"Hmm," I thought. I like that. It seems like something I would have come up with.
I was using a word generator to give me my "Word of the Year". It was my first time using the generator. In the past, I had received a word in prayer to help guide my steps for the year - last year's word being Authenticity. The generator came up with the word "Known", and though I was loving this positive, warm and fuzzy word, something told me that God wasn't going to let me off the hook this year without some genuine reflection. He wanted to give input on the upcoming word of the year and the direction of my life.
Since I, too, wanted to receive this input, I later found myself in my parish adoration chapel asking for openness and receiving not one, but two words: trust and persist.
The first I nearly brushed off during that prayer time, thinking it was just the Lord whispering that word over and over to my heart because it's what I needed in the moment; but after some time, I realized he was asking me to trust more fully this year. Then, as soon as I conceded, writing down the word "Trust" in my journal, the word persist would not leave my head. It pressed in and would not leave me. I grew irritated - I had just found my word, after all! This nagging feeling continued and that incessant word would not leave me alone. I finally asked directly, "Do you just want me to have both words??" and the nagging ceased. I felt release and peace.
Fine, I gave in, You win.
Initially, I was intimidated, I'll be honest; the thought of a year ahead where the Lord is blatantly asking me to both trust and persist sounds like looming danger - a road with crooked signs screaming TURN BACK at voyagers who happen upon the path. But, when I mentioned to a friend that these were my words for the upcoming year, she seemed genuinely delighted, "Just imagine what good will come out of this year!" she said, "How exciting for you!"
It was then that those words began to take on meaning. The Lord doesn't desire fear for our lives, he desires sincere trust. When anxiety creeps in, he whispers to our hearts "persist".
Demonstrations of "trust and persist" can be found in so many examples already this year; the humbling mistakes that are made in the presence of many - the personal mental and emotional battles we undertake daily - the friend whose honesty is challenging, yet refreshing, inspiring you to strive harder and dig deeper.
Trusting calls us to know that we are not in control. There are situations in life that are beyond our grasp, and there always will be. When the future seems bleak, we trust that there is still an end to the trial and we will come out the other side stronger for having fought.
Persistence is there to continue forward momentum. When we trust, we cannot simply throw up our hands and wait for a situation to improve, we must keep pressing on - continually taking the next step until we see improvement (and then pressing still more!). Persistence is a partner of trust, and allows us the ability to persevere, even when life's situations seem dire.
So for now, I will trust. I will do my part, I will put in the work. I will put forth the effort. God will close the gaps and allow my meager offering to stand strong.
I will persist. I will not stop striving. I will not stop giving my all. I will pursue the next step constantly, always seeking the Lord's will - not my own.
I will do these things. And I will fail... many times. But with the grace of God and the intercession of the saints (including my randomly generated Saint of the Year, St. Barbatus), I will never cease in pursuing the role He has laid out for me - whatever that may be.