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When was the last time you had a crisis? If you’re having a hard time remembering one, you’re not alone. Crises – spiritual, existential, relational, or otherwise – are discouraged in our materialistic, comfort-crazed society because they force us to question the meaning of things, to imagine new possibilities for ourselves, to receive authentic love, and to finally take decisive action.
In his recent book, Confession of a Catholic Worker, Dr. Larry Chapp argues that each person must face “a moment of existential crisis that imposes upon us a choice” for or against God. Chapp says that this choice does not allow for a neutral posture.
Unfortunately, many of us are so insulated from crisis moments that we never have to make that choice or any subsequent choice about what living for God might mean in our lives. However, if we open ourselves fully to life’s difficult situations, we can experience the freedom that comes from choosing to follow God’s voice.
I had a crisis in the fall of 2021, thanks be to God. I was living in Virginia and had fallen in love with a girl who lived in New York City. The distance, combined with several other factors, made our being together very complicated. We saw each other a few times over the summer and decided to begin a relationship. I felt that God had placed her in my life and was gently calling me to something great, but I did not see how I could make it work. So, in September, I called it off.
I settled back into my comfortable routine in Virginia, but there was the small problem that I loved her very much and could not stop thinking about her. I tried to ignore the feeling that a momentous choice was hanging over me, but it was impossible.
I knew in my heart that I wanted to pursue her again, but I also knew I would eventually have to move if I wanted it to work. What about my life? My job? All my friends? Who am I without those things? I racked my brain for weeks with these questions, weighing the pros and cons, but making no progress. Everything worldly told me to forget the crisis and move on with my life, but I found no peace there.
Ultimately, I was led to the only place one finds a true answer: prayer. In my vulnerability, God confirmed my desires and gave me the courage to take the big step – the decisive action – to call her again.
Today I live in New York and that girl is my fiancée. In three months, God willing, she will be my wife. I rejoice in my crisis because it forced me to choose. God moved me to choose my heart’s desire over my own comfort and that choice led me to where I am today – far happier than I could have imagined then.
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.