Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life Remembering God: 5 Tips to Keep Your Faith Alive by Dom Quaglia Every once in a while, something stops you in your tracks and it’s all you can think about. This happened to me recently as I watched a group of teenagers commit to step up and be leaders in their community. They wrote down actual, tangible commitments on note cards and handed them to someone else in the group. That person then stood up, read their friend’s commitments out loud, and pledged to keep them accountable. If you saw the movie “When the Game Stands Tall,” this may sound familiar to you – and you know that it works. Why have an accountability partner? Well, because sometimes when we make promises, it’s not that we don’t want to keep them, it’s that we forget to keep them. Remember When There’s a story in the book of Exodus, chapter 19, when Moses goes up to the mountain to get the ten commandments. While he was gone, the Israelites whom God had saved began to worry, and their faith began to waiver. They didn’t trust God even though he had done so much for them. They needed something else to fix their attention on and something else to hope in. They ended up worshipping a golden calf. Reading that, you may brush it off thinking it’s just another scripture story where everyone winds up looking like crazy people — and they kind of do. However, what they did is really not that different from what you and I do from time to time. Sometimes after a retreat, a Life Night, or an inspiring conversation, we might go home pumped and ready to live out our faith. However, as time passes, we can forget. We forget what God said or did, and in time, we revert back to our old ways, or look for love and satisfaction, peace and comfort in something other than Him. One of the biggest roles of an accountability partner is just to remind you of your commitment to God and His commitment to you. However, we’re all going to have times where our accountability partners aren’t around. Maybe it’s when we’re alone, or maybe it’s just when we’re away from our youth group friends. Either way, we all need reminders from time to time. I don’t know what your “thing” is, but most of us have at least one sin or struggle that is particularly easy to let slide when we’re by ourselves or don’t have friends around who are willing to call us out because they understand our commitment to Christ. The place where you don’t have accountability can be a dangerous place if you’re not careful. It might be your bedroom, or some other place that you’re usually alone. It could also be the hallway at school or the place where you work, or any other place you go where none of your friends from Church are around. John Wooden, legendary basketball coach, is often quoted as saying that “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Sin is detrimental to life. It stops us from being who we were meant to be. Just because we don’t have our accountability partners around, doesn’t mean we should be accountable. So, here are five really basic tips to be the person you’re striving to be in those situations. 1. Phone a Friend Let’s be real. We’re never more than .003 seconds away from our cell phones at any given moment of the day. Have someone you trust on speed dial – make it so you could have them on the phone in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to tell them what you’re struggling with, but you can make a deal that if you call, they have to answer and talk with you. 2. Phone a Heavenly Friend We are blessed to be able to call on the Communion of Saints in times of need. Do some research and find out if there’s a Patron Saint for whatever your particular struggle is. Whenever you’re feeling tempted, ask them for prayers! Some examples are St. Maria Goretti (purity), St. Maximilian Kolbe (substance abuse), and St. John Nepomucene (gossip/slander). 3. Handy Dandy Rosary Keep a rosary in your pocket. Don’t have pockets? I have one wrapped around my backpack strap at all times. I also see people wrap one around their wrist. Let it act not as an accessory but as a constant reminder of Mary’s “yes” to God even when it was tough. Let it encourage you to say “yes” to God even when it seems impossible. And don’t be afraid to pray with it, either. 😉 4. Willpower Wallpaper Change the background on your cell phone and computer to an inspiring Scripture verse or a picture of Jesus. It might seem basic, but this will remind you of your commitment to Christ each time you might be tempted to use one of those devices to sin, and it’ll also freak out the people who steal your phone throughout the day. Always a bonus. 5. The Alternative Whenever you begin to feel the temptation to sin and you don’t have those accountable people around, have an alternative activity that is your “go to.” You’ll have to do it right away. When you’re tempted to look at someone and judge them, think to yourself, “They are a child of God.” It’s important to train or condition yourself to avoid sin, so you might have to start by making a conscious effort to think that about every single person you see. Maybe you are a musician, and you grab your guitar or your drumsticks. As an athlete, you may head to the gym. Use your interests and hobbies to find an alternative way that you can glorify God, using the gifts he gave you, instead of sinning against Him. Be prepared to do these things right away. These are simple but will take serious dedication to master! Together, we can all grow in holiness. Have some other cool tips? Add them in the comments section! Most importantly, be God’s.