I was sharing some struggles with my spiritual director, which is something I found myself doing a lot with him. I felt alone at the parish – like no one else “got” what I was trying to do. I felt annoyed at almost everyone on staff all the time, frustrated with parents, with the core and I’m sure with others. I generally went to work and came home frustrated.
He stopped me, probably sick of hearing the same song every time we met, and asked me a question that I try to ask myself every day. “What are you fighting for today?” Not in general, not in the big picture, not for the summer trip or the spring retreat – today.
He went on, that we have this refrain in our faith, that you’ve probably all heard countless times: “This is the day the Lord has made!” This day. He didn’t make this day for another day, God gave us this day for this day.
So what are we fighting for today? That can be complicated in a youth ministry mindset. We have big picture dreams and goals. We have events to plan that are months, sometimes years away. It is easy to let our focus be on these tomorrows – and on these events.
But today, Christ has placed you in this ministry to love and serve and lead teens closer to Him.
That being said, what are you fighting for today? Because we all know teens who are hurting, struggling, questioning, needing love and support, needing prayer, needing presence. We all can conjure up faces and names of teens that need us to fight for them – sometimes in an indirect sense, such as building up youth ministry at the parish.
But quite often, teens needs to be fought for in a much more direct and immediate way.
That could mean getting away from your desk and visiting a few of those teens at lunch, or cheering them on in a game, or applauding their chorus concert. It could mean re-organizing paperwork in the morning so you can make phone calls in the afternoon.
The point of his question is about keeping focus each day on the job, and not getting bogged down on the negatives or the obstacles. If we know what we’re going in for each day, if we keep focus on what we’re fighting for, we will be able to hold onto Christ’s joy and not focus on the wrong things.
Now, as I head into work each day, I ask myself – what am I fighting for today? In answering that question every day, I have my goals and hopes and plans for the day, and I don’t enter the day with frustrations on my heart.
As you work today, what are you fighting for?