Friday, November 15, 2013

God's Bucket List: Heaven's Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and Beyond

God has a sense of humor.  I’m sure of it, and He likes to remind me of that frequently along with the facts that His timing is better than mine and His thoughts are far greater than mine, and so on and so forth.

Again only the Holy Spirit could have orchestrated when and how I’d come to read a book called God’s Bucket List: Heaven’s Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and BeyondAll of this review/reflection I wrote on my most recent birthday.  I haven’t looked forward to my birthday in a while to be perfectly honest, which is one of the many reasons why I found it fitting that I finished reading this book and thought about my bucket list versus God’s over the years.

I was really looking forward to turning 18 way back when, not so much because I’d be a legal adult, get to vote, and all that, but mainly because my mom had decided that was the magic age when I could decide for myself if I wanted to be best friends with Kevin or officially start dating him.  I wanted it all, so that’s what I got.

The idea that we’re best off determining how and with whom we spend our time, energy, talents, and treasure by putting God first in our lives makes sense to me.  I do find it far more difficult to live out when the daily grind turns out a little bitter and isn’t the least bit refined.

In God’s Bucket List, popular EWTN TV and radio personality Teresa Tomeo shares some of the major upsets in her career as a high-profile secular journalist.  What at the time was a devastating blow to her ego, helped ultimately save her marriage, reignite her faith, and give her a clearer purpose in life.

My husband’s been out of work since Labor Day, and we have a lot of decisions to make and things to discern right now, so being reminded that God “works all things for good for those who love Him” is a reassurance we’ve needed these past couple months. 

As the title suggests, Tomeo was inspired by the Bucket List film to write a book outlining eight themes to help you in discerning and carrying out what God would most like you to accomplish before you die.  This concept resonates deeply with me since it is one that shows that God’s way is the best way, though rarely the easiest way, and His Will is the best goal to have.

Since I’ve kept all of my regular journals and prayer journals from over the years I suppose I could eventually find the first entry where God inspired me to write and pray these prayers: “You, Lord, are ALL I have, and You give me ALL I need.  My future is in Your Hands.  Lord, I pray for Your Will.” And  another favorite: “Lord, plant Your Will in my heart and make it my deepest desire and most fervent longing.”

I felt this way long before meeting Kevin, which has made for some really major conflicts between us.  Item number one that is on God’s Bucket List for me is to put Him first, before everyone and everything else in my life.  I believe that’s likely the first item on God’s Bucket List for each of us, though, the way He calls us to live out that vocation can vary greatly from one person to the next.

Trouble was, when Kevin and I fell in love, he wanted to be first on my list and made me first on his, but I wanted, through the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to keep that #1 spot for God.  That’s not to say I’ve ever been successful in keeping the Lord at the center of my life and at the top of all of my lists.

Kevin had long since fallen away from the Catholic faith in which he was raised by the time we met when I was sixteen.  For many years (and often even now), he can’t for the life of him figure out my relationship with the Lord.  When we were just friends, it didn’t seem to matter as much, but once we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend, we were both uncomfortable with his lack of faith and misconceptions of the Catholic Church.
This conflict and a myriad of others brought me to my knees in prayer, trying to determine the answer to a question beautifully phrased by St. Teresa of Avila in a poem she wrote called “In the Hands of God.”  The question she asks repeatedly in the poem is: “What do You want of me?”  For a time, I was seriously discerning a call to the consecrated religious life, though I’d already fallen in love with Kevin.

That proved to be one of the times when I chose God’s Bucket List, whatever it contained for me, rather than my own numeration of goals far less important in the grand scheme of things in time and eternity.

I am still in the process of discerning aspects of everything that is on God’s Bucket List for me, and that will likely always be the case in this life, but I’ve been able to identify some of what’s on His List.  I’ve embraced the vocations He’s already revealed are mine, and I try to live out those to the fullest while remaining hopeful that some additional ones will be added in the future.

One item I believe is on God’s Bucket List for me has to do with sharing the unusual, often hilarious, at times nearly unbelievable story of how God brought two very different people together and kept them together against the odds.  I have been working on our spiritual memoir for a while, and both Kevin and I have felt another nudge from God recently to keep writing the parts of our story leading up to our wedding.

I’m awaiting further specific instructions from the Lord about the timing of finishing this particular writing project and all aspects of the endeavor involving finding the right agent, editor, publishing company and team.  If you are feeling inspired to be part of this effort, like reading and giving people brutally honest feedback, and/or enjoy a good true story, please let me know immediately.  God already knows that I can use all the help I can get!

I highly recommend reading God’s Bucket List and using it as the jumping off point for discerning what He wants you to have in your bucket.  For more information or to order your own copy of this book, click here.  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...