How to Pray/My Prayer

Don’t Ever Settle

I could feel it. It was one of those moments when you can actually feel the internal struggle as it’s happening. I knew it was wrong. I knew it was a sin. But still, those tempting little thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone: Just this once… it’s not a big deal… I can always go to confession tomorrow…

But then one question disrupted the whole thing: Is this really want you want?

I wasn’t expecting it, but as soon as that question came to mind, I couldn’t ignore it. Is this really what you want? I wanted to insist that, yes, of course it is! But I knew that wasn’t true. I silenced the battle in my mind, and asked myself one simple question: What is it that I really want?

All That I Long For

The question I asked was a simple one, but also a dangerous one. When I allow myself to know and feel the deepest desires of my heart, I also have to acknowledge my fear that they won’t be fulfilled — that I’ll be left longing for them forever. So, instead of letting myself want those things, I settle.

And all around me I see my brothers and sisters doing the same. We want to be fully known and loved, but we settle for seeking compliments or looking sexy. We want to live courageously, but we settle for what’s easy. We want to love, but we settle for tolerance.

Deciding to want something controllable and predictable (instead of what we truly long for) requires very little risk, so I try to trick my heart into being satisfied with this consolation prize. But, if I’m being honest, my heart desires not just what’s great, but the greatest — God Himself. And yours does too.

Do Not Be Afraid To Dream

What do you really want? Have you ever really thought about it? What do you really want when you give in to that sin over and over again? What do you really want when you change yourself to make others happy? What do you really want when you’re alone in silence?

A couple of years ago, Pope Francis tweeted this: “Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!”

When I sit alone before the Blessed Sacrament, I know what I want. I want to belong to Him. How could I be willing to settle for less? Adoration is the one place where my heart can dream fearlessly because I am safe with my Savior, whose dreams for me are endless. Sitting in the presence of my Lord, how could I do anything less than dream of infinite love?

When you sit alone with God, don’t hesitate to tell Him your dreams. It’s true that our plans do not always match God’s plans, but I can guarantee you one thing: He will never ask you to dream of less; He will only ever ask you to dream of more.

Stop Settling

It’s not always easy to talk to God about my dreams and desires. When I’m tempted to stop dreaming and settle for something easy, something I can control, I often think of this verse from Scripture:

“If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,’
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in;
I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

I was not made to settle. I was made to desire God Himself. I can try to bury that desire and settle for something easier, but I know this will never fulfil me. Whether it’s school, relationships, or our spiritual lives, we all experience the temptation not to try because trying means to risk failing, being rejected, or being disappointed. But that desire for greatness — that desire to dream of more — is a gift from God, and He is longing to fulfill it. He is longing for us to come to Him, to dream with Him, so that He can welcome us into the plan of His love.

What areas of your life leave you disappointed? What do you settle for? What dreams are you afraid to bring to God? Bring them to Him, confident in His love for you. Or, as St. Catherine of Sienna put it, “Start being brave about everything.”

About the Author

Sophia Swinford

I'm a theology student at St. Mary's in London, but I'm still an Arizona girl at heart. I basically live off books, coffee, rainy days, and conversations about Jesus, who has stolen my heart and never given it back!