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2. Keeping God at the Center of Your Life as a College Student

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How do you make time for prayer every day? And what do you do to keep Jesus in your life while you're in college?

So I just listened to a Father Mike Schmitz podcast and he reiterated something that he had said a long time ago that really stuck with me. And there was a point in my life where I knew I wasn't making God my priority because I would wake up in the morning and I would sleep longer than I needed to and then I wouldn't have time for prayer. And I just rush and then go to work, and then I'd be halfway through my day and I'm like, did you pray today, Taylor? So Father Mike Schmitz said in this podcast, he was like, every Sunday, sit down and write in your calendar or whatever you do when you are going to pray. And that is like your first choice at prayer. And you set that in stone and you do not change that. And I listened to that podcast, and then I listened to another podcast from another priest. And the title of the podcast is called you Snooze, You Lose. And he was talking about how putting sleep over praying, like you're losing so much. Like, just deny yourself a little bit in the morning or go to bed earlier the next day. Like, make that choice to set prayer as your first thing in the morning. And I know certain people have different times where they love to pray, but for me, the morning is perfect for me for prayer. So I think it's really so important when you're in college, especially, and when you have a busy life, to make a schedule. And I have a big planner that I write literally everything in, so why not write my prayer in it? I write when I'm going to pray in my planner, and I really, really believe, like, it's about denying yourself, like denying yourself that extra sleep, denying yourself watching that extra TV show before bed so that you can wake up early the next morning and be ready to do your prayers. I think that's really how we keep Jesus at the center of everything. And even, like, through things like fasting. Recently, I started intermittent fasting because you're not denying yourself enough, Taylor. You're not making yourself like one with Jesus enough. You're just too comfortable in life. And fasting has increased my prior life so much throughout my busy schedule. So I think making the choice to pray and then also denying yourself of your comfort sometimes and allowing that to draw you deeper into prayer, yeah. Wow, that is beautiful. I definitely am a very schedule oriented person. And just this last semester, because the part time job I was working was at the campus bookstore. And so, as you can imagine, the beginning of the semester was like, insanely busy. And I was just go, go 20 hours a week. I was taking 18 credits to classes. I was trying to make time for Jesus and exercising. I was trying to eat and have time to relax and spend time with too much. Just spend time with people. Yeah. I was like, I can't do this. And so just this last Advent, I told Jesus, i, like, shut some doors and open some. Like, I don't care if you slam them in my face. Just make it known to me what you want me to do. And so, yeah, many things happened. I am getting married now and put a job and changing things in my business, there's so many good things happening, but it still comes down to focusing on one day at a time. That's kind of like my New Year's resolution, in a way, is focusing on one day at a time instead of rushing through everything in my life and focusing on, OK, how can I make today count? And that all comes down to, like you said, making prayer number one in your day and actually writing it in pen. Everything else can be written in pencil, but prayer is a nonnegotiable and it needs to be in pen and it needs to happen. Yeah. And I also agree that deny yourself just this morning, I just started today, I'm like, you know what? I'm going to get up early because otherwise I'm not going to have time for prayer. I'm not going to have time to exercise. I'm like, I'm going to get up. And was it hard? Yes, absolutely. It's not going to be easy, but I think that just like you said, it strengthens your relationship with Christ when you give yourself more and more to Him and you sacrifice for Him. Yeah. 100%. Yeah. Everything you said 100%.

Do you ever find yourself having different versions of you?

Like, for example, the you belonging to your major, the you belonging to certain friends or groups, or the you belonging to the church? Do you ever experience that? And what do you do to help minimize that? So that way you're just you? Yeah. So something I've been learning about myself this past year and especially like, the past six months, is that I know I'm a perfectionist and I know I'm type A and I know I'm very work oriented. And I was realizing that I placed a lot of my identity and a lot of my value in how well I did my work and how well I started my semester, my first semester, and my Master's program. And for me, school has always been a breeze for me, I'm just naturally geared towards education and being in school. So for me, when I started my Master's program and there was a little bit of a challenge there, I had to work a little bit harder. I started to actually think less of myself. I was like, wow, Taylor, you can't do this easily, so you must not be worth anything at this point. And then when I realized, I was like, my value is placed in how well I do work. My value is placed in how well of a college student I am, how good I am at my major, how fast I get my degree. That's where I'm placing my value in. And I'm not placing my value in my identity in Christ. And like, who says I am as a woman of God? Yeah. So 100%, I have definitely placed my value and seeing myself as you are the college student rather than first and foremost, you are the daughter of God. You are the daughter of the one true king. And I think over the past few months, my friends and I, we started a book study. And we're going through like, a ton of books that really talk about just our feminine nature. And it's really helped me identify that more than anything, you belong to Jesus before you belong to your major, before you belong to your friend group, before you belong to your work ethic. So yes to your question. And that's how I've really come to terms with the fact that my identity is not in my work. Yeah, for sure. I struggle with it too. I'm sure everyone struggles with it. We all do. But, yeah, I just think keeping God right there, first and foremost in your life, is what will not cure it, but help you with that struggle and help you to realize that you don't belong to anything in this world, but you are the daughter of the king, just like you said. And I'm reading the book, I Believe in Love and I just started it today, but it literally just talked about how we are so loved and that God gave everything, all of his blood, everything for us just to meet us and to love us. And I just think that's something that for me. A lot of the times when it comes to struggling with the different versions of me. It's just because I don't feel loved or I'm trying to get love from other people. Whereas it's like the only person I should be searching for love and approval from is from God and he loves us more than anyone else on this earth can. And so sometimes I'm like, Whitney, what are you doing? God loves you more than you can ever try to suck love out of other people. So yeah, I also think that's something that I'm really going to keep working on is just telling God I love Him, but receiving his love instead of like, oh, you're not worthy of his love. All those lies that the devil is putting between that love to just eliminate those and just let God love me and love Him in return. Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love that so much because I do think, I thought, and I still do think sometimes I think it's a work in progress. You can have this big revelation moment where like, wow, I'm doing this wrong. But it doesn't mean that it's immediately fixed. And I think that when I am in school, for example, last semester, I was like, you have to get straight A's, you have to, you have to get a four point out. And there was like, nothing getting in between me and getting a 4.0, but I was like, but why do you want that 4.0? Is it pride? Do you want people to love you more? Do you think that if you get a four point, oh, you will be loved more by others and you will love yourself more? And it's those moments where you really have to think like, where am I placing my value in this world? And I think, yeah, it's a work in progress and it is not easy and it really stems from our fallen nature. Like with the fall of Eve, we have all these like, lack of surrender, lack of trust, lack of trust in the love of God. And I think all of those things stem from fallen nature and the only way to fix those things is like, look at Mary, the new Eve, and just ask her to like, pray for us and to really turn to her as an example of like, what true, authentic femininity is and like, what true, authentic trust in the Lord's love is. But it is not easy and it is constant work in progress. Exactly. Yeah. We always have you have the devil sitting on your shoulder every day, but it's whether you make the choice to put your earplug in and not listen to Him, because there's days for everyone where it's easier or harder to shut Him out. And so I just think eliminate the lies, but then just focus on Jesus and keeping Him at the sunny of your life and building that relationship with Him is what matters the most. 

What is one piece of advice that you want every young Catholic woman to know? 

“Do little things with great love.” St. Therese of Lisieux

“In college it can feel like we’re going through the motions and feel like we are doing so much all the time, but then it feels like I’m not doing enough. How in the world am I going to be a saint? When I do my homework, sometimes I’ll put a little bible verse or something at the top of my page to invite God into that and remind me that he is here and the work that I am doing can be done in the form of a prayer.

Another example is doing the dishes. If you really don’t want to be doing the dishes, rather than complaining, offer it up and enter into it with so much love and tell God “I am doing this for you.” -Taylor


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