Last Monday I was supposed to pick up my mom and drive her to work, but was running late because I was watching a movie. I had to call and tell her I was on my way, but was afraid that she was going to yell at me – 'Where were you? Now I'm gonna be late!'
'I'll just text her so that I don't have to hear her disappointment,' I thought. She texted me back, and I picked her up a few minutes later. Problem avoided . . . right?
Everything was good until I thought about it a little bit more. I wondered why I had decided to text her instead of calling? It wasn't because I was in a hurry or because I couldn't talk out loud.
After thinking about it, I realized that it was because it was just easier … easier because I wasn't sure what her answer was going to be and I didn't want to risk hearing something that I didn't want to hear.
More questions popped into my head:
'When did I become afraid to call and talk with my mother?'
That was a tough question, but the next one worried me:
'Was I afraid to talk with God, to be honest with Him, and listen to Him even if I didn't like it?'
I had to think about it for a while. I realized that while I trusted God with most things, there was still one thing that I avoided … Confession. I would go to Mass every Sunday and pray throughout the day asking for help or thanking Him, but I didn't like sharing my weaknesses with Him.
If Only God Could Text
Then I made the connection … I was treating prayer like my cell phone! I would talk with God when it was something good or easy to say, just like I could talk with my friends about going to the movies or hanging out.
But just like I was sending texts to avoid having to talk with someone, I was avoiding Confession because I didn't want to be honest with God.
By texting all of the time, I was learning how to avoid difficult questions and situations, which I then applied to my relationship with God. Texting was keeping me from the sacrament of Reconciliation!
I realized I had to be stronger, but I also saw that I had the wrong idea about Confession. I was looking at it like it was going to be this scary experience, where I was going to hear how bad I was, instead of looking at it like what it truly is … an opportunity to draw close to God.
The point of Confession is not just to list all of your sins. What's more important is the encounter with God and building a friendship with Him.
'The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.' (CCC 1468)
Let’s be Friends
Now that I’ve realized that small things, like how I use my cell phone, effect my relationships with my friends, family and especially God, I have made some changes:
- Although I do still text, I am trying to call people more, especially when I have something important to talk about.
- I make sure I go to Confession at least once a month, even if I don't want to. I have found that it is important to get into the habit of being honest with God and seeking His forgiveness and friendship.
- Whenever I get nervous about going to Confession I remind myself that the point is not to see how bad I am, but rather how good God is! It's all about Him! He is just waiting for me, for all of us, to draw close to Him and to experience His love and mercy.
When I text someone I'm keeping myself guarded – I don't have to show any emotion or respond to any emotion from the other person – and this means that I am not able to really know them or allow them to really know me.
Strong friendships require us to be vulnerable with each other; this is especially true about our relationship with God.