By Michelle Jones Schroeder
I’m a to-do list kind of girl so when I start on a project the first thing I do is make a list of each step that will be required to complete it. As the work gets done, there’s nothing I find more satisfying that being able to scratch items off my list until everything is finished. Because God designed my brain to work this way, He had to know that certain things about my faith life would be challenging for me because, let’s face it, we don’t usually know exactly what God’s projects are for us.
Over the years, one of the hardest things I’ve had to accept is that faith is an unending series of questions to which I can answer yes or no. I’ve learned (often the hard way) that it’s not enough to say yes once, at the beginning of a project, and then go on my way not seeking God’s direction for the rest of it. Each step, each new development requires another yes if I want to stay on the path He laid out for me. Fortunately for me and for all of us who struggle with this, God gave us the perfect example to follow. Mary’s yes didn’t begin and end at the Annunciation. She certainly didn’t wake up and say yes to God for the first time ever at the angel’s appearance. Mary had obviously been following God’s direction for her whole life. Furthermore, the angel didn’t tell her exactly what was going to occur in her life and the life of her Son over the next 33 years so that she could agree to the whole deal at once. Instead, God only revealed one thing, the first thing about His salvation plan, to her. Then Mary had to wait for the next step and the next and the next and she kept saying yes. She had no idea what the whole project would entail so she certainly couldn’t make a list and scratch things off as did them. Her beautiful example of faith and trust blows my mind every time I contemplate it because I am usually so far away from that ideal.
Despite being aware of my weakness in this area, I continue to fail. Over and over, whenever I feel like God is leading me somewhere or giving me a project, I still frequently make the mistake of thinking I understand the whole thing. I set about making a to-do list that in not in sync with God’s plan and eventually, He lets me know it. Each time I fail, I think about our Blessed Mother and her perfect example. I actively seek her help in re-shaping my approach to whatever it is God is calling me for at any given moment so that I can be more like her and submit myself to God’s will every step of the way. It’s a work in progress and some days are better than others, but I’ll continue to try. I’m hopeful that with enough practice I may eventually complete the task of letting go of my list and then I’ll finally be able to scratch that off!
About the Author:
Michelle Jones Schroeder is a cradle Catholic raised in New Orleans and residing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She and her husband of twenty-one years have two hilarious children who keep them entertained and exhausted. Following twelve years of Catholic school and graduation from LSU, Michelle spent the first part of her professional life in Marketing and Management. After staying home for a few years with her young kids, her poor culinary skills led her to invent a kitchen product and start a small business. She is slightly obsessed with St. Pio of Pietrelcina and 80s music.
Michelle enjoys being involved with a vibrant Catholic community at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Baton Rouge. Her fantastic family and fabulous friends are the world to her. She doesn’t have free time but if she did, she’d enjoy a nap.