Dear Kianna: What is your take on being a young adult in today’s society? How can we follow the faith without giving in to the temptations?
– A Striving Student
Dear Striving: Seeking Christ as a young adult in today’s society is definitely not for the faint of heart! With so many temptations, conflicting messages and false pleasures to the left and right of us, it is often difficult to navigate “the road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13).
When I began college a few years ago, I was shocked to learn just how much strength, grace and prayer it would take to follow the faith without giving in to temptations. And by no means have I been perfect! The road to holiness and growth will always include some bumps and bruises. Sometimes it will be smooth, but sometimes it will be rough. Life is a combination of both, and that is what makes our earthly pilgrimage so sacred and unique.
Each of us faces different temptations depending on our personalities and circumstances. As a college athlete, I have struggled a lot with perfectionism and body-image issues. For years, I thought that my athletic performance defined my worth, and therefore that my body held all my dignity. I got caught up in the vicious cycle of body shaming, always thinking I needed to look a certain way to be “good enough” as an athlete and accepted as a young adult. I was duped by all the magazines and social media ads and diet scams that conspire to convince us that our worth is defined by a number on a scale.
It was only through crashing and falling, then climbing back up by God’s grace, that I was able to break free from such temptations. Slowly I came to see that my whole being — body, mind and soul — was made by Christ for a greater glory and that my true dignity came from being his child, not from my appearance, athletic performance or anything else.
Whatever temptations you’re facing, my main advice is the same: Pray, pray and pray some more. Beg God for the grace and strength to see beyond the lies of this world. Whether it be beauty standards, money, fame, attention, drugs, alcohol, sex or anything else, know that Christ will conquer all. Cling to him and trust in the power of his Sacred Heart, which bleeds merci-ful love into our hearts.
And one more thing — please do not expect to be perfect. It’s OK to fall and make mistakes — that’s what the sacrament of reconciliation is there for! Know that Christ can take anything, no matter how wounded or flawed, and perfect it. Invite the Lord into your life and ask him for his strength, and he will not disappoint.
God bless! I am praying for you!
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - January/February 2020
Kianna Garmanian is the youth minister at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bothell. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kianna Garmanian es Ministra para Jóvenes en la Parroquia Santa Elizabeth Ann Seton de Bothell. Envíe sus preguntas a email@example.com.