Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RESISTING HAPPINESS - A TALK BY ANNA MARIA AND TONY KINIFIC


Prayer: I put my trust in you oh Lord help me to do your will. Thy will be done. Amen.

For a while now I have been asking God Why am I here? Praying over it and thinking heavily about it, wondering if I would ever get an answer.

Last October I went to a talk at our Church and the guest speaker was Colleen Rayner, the subject of her talk was “The Power of Yes”.  During her talk she spoke about the Bible passage Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope”.  I began to notice a connection to my prayers. 

Then Kathy asked me with Tony to read this book “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly. I began to think and realize these are messengers from God.  God IS talking to me.

The Title intrigued me but I was apprehensive because I had a fear to give a talk, however I did say Yes.  Thinking back on the talk ”The Power of Yes”. 

First thing  “Seek his will in all things this is the road that leads to Happiness”. Then here comes the Resistance, my fear of the challenge, it would just be easier not to do it BUT God was challenging me. 

Resistance takes many forms: procrastination, laziness, fear, doubt, instant gratification, self-loathing, indecision, escapism, pride, self-deception, tension, self-sabotage.

Here are some points in the book that is helping me to make a-better-version-of-myself.

“Reflect on my image of God and trace back to its roots. My image of God: Gentle, kind, loving, very patient.  Wants me to see what he has in store for me.  I think back when I was 13, I remember how I wanted a sister. I would go to Church for 10 minutes or so everyday after school and pray for a sister.  Months later I remember my mother coming to me and told me that she would be having a baby!  I said “I know”!  She was taken aback, but I got my sister.  As I grew I wanted a loving husband and children.  I made pilgrimages to churches and I was Blessed with all these things, God was there for me every  time.   Life was not perfect, life was messy. 

Tony speaks:

"We lived with my parents in Manhattan in a room and we had 3 children we needed to move to our own house everything was so expensive here on the east coast my friends in California wanted us to move out to them the houses where so much cheaper $24,000 compared to here $50,000.  We packed every thing with a U Haul and ready to leave for California but we ended up in New Jersey.  It was too difficult on my parents and with some help from them we were able to settle closer.  Everything was ok for a while. 

Our decision to move our business from NY to NJ was based on trust in God, we were scared, needed to educate our children, they were in High School and College was in the future for 3 boys in the next few years, it was truly scary.  Money was plentiful in Manhattan but  a toxic environment, a small town in Cresskill, NJ was a step down but healthier for the family.  We did well, we worked hard, less money but happier.  We worked together, our boys had to help at work. 
 
We got involved with marriage Encounter, Cursillo. 

Helped to bring my parents to our home.  God sent us a great health aide  Barbara, a Jamaican  women who stayed with us for twelve years.  We are still friends with her today.  I was there when my Mom and Dad passed. Thinking back God was always there in the center of our life.  I have a great devotion to Our lady I have consecrated myself to her as I remember being taught “To Jesus through Mary”. 

Anna Maria speaks:

"When we married we were married in Germany and during those years it was difficult for Tony’s family to come to our wedding because of the political climate in Yugoslavia. His parents were not at our wedding.  Through the years we would take many summer trips to visit Tony’s family, important for our children and Tony’s family.

We were able to have our 50th wedding Anniversary in Slovenia with many of Tony’s relatives and our children and their families. We celebrated our Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in Thanksgiving for all these gifts from God. 

This book helped me to go back our life together and see how God is answering four questions:  Who am I?  What am I here for? What matters most? What matters least?

It has given me a perspective and put things in place so I can make sense of it all and where I am called to go next. 

I believe that God has asked me to read this book not Kathy."

Important parts from the book: 

  • Pay attention to your spiritual life.  Here is where Cursillo has played the biggest roll in our spiritual life and now I can see it. How fabulous is that!
  • Present moment awareness.  Learn to find God in ordinary activities of daily life.  He wants you to be aware of things while they are actually happening.  At the end of the day write down three times when you were fully aware of God in your day”.  In the smile of your little grandchild or your old friend.
  • God invites you/me to change and grow every day.  It is an on going journey.  God invited me to collaborate with him in my daily conversion.  But I am still resistant. I know the next step will bring as much if not more happiness than the last step he beckoned me to take, but I am resistant. I hope I can break through the resistance today”.
  • As Christians we are called to transform every activity in our lives into prayer.  This is how we become the-best-version-of-ourselves and live holy lives”. I remember when I was in grammar school the Nuns would always tell us “offer it up” whenever we had a task that we did not like.  It was always easier to do the job with the prayer in mind. 
  • “Everything can be transformed into prayer”. Cooking, cleaning, daily chores, etc.  
  • “Visit the lonely. Somewhere not too far from where you live, someone’s saying a prayer. He is asking God to send someone to visit him and lift him up out of the depths of his loneliness.  God wants you to help him answer that prayer”.
  • Read the Bible regularly the Bible gives us incredible insight into the mind of God. People who read the Bible make better decisions
  • From time to time it is good for us all to learn to listen again.  Listen to those you love.  Listen to your body.  Listen to your conscience and soul.  Listen to God.
  • “Prayer and fasting” it can be as simple as ordering a glass of water instead of a coke.
  • In order to consistently overcome resistance we need to give truth a place of honor I our lives.
  • “Our culture is trying to murder truth and it is important to note that you cannot murder truth without first murdering the Catholic Church. So in a culture that hates truth, the Catholic Church is public enemy number one”.
  • “You cannot be happy focused on yourself. You were made for mission.  It’s deep within you.  Only by serving others in a meaningful way do we truly discover the happiness we yearn for so unrelentingly”
  • "This world we live in is not our destination we are only passing through."
  • Lastly, Have you ever wondered what God Looks for on a resume?  Only one thing! He asks only one thing of us.  He can take care of the rest.  The one thing God needs from you in order to launch you into mission is availability.  Make yourself available to God and Incredible things will happen.
This book is very powerful I just skimmed over some points that seemed to resonate with me but it is a must read book and a must do book. 

Prayer:

Loving Father, I come to you today to make myself 100 percent available to you.
I lay everything I have and everything I am at your feet.
Take what you want to take, and give what you want to give.
Command me in all things. I will do whatever you ask me to do.
Transform me and transform my life, so that I may become the-very-best-version-of-myself
and lead others to you with my life and my love! Amen   
(Pray this prayer for nine days)

DeColores, Anna Maria and Tony Kinific