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Put Your Helmet On

PutYourHelmentOnToday, I will highlight the way that Satan deceives our minds in order to trigger negative emotions and lead us into discouragement, and, ultimately, despair. In the last two weeks, I’ve had at least three conversations with women who are beautiful, blessed, and economically comfortable; yet, each of these women was in great distress, sharing with me emotional pain such as sorrow at not being married or fear of miscarrying or regret at sinful choices.  And, while these women were not sinning in their fear and sorrow, they had allowed their peace to be taken from them by the Enemy who plays with our heads.

Before we go on, let me interject a little metaphysics; metaphysics is simply a fancy word that refers to who a person is psychologically/spiritually/in their inner self. Metaphysically speaking, therefore, it seems to me that one of our dominant female weaknesses is inconstancy, namely, the temptation not to remain faithful to God and continue to believe that we are loved.  Women need to love and be loved. It is our primary vocation, given by God at the first moments of creation, and is summed up in the titles “helpmate” and “mother”. God offers woman to man, and, in some sense, to every person she meets, as helpmate who provides support and encouragement; this vocation is closely tied to that of mother, whether spiritual or physical, who draws nascent life into fullness and offers her energies to sustain and nurture that life.  These dual vocations of mother and helpmate are bound up in the feminine genius.  Pope John Paul II coined the phrase “feminine genius” to describe woman’s natural talent for relationship, for identifying the human dignity in every situation and emphasizing that personal dignity over economics or convenience.  Feminine genius guards women from treating others as objects or from using others for their own gain.

While we females are relational geniuses and while we thrive on love, it is very difficult for us to steadfastly believe that we are loved, no matter what. This is because we are daughters of Eve; we bear Eve’s curse, which includes the propensity to listen to the Serpent when he lies to us that God is not real and that we are not precious. Here is how Satan works against women.  It is the method he used with Eve, and he continues to use it successfully against women every day.  First, he attacks woman’s thoughts with a lie, such as “You are never going to get married because God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for your future.”  At that moment, unless a woman quickly takes that thought captive and intentionally thinks the Truth, like “God loves me and I entrust myself entirely to Him.  Jesus, I trust in you.”, her emotions will start to react. She will become sad at having an unfulfilled vocation and frightened of spending her life alone.  Those emotions will quickly snowball and before she knows it, she might start to think about all the reasons she has to be sad, such as the job she hates and the fight she had with her friend last week.  Suddenly, life can begin to seem unbearable, and her feelings lead her into discouragement.  This malaise of discouragement, if allowed to grow, will spiral into depression and, if not stopped there, ultimately, despair.  Despair is a sin; it is the sin of believing that God does not love me and that my circumstances will never change, which is simply not true. And, despair can lead to awful things, including suicide, eating disorders, escapism through alcohol or sexual promiscuity and so forth.

stay strongNow, please know that I am not condemning female emotion, nor am I saying that sorrow and anger are bad.  Emotions are neither bad nor good.  Emotions simply are; they are raw energy which cooperates with our intellect to move our will to action, and they are not sinful.  However, very often we allow our emotions to be roused unnecessarily and we suffer needlessly when, if only we had caught the Lie an hour ago, we would not be in tears on the floor right now.  We let the Deceiver trick us again and again and allow our emotions to be triggered.  And, while emotions are raw energy that is non-moral, they do take a toll on us, leading us through a veritable roller coaster that drains our energy and makes us grouchy with our families and co-workers.

It is amazing how much damage can be started by one deceptive thought.  And, we fall again and again, allowing lies to infect our minds and to steal our peace.  Everything might be great–my husband and I are in an affectionate season, my children are healthy, I feel pretty, and I feel close to God.  Then, tomorrow, I might see a woman whose diamond ring is bigger than mine and, if I don’t catch that thought of jealousy, I might end up with feelings of resentment toward my husband for not having more ambition and with feelings of frustration that I don’t have a bigger house and, suddenly, I hate my life and am feeling tempted to drive to the airport and fly to Italy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let the Serpent’s thoughts into my mind and ended up  with wild desires to drive to the airport.  Seriously.

helmet-of-salvationSo, what I propose is that we put on the armor of God mentioned in Ephesians 6, most especially the Helmet of Salvation.  The helmet of salvation is Truth, truth about who God is and who I am in Christ.  God is Love.  God the Father is visible in Jesus Christ.  God wants my good.  I am willed for my own sake, and I am not forgotten.  Etc.  These are a few of the truths that I often have to repeat in my head as I hold back a barrage of Deceptive thoughts.  Some days, when I am especially tired, the thoughts come like an assault, and, if I am not careful, I will be almost immersed an emotional response before I even realize what is happening.  On days like that, when I know that I am especially at risk, I put the Helmet of Salvation on tightly and turn off my mind.  I refuse to think about the future or what I wish for my life  and repeat doggedly, “Jesus, I trust in you.  Jesus, I trust in you.” As if holding off the barbarian hordes, I keep my head down and pray over and over, “Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner”.

I will close with this anecdote about Saint Therese; please pardon the rather vague paraphrase.  Basically, when Saint Therese felt distressed, she would say, “Jesus, I know that you are asleep in the stern of the boat, and I am not going to wake you up. I am going to trust you and let you sleep.”  That is beautiful.  And, that is the sort of trust that God hopes from us, that, just because circumstances are frightening today, we remember the peace and joy of yesterday and hold onto the blessings that we have received and refrain from accusing Christ of failing us.  Please, dear sisters, be brave and strong and take thoughts captive that are ugly and untrue.  Guard against thoughts that are anxious and that dread the future.  Guard against thoughts that lie to you.  Do God the service of being faithful to Him in your mind and emotions, even when the world seems to be falling to pieces all around you.

Put on your helmets of salvation, ladies, and hang on to the truth!

 

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About Katie

Katie spent her girlhood in a cult, where she was sexually wounded and nearly crushed by sorrow. Katie is here today because she belongs to a Father who turns tears into dancing and darkness into light. She earned her undergraduate degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, which is also the place where she met Jesus in the Eucharist and took Pope John Paul II as her spiritual father. Katie ministered at a Honduran orphanage, had her heart pierced in India, and served as a pro-life lobbyist before marrying and becoming a full-time mother. Amidst her days of washing dishes, chasing chickens, and kissing babies, Katie is earning her Master of Arts in Theology at the Augustine Institute. The mother of two precious toddlers and three babies who have run ahead to heaven, Katie lives with her beloved husband, Devin, on a farm outside Austin, Texas, and serves as the co-director of Feminine Genius, Inc.

  • Elizabeth - Katie!! Oh how revealing and true! You are speaking to me!!! May I share this post on my blog!!

    Thank you so much for this post, everything you speak of is true

    Blessings!January 9, 2014 – 7:37 amReplyCancel

  • Catrina - Thank you so much for this beautiful message. You captured so much of what I am currently struggling with. Your encouragement to stay strong and know God’s love will help me so much!January 9, 2014 – 9:35 amReplyCancel

  • Debbie Kronenwetter - I so so needed this today..My grandson and his girlfriend had a baby girl in Nov of 2013. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her, and I have been getting her every few weeks for 2 days..She is my Great Granddaughter..well his girlfriend has another little girl and she told me today, I can’t get Maddie anymore because I don’t take Lily (her other daughter)also..I am not in the best of health and I have dogs that Lily would be mean to (she is with her dog) and I’m afaid my dogs would bite her..sooo I am going to put my helmet on and TRUST GOD!! Thank you for this!January 9, 2014 – 11:23 amReplyCancel

  • Jeannie - I have been feeling more and more as you described. My son lost his life to a drug overdose almost 2 yrs ago. My mother had a terrible accident and is suffering with the loss of vision in one eye. I cringe every time the phone rings. I fear constantly that something bad is about to happen.
    Thank-you for the reminder. I say these in prayer every day, but I’m still guilty of fearing the future. May you continue to be in God’s light and I will remember what you said each time I am tempted.January 9, 2014 – 11:32 amReplyCancel

  • mike collins - Believing we are loved is a problem for
    many males too, myself included!January 9, 2014 – 11:39 amReplyCancel

  • Martina - Beautifully written, Katie!January 9, 2014 – 12:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Katie - God bless you, Elizabeth! Of course you may share this post with a pingback.January 9, 2014 – 4:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Steve Renehan - Dear Katie, Thank you SO much for writing this! I’m a 60 year-old guy who’s been fighting depression, anxiety & alcoholism for more than 40 years, and this really speaks to me! I’ve posted it to my own Facebook page because it’s so important & relevant to my problem, that I want to re-read it every day! I, too, constantly say “Jesus, I trust in you” as well as the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner”, (I believe that’s known as “The Jesus Prayer”). These are all that keep me sane & sober! I sometimes beat myself up for having squandered God’s blessings in my life, but I’ll be sure to re-read this everyday, as it gives me hope! Thanks again & God Bless you!!! Peace to you & yours, Steve Renehan.January 9, 2014 – 5:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Audrey - Thank you for this timely post. God bless you always!January 9, 2014 – 6:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Kathy Castillo - Thank you! Perfect timing…you words turned my frown upside down :-). God bless you!January 9, 2014 – 9:54 pmReplyCancel

  • What Catholic Tradition Means to a Protestant - BigPulpit.com - […] . . – Mary Kochan, CL Objective Reality Versus Reification – Fr. Robert John Araujo SJ, MOJ Put Your Helmet On – Katie Rose, Catholic Sistas Scripture Matters, Only Science Disproves Science – Seth […]January 10, 2014 – 11:54 amReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Katie thank you for this.. I happened upon it and it’s really helped me today. God bless you. I trust in you Jesus Christ Amen xJanuary 10, 2014 – 12:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Leonard F, Vincent - Very well written, Katie!!! I’m sure you will continue to receive waves of exciting reviews from this one… But, what about Eve’s other half, her rib donor if you will? – boy, do we need to feed on such wisdom. Consequently, may I challenge you to impart on us the same – with of course a little different slant.. I have to say, at first, when I clicked on this from a Facebook page, I had no idea where it would lead, but, I truly enjoyed your every word…January 10, 2014 – 1:02 pmReplyCancel

  • TJ - Excellent article for women and for me too.January 11, 2014 – 7:40 amReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Recently my daughter and I had a talk. I was revealing to her the concerns of my heart for the family at the moment, where circumstances are pretty bad. Everywhere I look in my family at the present time is ashes. Broken marriages, alcoholism, drug abuse, rejection of their Catholic faith, sexual sin. My daughter informed me that my emotions are too invested in the behavior of others, that I need to learn how to distance myself emotionally from these things. Katie, you have hit the nail on the head regarding the “raw energy” that “infects our minds and steals our peace.” It engulfs me in a depressive state sprinkled with resentment and bitterness. Recognition of the problem (my problem)is the first step. Thank you for this article to help finally break this emotional bondage to outward circumstances. I too will keep it handy as a daily reminder. Bless you Katie!January 11, 2014 – 10:13 amReplyCancel

  • Theresa - This post, so true, brought me to tears for it is exactly what I have been going through, and have gone through my whole life. Constantly told I’m beautiful, I have never believed it, nor have I ever believed I was worth loving because of the abuse and trials I’ve had to endure throughout my life. Even though my faith has gotten me through those trials, it’s only been recently that I’ve been able to come face-to-face with who I really am and the beloved, blood-bought child of the Father I truly am. But the devil fights to the death, and it indeed tries to steal that truth that has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, filling our minds with lies that trigger negativity, sadness, and ultimately, hopelessness, sin and despair. Thank you for this post, Katie. It came at a time that I most needed it when finding myself once again engaged in battle with those evil thoughts. Thank you for your gentle reminder of who and what we really are, beloved children of a loving, benevolent Father.January 11, 2014 – 10:43 amReplyCancel

  • roberta trew - I pinned this article, and shared it with my pro-life group.
    Just such a wonderful reminder. I printed it, too, to refer
    to when the occasion arises–and it will! The prayer of
    St. Therese is stunningly beautiful. Thank you!January 11, 2014 – 10:54 amReplyCancel

  • roberta trew - What is the box marked “comment luv”?January 11, 2014 – 10:56 amReplyCancel

    • Martina - Roberta, the “comment luv” box is a place where you can choose any post you’ve written under a shared sign-in name when you comment. So, if your sign-in information is linked up to your blog, it will pull up a list of your most recent posts for you to pick to share with us. I hope this helps a bit!January 12, 2014 – 6:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I love the anecdote about Saint Therese! Thank you for an inspiriting article, which speaks to my hearts and the hearts of many!! JMJ+January 11, 2014 – 1:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Sister Marie - Katie, your article is great food for thought. Just want to let you know of important miswording in paragraph 2: “temptation to remain faithful to God and continue to believe that we are loved.” I’m quite sure you intended to say: “temptation NOT to…” Since your readers are forwarding this, it would benefit them to amend it. God bless you!January 11, 2014 – 3:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Amy - Thank you for explaining it this way. This could have been written about me. I have never heard it explained this way. I have always viewed it as something wrong with me. ThanksJanuary 12, 2014 – 9:33 amReplyCancel

  • Rose - I LOVED this article – !!! Really needed it!!!!January 12, 2014 – 11:50 amReplyCancel

  • Lu Ann Cormier - wow, this is right on target…..raw truth! I wish I had this knowledge as a younger woman, it would have saved me (and others) much pain. I will pray for all you beautiful women who are reading this, may it touch your heart and change your thoughts <3January 13, 2014 – 4:54 pmReplyCancel

  • KK - I had to stop reading your article at the second paragraph, where you fundamentally error in your definition of metaphysics: “Before we go on, let me interject a little metaphysics; metaphysics is simply a fancy word that refers to who a person is psychologically/spiritually/in their inner self.”

    Perhaps you have a better understanding of this word than the language you chose to utilize conveys, but it is worth keeping in mind that words have meanings and over-simplification and misconstruing those meanings renders clear concise communication about reality (what I presume you are doing – posting a blog because you believe what you have to say is true) impossible.

    Your definition suggests that metaphysics is “simply,” or, in its most basic definition, something akin to a new age or pseudo-spiritual state of contemplation, when, it is most simply, the study of being, and more accurately, that branch of philosophy which deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. If you do not understand this definition and its implications, please refrain from using it in your writing, even as an adjective. If you do comprehend its meaning, I suggest offering a “simplified” definition which is closer to the meaning of the word.January 13, 2014 – 5:40 pmReplyCancel

  • Katie - Thanks for the edit, Sister Marie. I’ll make that change.January 13, 2014 – 8:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Patricia-Ann Constance_Wilson Perkowski - This is an important issue and it fits so well with my Mommy Mantra, exploring the daily Mass reading for moms, that I am sharing it in the post for todayJanuary 2, 2015 – 11:20 amReplyCancel

  • I’m stressed all the time! | - […] is a wonderful article by Catholic Sistas on the […]January 2, 2015 – 6:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Leslie - I enjoyed reading all of the comments from all of your readers. One thing that I wanted to suggest to readers that are post menepausal or post menepausal is that home imbalance can cause severe stress fear and anxiety in all life matters but also in your religious life. Some women go through this stage of life without much trouble, but others are VERY sensitive to hormone imbalance and feelings of hopelessness even when it appears that everything should be fine.

    Pray and talk to a priest that you feel very comfortable with. Look for an OBGYN that specializes on natural hormone replacement therapy if things don’t improve. The problems with stress, inability to sleep, forgetfulness,low energy, crying spells etc. could be because your body is not making the right levels of hormones.April 19, 2015 – 10:23 amReplyCancel

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