There is not much I love doing more than getting up at 5 am and driving to a city two hours away.
Getting up at 5 a.m. allowed me to meet a young man who moved from New York City to Kansas on his own at the age of 14 to have a more wholesome high school life. Getting up at 5 a.m. led me to a community I had never encountered before and could learn from. Getting up at 5 a.m. taught me that you should always ask a 14 year old boy with a microphone what his dad joke is BEFORE he shares it with the group.
A group of friends, including my older brother and our campus minister, put on a retreat for students approaching confirmation. This experience was one that definitely demanded a lot from us. For each of us differently, we had to step out of our comfort zones through praying over individual students or answering the difficult Q&A questions.
Once I hit my pillow that night, I was out for nearly 12 hours, and I can’t remember the last time I fell asleep so fast.
When the Lord told us to “cast our nets” in the Gospel, what was He asking us to do? Is there something specific He has put on your heart? Rely on Him? Trust in His plan? Be filled with His love?
I reflect on a period in my life a couple of years ago, where I felt the Lord stretching my limits and trying to teach me to let go. Whether it was changing my major, finalizing what to do with my summer, or deciding whether to stay in school next year, I felt like I was confronted by so many important decisions to make. I loved the idea of working with people while being a social worker, but is that really where I was supposed to be? There are so many wonderful things I have the opportunity to do this summer, but how was I supposed to choose just one? I knew my whole life was a Christ-centered mission, but what ministries was I called to specifically?
I look back and see all the things I was presented with and I don’t know how I functioned day to day with all that on my mind, because I was not trusting that the Lord would take care of it all. In all honesty, I didn’t really function. I wasn’t acting like myself. All I trusted were my own devices to bring about an answer, and that a certain amount or type of prayer would make my decisions written in the sky. I was constantly consumed by all of these questions so much that I couldn't live life authentically or even have normalcy.
It was easy for me to cast my nets when it came to the retreat. I knew I would feel filled as I prayed over the students or grew closer to my teammates on the car ride home. I trusted that even if I was uncomfortable for a few minutes (or twenty) that it would all be redeemed before the day was done. But what about big life decisions? I didn’t want to be uncomfortable for THAT long. One whole summer or a year off? A new career path? I was struggling to cast my nets with bigger decisions that had a lasting impact on my future.
A speaker came to St. Isidore’s and he ended with a beautiful analogy that left me in tears and helped me visualize the loving help of the Father.
He told a story of himself as a child playing the piano at a recital. His dad was a great pianist, and the two of them were about to perform a duet. The young child looked up at his father and said, “Do you think you can do this?”. The father then looks at his precious son and says, “Just play your part, you know it.” With the son’s little hands in the middle of the piano keys and his father’s on either side, beautiful music was created. Even when the son hit a wrong key and it was horribly out of key, the father stepped in and continued to make the song beautiful.
Even if we make the wrong decision when trying to discern where God wants us to go, He will still make a beautiful song out of whatever keys we decide to play. He only expects our best guess. We cast the nets at His command, and He provides the fruit that is yielded. There is nothing more freeing than not having to worry that you made the wrong decision.
Cast your nets. Why would we fear His beautiful music? Jesus tells us that He knows – He knows that we have already tried to trust. He knows that casting our nets into the deep in the past has left us discouraged and tired. He knows our wounds that make it hard to trust. He knows it all. But He does not cease to ask us to trust as we cast our nets filled with uncertainty, once again, despite our hurt or wounds of the past.
Choose one way you can cast your nets this week or this month. Pray for the strength to trust. Watch carefully to see how the Lord decides to fill you.
“Christi simus, non nostri” – Let us belong to Christ and not to ourselves.
Grace Leonard is a junior studying Secondary Education and Social Studies. She feels deeply, is passionate about music, and is inspired by the irreplaceable-ness of every human person. Click here to find her blog & musical outlets.