When I decided to leave my executive career in corporate America to become a Catholic Speaker and Author negative thoughts flooded my head to a point where I could do only one thing – cry. Most of us are tormented by negative thoughts. “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t know what I am doing, I’m not spiritual enough, I’m not worthy of God’s love and I certainly cannot live a virtuous life.” How about the best one of all, “Who am I to think I can do this?”
Like God always does, He put the right people and circumstances in my way to help me figure it all out.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3)
Yet I found myself stuck in a perpetual freak-out mode trying to work my way out of it only to crawl back to daily Mass to seek consolation and guidance. Sometimes it worked and other times not so much. I would frequent confession with my lack of trust, patience and humility.
I knew the only answer was to go deeper in my prayer life and yet I wasn’t sure how. He did it again. God put someone in my life to help me and this time it was the best blessing ever. I liken it to the Ethiopian eunuch who needed help with scripture, even though he was a high-ranked court official responsible for the Ethiopian Queen’s treasury.
The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him (Acts 8 – 29-31).
Spiritual Direction- God Sends Help
While I was in confession I revealed that I didn’t want to make my speaking about me because I knew I should be glorifying God. I felt a sense of pride when people would say, “You’re such a good speaker”. I was struggling with patience. I wanted to let go of control and let God drive but I could not surrender.
Then the priest said, in the sweetest voice ever, “Can I help?”
I was stunned. My eyebrows turned down and my face changed to a look of confusion. “Uh, what do you mean?” I said in disbelief. This was a confession; it was not something I expected to hear. He went on to say that he is a Spiritual Director and he would like to help me. I gladly accepted then stalked him to his office after confession to find out more. We made our first appointment. I was pretty excited because a Catholic evangelist, Chris Stefanick, had told me, “Kendra, you are going to need a Spiritual Director because you will need to discern many things that come your way.” I didn’t have a clue how to get one and three months had already gone. Little did I know that direction would deepen my prayer life more than I could ever imagine
You Are Child of God
The first thing he taught me was my identity as a child of God. Of course, I knew this logically, but when we started our opening prayer for our session and began to talk about who I was in God’s eyes it was so powerful, I just sobbed. I could feel the Holy Spirit stir in me and Mary looking over us as we continued and I left feeling so grateful to God for putting him in my life. I am so blessed God put us together because I know many people struggle to find a good Spiritual Director. I know we were meant to be, it was His hand binding us in the confessional together.
About seven months later, someone who is pretty involved in the Catholic Faith made a comment about the fact that we probably don’t need anymore Catholic Speakers. That comment hit me in the gut and swirled me into a tailspin. It was the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption and I was getting out of the car and walking into Mass when this horrible comment kicked me in the teeth. I don’t remember much of the Mass which is a shame because it was such an important solemnity. I cried during most of it thinking, “Who am I to think I can do this? I can’t do this?”
I came out of Mass and immediately started texting my Spiritual Director about what happened. The poor man received paragraph after paragraph of texts with me wailing about my insecurities and how I was freaking out. I was truly on the ledge and I had one foot off ready to jump.
Come To Me
He came back with one word in capital letters – PRAY.
I flipped out. Are you kidding me? Is that all you are going to say? I was a mess and that is all he is going to tell me to do? After I threw my hands up and stomped around the room like a pouting child for a while, I decided to do what he told me to do. I sat down and started to pray to God to help me take this fear away and give me peace if He truly does want me to continue down this path.
It took a few hours of repeating this, getting up and walking around, going back to sit down and repeating the prayer. Finally, I calmed down and peace came over me. I was not thinking about those horrible thoughts anymore.
A few months later, I shared how upset I was with that text he sent. He shared something all of us need to hear. He said,
Kendra, it is not me who is to help you when you are in despair or when Satan is attacking you. You need to go to God, He is the only answer. I am like Mary, here to guide you to her Son. I will help you on your journey but I am not the Consoler.
I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life( John 8:12).
Negative thoughts are not of God. They are dark and come from Satan and the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. I am currently reading a book by Neal Lazano, “Unbound” that my Spiritual Director said is a good book. It is truly opening my eyes to look at the love of God and renounce the Satanic spirits whose only purpose is to ruin our relationship with Him and drag us to hell. We have many wounds from our experiences, childhood, trauma or ways in which we seek to “find something more” in psychics, tarot cards, the “Universe” which can open the doors for Satan’s minions to enter and mess with our thoughts.
God loves us more than we know and His Spirit within us is a light leading us to the His Kingdom. Even when we do or say the wrong things, He is there with open arms to forgive us completely. We can’t comprehend His mercy but we can comprehend that He would never say the horrible things we hear in our heads. Do not be afraid is written 365 times in the bible, on purpose. Every day we must surrender to His love and ask Him to help us. We are to trust in Him to get us through everything.
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid ( John 14:27).
God is love. He is not hateful. Yes, we know the judgement and wrath of God, but if we are contrite in our sins, His mercy is never-ending.
In some cases, we are also to blame because we do not run to Him when these thoughts come into our head and renounce them immediately. Satan has no power over Jesus Christ and His Precious Blood. So, when these thoughts harass you, keep you up at night or you feel obsessed with them, say this out loud: “Mary, protect me and wrap me in your loving mantle, take me to the foot of the cross and cover me in Jesus’ precious blood.” Then say out loud, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the spirit of fear, the spirit of harassment, the spirit of obsession, etc.” You may not have spirits within you they may just be tempting you, which seems to be the case for me most of the time.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
Constantly remind yourself that you are a child of God. You are not satan’s; he cannot hurt you or destroy you if you are His. I know this is easier said than done, but if you stop immediately, pray out loud and renounce the evil you will be amazed at the ways in which these voices quiet and disappear.
I have such an amazing Spiritual Director who has truly changed my prayer life and relationship with God in ways I could never have done on my own. I want to share him with the world so I asked him to join me when I lead a pilgrimage to Italy as our Spiritual Director.
To find out more- https://kendravonesh.com/italy-pilgrimage/ It will be 10 life-changing days February 13 – 22, 2020.