In this episode, Lorissa discusses navigating the storms of life and how to find acceptance and peace even when it feels like our lives are out of control. She shares a small insight from a talk recorded by Monsignor Shea, author of “From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age” that helped her accept the storms she faced in her life this past week and brought about peace and clarity, helping her find God’s presence even in the midst of difficult times. Join us as we explore the beauty of seeking God in all moments in our imperfect world.
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Hello my beautiful sisters in Christ. This is Lorissa Horn and I hope you are doing well. The topic that I want to dive into today on this episode is lightly inspired by a powerful talk by Monsignor Shea who is the president of University of Mary. He gave it at our Idaho Catholic Men’s Conference earlier this year. In January. And although I was at the Men’s Conference, my husband helped to put it on and he shared the recording of the talk with me a couple weeks later and it was incredible. It was a deeply intellectual and very powerful talk and I’m not even going to be able to do it justice. But really what I want to share with you today is a pretty profound takeaway that I’ve taken from it and I’ve applied it to my life, which in particular has helped me a lot this week.
And so this is kind of the very basic takeaway that I took from it. His concept was that if you look throughout the last 2000 years of our church history and in the early church it was the apostolic times where all of the world was like pagan and obviously not Christian. And then Jesus came into the world and his apostles went out. And in those first several hundred years it was this apostolic time where the apostles were going out and disciples and baptizing and the world was really then beginning to be set on fire for Christ. And then over hundreds of years, the western world anyways kind of shifted into more of a Christian world perspective where values and beliefs were all kind of centered amongst Christianity and people live their lives like that in so much of people’s beliefs and communities and countries were shaped by Christianity. And then he started talking about how in the last few hundred years with the changes in so much with the postmodern era and technology and the massive changes in society and cultures and viewpoints and philosophies and all of this come with this more modern way of living. It’s almost as if we’re back into a more of an apostolic time frame where we live in a world where Christian views aren’t necessarily the common belief. And so how does the Church respond to this and what is the Church doing? And he had just this extraordinary talk that was all around this and he even has this amazing small little book that dives more into this.
It’s called From Christendom to Apostolic Mission pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age. And so if this type of stuff is fascinating to you and compelling, then I invite you to go buy it on Amazon. It’s an amazing book as well. But one of the things that he talked about in this talk was this concept, this realization that we do not live in a utopian society and we never will. And even in the last few hundred years with the rise of technology and all of these changes, these massive changes have happened so quickly. A lot of it is like this desire of how do we create a utopian society? And this reality is that we just won’t that at the heart of our humanity is this result that we are broken, that we live in a broken world that has been broken because of original sin and that all of us have this result of sin in our lives and that is who we are. It’s our fallen nature. And yet God is the answer.
This is what he was talking about. That God is the answer to all of this and not that in this life will we ever experience a perfect world. That’s heaven that’s to come in the next life. But in this life we are not in a utopia. And this quest to somehow attain that or to attain some sort of perfect life where there is no suffering or pain or sin is just not realistic. And so I just remember kind of hearing him talk through that and again so much more eloquently than I am giving it justice for. But it hit me so hard and it reminded me so much of what we teach in Masters that life is 50-50 and yet so often we wish it weren’t right. Like we wish that there wasn’t pain or suffering or sin or problems or struggles or pain.
Like we just wish life could be easier and better and more perfect and that it wouldn’t be hard and yet we know that it’s not. Life is 50-50. We have of course these beautiful moments of joy and happiness and everything is good and in the very next minute we could have something break or we have an accident or somebody gets angry at someone. Like life is 50-50. And so listening to Monsignor Shay, my husband and I, after listening to that talk, we kind of came up with this phrase or we didn’t come up with it, he came up with it. But we use it now in our lives, not every day, but oftentimes we’ll find ourselves saying oh yes, we don’t live in a utopia. Like we’re not living in utopia. And it is a really powerful phrase.
I’ve found it to be incredibly powerful in my own life. Which leads me to just kind of entering into sharing with you the eye this week. I’ve had one of those weeks, I’m sure you can relate, where it just has been a hard week and it is, it’s the 50 50 of life. And for me this week was more difficult than most. There’s been a big tragedy in my local community. There has been just some pain and suffering, some personal challenges, some personal struggles. There’s been big changes in my life. There’s just been a number of things and isn’t it always that way where it just seems like, gosh, everything kind of feels like it’s out of whack or it’s all happening at once, like one little thing after another.
And I found myself a number of times this week getting frustrated, like finding myself saying, why is this happening? And how could this tragedy have happened? And trying to grapple with that. And of course for all of us that know of this tragedy, it’s like trying to wrap our minds around it and make sense of it. But then there’s also in my own personal life, just these things where I found myself this week thinking, why is this happening? Why do I have to deal with this? I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish there was a difference, I wish this circumstance was different. I wish I didn’t have to deal with it. All of these things are questioning it. And it’s normal for our brain to do that. When our brain is trying to make sense of suffering or struggles or crosses or hardships, when it’s trying to make sense of maybe sin or broken relationships, whenever those types of things happen, it’s only natural that our brain is going to question and it’s going to want to try to figure it out.
But it’s also important. And the thing that has helped me the most is even in the midst of finding myself questioning and wishing things were different and wanting it to be different, I was able to just see my brain working. And that is what is so incredibly fascinating. And I could feel it. I could feel it in my heart, really. Like I was in what we call resistance. I was in resistance many times this week to reality. These certain circumstances had happened and I simply wished that they hadn’t.
And I wished that it could be different. And yet this is the thing. It doesn’t matter how much we wish things were different when we’re in resistance to it. It’s almost like we’re in denial of it. That we think that if we somehow wish that it could be different enough, that it’ll somehow magically change or somehow be different than it is, and it just doesn’t change things. And this is the point that I want to make, is that when we’re faced with the 50-50, like the 50% that’s difficult and painful and heartbreaking and scary and all of those emotions, and when we those are legitimate pain that causes oftentimes legitimate suffering. Like they just are when there’s a loss in the family or when somebody gets hurt or when there is a broken relationship. It just is legitimate pain or hurt.
I don’t want to try to say that it’s not. However, when we find ourselves wishing for it to be different or resisting it or being in denial of it or trying to fight it, what we find is that we add so much more emotional pain to the legitimate pain. And that’s what I was doing this week. And I would like the thing that was crazy and fascinating to me is that I recognized it. I was like, oh, look, I am in some of the circumstances, I was like, I don’t want to be dealing with this. I don’t want this. And in a way, it was like I was kind of having this pity party or this little tantrum, almost like, no, I don’t want this. And yet the phrase that brought me out of that resistance, out of that denial, out of that unnecessary extra suffering, was that we do not live in a utopia.
I said to my husband Johnny, probably five times this week at very different moments when I found myself almost in a place of, like, total frustration. I just had these moments where I was like, well, here we are. We don’t live in a utopia. And the moment that those words rolled off my mouth, I noticed something profound happen in my body. Instantly, the resistance gave away. Instead of trying to wish that the circumstance was different or wanting it to be better or not, like, wanting it to go away by simply saying those words, this is not a utopia. This life is not a utopia, it helped me to realize, yeah, that’s exactly right. We live in a broken world.
We live in a world where sin is like we have sin, we have accidents, we have miscommunications, we have misunderstandings, we have insecurities. We have all these things. This isn’t a perfect world, and it never will be this side of heaven. And when I say that, especially when I say it out loud, and I just enter into that thought, my body just relaxes and I enter into acceptance. So I move from resistance and denial and frustration into just acceptance of what is like, yeah, of course, this is how it is. We live in a fallen world. It is not a utopia. And the moment that I sense myself doing that, I find a sense of peace.
Now, that phrase, that thought, that feeling of acceptance, it doesn’t change the circumstance. Nothing changes the circumstance. But I noticed that I was changing in the midst of it. And when I move from resistance into acceptance and I start to feel the peace enter in, I can sense myself opening up and having a little bit more clarity and a little bit more openness to the reality that God is dwelling in the midst of the circumstance. See, when I’m in resistance and in denial and when I am in a state of emotional childhood trying to wish things away or wish things to be different, I really struggle to see God in that place. Why? Because my brain doesn’t want to look at it. It wants to look at a different circumstance or scenario and wish it were that. But the moment I enter into acceptance, it’s like I open myself up to being able to see God in the midst of the suffering, in the midst of the pain, and to know that he is there.
And I think that this is also part of Mont Senior’s message, is that in the midst of this broken world, technological advancement like anything that we as humans think that we could come up with artificial intelligence, whatever. It happens that we think we can create a perfect world, it will never be that, because none of those things will be the answer. The answer to the suffering, the answer to the brokenness, is God and God alone. And when we find ourselves entering into that place of acceptance, and when we’re in those moments, in the present moment, not wishing for something to be different, but accepting what is, then we see God’s hand at work and we get to become observers of the miracles and of what God is doing. And it’s also in that place that we can relinquish control to try to fix things, to try to somehow make it better. Because all of a sudden we realize that God is the only one that really can. And when we see Him in the midst of it, we trust in Him and we let Him guide us. And this, my sisters, in Christ, this is where we find peace, even in the midst of the storm so often.
And what I’ve experienced this week is what I would classify as like, yeah, I kind of felt like I was in some storms, some pretty big storms this week. And so when we’re in the storm, we can either get caught up in the storm and we feel like our lives are out of control and there’s a lot of darkness, and everything seems like it’s turned upside down, and we question and we’re scared, and we’re trying to cling to something because the storm kind of takes us over. But when we enter into acceptance, we find ourselves still in the midst of a storm, but we almost stand in it as though we are a lighthouse. Like we’re standing strong in the midst of this storm that’s happening around us. And Christ and his light is the light in us in this storm, shining light and being a sense of refuge. Like Christ’s light is the light in the darkness, but we are standing strong with Him. And for me, that’s what I felt like this week. And it happened in these moments that started with one simple phrase: this is not a utopia.
And as long as I somehow expect life to be perfect, I’m never really going to find the peace that I know that God wants to give. To me, life is 50-50. There’s a lot of very great and beautiful and wonderful moments, but our life is also sprinkled. In all of it is the struggles and the crosses and the pain and the result of a fallen world and our fallen nature and our brokenness and all of it. And yet God is with us. He’s holding us. He is never absent. He is there in it all.
And I believe that these are the moments in which if we’re paying attention to Him, if we enter into acceptance and we just open ourselves to Him, I think these are some of the times that we get front row seats to watch His greatest miracles. This is how I believe the saints lived their lives. Our Lord never promised that life would be perfect. He never did. In fact, he said, in this world, you will have trouble, but do not be afraid. I have come to be with you in it. Like, he has assured us that he didn’t come to take away all of our suffering, but he came to redeem it and to give us an example in the flesh of what redemption looks like and what his light and truth and goodness looks like, even in the midst of pain and hardship. And so my sister in Christ I don’t know if this phrase will help you, but I would like to invite you to create a phrase like this in your own life, one that helps you move out of resistance.
Emotional childhood, that place of denial. At times when you find yourself just frustrated and angry and wishing things were different. Wishing at times the church or people or your family members or any like all of these circumstances that plague us and cause us heavy burden at times. Like, what is a phrase that could help you? Maybe it’s something like, oh, yeah, life. Life is 50-50, or yes, that’s right. We live in a broken world. Christ has promised us paradise in heaven. But this world is not like something that will help snap you back into reality, where you can just look at the circumstances and situations, situations at times even the most difficult ones, and say, oh, yeah, that’s right.
This is the world that we live in, and it’s not going to be perfect. And I can accept what is in front of me at this moment, and I can trust that God is in it with me. That is my hope for us. It’s not easy, and our brain is not naturally going to go there, but the more we practice it, the easier it becomes and the quicker we can get to that place of peace, even in the storm. And I want to say this. Even after a very difficult and challenging week, I found a little bit of refuge in my day to day. I’ve actually had a very good day today, a day of rest and a day of spending time with my family. And it’s been a great gift to kind of have a day like today where the sun was shining and it was just beautiful and enjoyable.
And I had a great walk this morning with a dear friend, and that was very life-giving. And I spent time with my husband this afternoon and my kids. And so today I got to experience the other side of the 50-50, right where it was just a really beautiful day. And this afternoon I was outside with my kids. They were playing in the backyard and I was sitting there. We had a little swing and I was sitting there and it was just an absolutely glorious, beautiful day. I mean, perfect weather, 75 degrees, and the sun was shining. And I looked out at our yard and we have a trampoline.
And the kids were playing in a different part of the yard. And I don’t know why, but I just decided to just go and climb up on the trampoline. And I just laid on it. I just laid there and just let the sun soak into my body. I just felt like I was getting this extraordinary dose of vitamin D just pouring in. And it felt so good, like the warmth of the sun. I was laying there and this breeze, this gentle breeze was passing by me. And I laid there and I was like, oh, my gosh, this is almost perfect.
Except that it wasn’t. It wasn’t perfect. And this is why. Because right next door, our trampoline is really close to our fence. And right on the other side of the fence was my neighbor who was weed eating his yard. And it was like the loudest weed eater you could imagine. It was just so loud. And I was laying there cracking up, thinking, of course, I wish I could lay here in the sun with this breeze and just peaceful and hear the birds chirping.
I wish it could just be perfect. But this loud buzzing sound of the weed eater reminded me we do not live in a utopia. And it made me laugh. And instead of wishing that my neighbor would stop so I could have a moment of quiet peacefulness, in this moment, I simply said a prayer for him. And I thanked God for this moment. And you know what happened? I felt so much peace and so much joy, even with that weed whacker going so loud. And I closed my eyes and I drifted off to sleep for about ten minutes. And it was glorious, even though it wasn’t perfect.
My sisters in Christ our Lord said that I have come to give you life and life to the full. He wanted to give us everything and he wanted to walk with us and be in it. He holds us in existence and his love for us is unimaginable. May we continue to seek Him out in all the moments, in the moments of the 50-50 and the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, the painful and the joyful, all of it, this is life to the full. And then someday, when we pass into eternity and are welcomed into heaven, we will experience perfect love and perfect joy and eternal life where there is no more suffering or pain and it will be unimaginable. And until then, God is with us in every moment. And it is he who is the answer to everything. And when we cling to Him, we will receive peace in the midst of it all.
My sisters in Christ, I hope you have a blessed week and I hope you remember that you are Made for Greatness.