By Ali Hoffman
I hate New Year’s resolutions. I’m horrible at them. For me, they fade away into oblivion sometime mid-February (or let’s be real, mid-January) and overall I feel like a failure even when it hasn’t even hit March yet. Ugh, anyone with me? So, as 2017 rapidly approached, I wanted to do something differently. I decided to prayerfully choose a virtue to “work” on during the year. I’m calling it a “virtue-olution.” Essentially, guided by the Holy Spirit, I would choose a virtue to work on all year by “adopting” a particular Saint’s intercession as well as finding ways to exercise that virtue, and let’s be honest, that’s all the exercising I actually like doing. I wanted the Holy Spirit to convict my heart about what I needed most desperately in my life and you want to know what He told me? Humility. That’s right—the mother of all virtues. Pride-killer.
“Alright, Jesus… let’s do this,” I thought to my ego-driven self.
As I type this, it’s January 24th and I am more aware of my sins, failures, and shortcomings than I have ever been in my 26 years of living. Some would think that’s depressing, but I see it as refreshing. I’ve always been a perfectionist, wanting everything I touch to turn to gold and berating myself if something doesn’t turn out EXACTLY how I planned it to go. What I’ve learned thus far is truly “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights (James 1:17).” I’m learning that everything I do comes from complete grace and as well as learning to live out the phrase by Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel, “we need to implore [God’s] grace daily, asking him to open our cold hearts and shake up our lukewarm and superficial existence” (p. 193).
One thing I want to be remembered for is being a dedicated Door Holder. A Door Holder is a phrase Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Georgia created to give a title to his volunteers—people “who’ve been on the inside and experienced Jesus and are willing to open the door for others to be welcomed in.”
“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10
These are more than just volunteers – they are dedicated servants to the House of the Lord who show up, take ownership, and selflessly serve in whatever capacity is asked of them. More than anything, I want to be a dedicated Door Holder rather than an ego-driven Platform Speaker. I want to show up to whatever task I am asked to do, either by the Lord or someone speaking on behalf of Him, take ownership, and humbly implore the grace of the Lord to complete the task, no matter how menial I may think it is.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Matthew 6:25-34, so eloquently titled, “Dependence on God.” Verse 33 is everything to me: “but seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” What my “virtue-olution” has taught me thus far is that above everything, I have to daily seek the Lord’s kingdom and His friendship. I have to acknowledge my own sinfulness, my own pride, and my own desire to fit, strain, and forge my own path to make myself happy. While this is super hard for me, don’t get me wrong (I’ve had plenty of breakdowns), I have found a new sense of freedom in honestly, completely relying on the Lord’s grace. The burden of perfection has slowly been melting away as I begin to realize that I’m just a Door Holder, and it is the Holy Spirit that does all the work. Jesus is just asking me to show up and be faithfully used by Him. Yes, certain tasks require more planning and effort on my part, but the success is not tied to whether or not I was “on” or not. No, on the contrary, as Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “[God] has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” I am to be faithful to my prayer life, faithful to the Sacraments of the Church, faithful to the commitments the Lord has given me, and faithful to my position as a Dedicated Door Holder.
Jesus, I want to be used by You in whatever way seems fit. If that’s being a Door Holder the rest of my life, then so be it. Your will be done.