require all of us to stay present and mindful of everything that is happening. And if I can carry these three ways to find God into my daily routine, I am confident that the rest of my time here will be filled with so much purpose, love and life.