My Struggle with “Privilege” & Here’s the One Privilege Available to All

For a long time, I struggled with the concept of “privilege.”  The truth is, I know I am very blessed.  I have enjoyed many privileges in my life.

But this word bothered me because I felt like it fueled the victim-mentality in our culture, elevating certain victims or underprivileged to a bizarre form of elitism.  I think we need to be careful that we don’t do this, and I do think it happens sometimes, which can make us quick to say we’re a victim, too.

Certainly we are all dealt a different hand in life, there can be no denying this fact.  Opportunities unfortunately are not equally available to everyone.

We are all privileged in some ways.  And we are all underprivileged in other ways.  We are all a victim of our upbringing and a product of our choices and life experiences.  But we need to be careful not to turn life into a victim competition.

After much reflection and prayer, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is worth discussing the concept of privilege.

Because our privileges may enable some of us to speak out and be heard more than others, but a lack of privilege should never keep anyone from speaking out or being heard.

No matter your level of privilege or underprivilege, no matter what you’ve endured, no matter how blessed or broken you may feel right now, please know that you are loved.

Mercy is always a privilege, and it is the one privilege that is always available to everyone.  Because mercy comes to us from the Cross.  And the Cross is for us all.

Mercy is “love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin.”  It requires action, love, and sacrifice, a giving of one’s self for the good of another.  We are all equipped and hard wired to give and receive love in the form of mercy.

The struggle is that this is hard work for us on earth.  The struggle is that all this giving and loving and serving causes discomfort.  And receiving love is difficult because we can feel so unworthy.

True love is never simple.  It is always sacrificial.  

Giving genuine love and mercy is often painful.  It’s often easier to fall into our sinful nature than it is to reject our sinful nature and to seek loving action.  God knows how hard this is for us, and that’s why He came down, humbled himself, and died for us all.

Because without His help, we wouldn’t have a chance at getting it right.

Receiving true love and mercy is shocking and humbling.  “You would do that?” we think, just like the Beast when Belle takes her father’s place in the prison cell.  (I have so many Disney movie references to pull from, guys, stay tuned!)

Someone is ready to take your place in your suffering and pain and brokenness, too.

It’s time to tell the whole world. Mercy is the privilege that’s always available to everyone.  Claim it.  Share it.  You’re worth it.  

I’d love to know your thoughts on privilege – let me know below!

 

Until next time,

Let’s go and live mercifully!

Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Why We Need to Leave Our Comfort Zones to Change the World

Now, when we start to fulfill our mission of mercy, life will likely become uncomfortable.  This is good!  If we truly want to serve others at full capacity, we need to be okay with discomfort and change. 

God loves to take us out of our comfort zones, because that’s where real growth and change can take root.  Like the Grinch whose heart grew three sizes, as we begin to serve, God will continually increase our capacity to love others.

When we carry out our true mission in life, we will only grow closer to the person He intends for us to become.  We should remember that God’s full plan for our lives always involves some form of renouncing the world in pursuit of His mission.

So, if we want our stories to become more interesting, if we want God to use us as fully as possible to do His work, we must discover how God is asking us to renounce the world in pursuit of Heaven. 

All the best stories shift and become captivating when the lead character renounces his world for another.

Ariel leaves her world in The Little Mermaid to become part of another.

Belle leaves provincial life in Beauty and the Beast and stumbles upon something more enchanted.

Lucy leaves a dreary old house in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and enters the world of Narnia.

The lovely Saint Clare of Assisi departs from royalty to pursue a life of poverty.

Moses flees from Egypt, freeing God’s people in pursuit of the promised land.

Saint Joan of Arc leaves her life spinning wool at her mother’s side as a young girl to lead the French army to victory over Britain.

Saint Benedict leaves the corruption of Rome to pursue life as a hermit.

Jesus departs from his home in Nazareth to face temptation in the desert before beginning the adventures of his public ministry.

There are so many people out there who need to know they are loved!  This is no time to sit in suburban bubbles and Lexus cages. 

Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you” (Luke 14:13-14).

So, how might God be asking you to renounce the world in pursuit of your mission?  How might He be asking you to step out of your comfort zone this week? 

For one girl last week, it involved praying in public in downtown NYC.  And her story from that day was certainly interesting!  We can’t let fear and discomfort keep us from showing up when and where we are needed.  Even if it means we might be attacked by a bird… seriously… read her story here!

Tomorrow, I’ll share why I’ve had such an issue with the buzz word “privilege.”  And find out the one privilege that’s available to everyone on the planet!

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Do I Need to Be Perfect?

To recap, we’re all being sent on a great mission.  And if we don’t reach out to those in need while mercy is still available for all, millions who could come to know the mercy of God will not.

As stewards of the rich heritage that is truth and life, we will absolutely be held accountable for such a tragedy. How will we answer God upon our judgment when our reason for not being more hospitable, courageous, or evangelical amounts to frequent Instagram scrolling and Downton Abbey binges? 

Trust me, I’m a cracked vessel myself.  No perfect human is typing these words, please be assured of that much.  But, that’s precisely my point.

We don’t need to be perfect, our families don’t need to be perfect, and our homes don’t need to be perfect for God to use us for His glory.  God is awesome at taking the imperfect people, imperfect families, and imperfect homes, and using them to build up His perfect Kingdom.

So, no, you don’t need to be perfect to help build up a perfect kingdom.  You don’t need to be perfect to be an inspiration.  You don’t need to be perfect to direct others to the One who is.

Next up, why we need to step out of our comfort zones if we want to truly serve others at full capacity, and I’ll link to an awesome story of what happened when one girl did this recently…

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

How to Think Clearly & Dream Big

It started simply.  Deacon Matt Coriale challenged me to read the Gospel straight through, and I had never actually done this before.

When I did, words jumped off the page and into my heart.  I became fascinated with the concept of owning less, and with the concept of giving up everything in service to others.

“He said to them in reply, ‘Whoever has two tunics should share with the one who has none.’” (Luke 3:11)  Well, that verse hit me hard.  I had just moved south from Wisconsin.  I owned so many coats!

I felt restless in my heart, because our home was overflowing with wedding and baby shower gits.  We were well equipped to fully serve the needs of multiple families from our possessions.

At that time, a donation drop-off center stood just a block away from our home.   So, that spring, I often loaded up the stroller in the morning with our superfluous items and passed them on to others during my daily walk with my daughter.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.  It was the very beginning of a long, exciting, often uncomfortable, but always rewarding journey to a simple and more merciful life.

Something shifted in my heart.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t been willing to give before.  It was that a fire had been lit within me, and I saw everything in that new light. 

When we began passing on many of our possessions, freeing up physical space in our home, it felt natural to begin clearing out the mental clutter, too.  So, we drastically cut down on our media intake.  I was already not using any social media outlets, but began to cut back on television and movies until these things no longer interested me much at all.

And something amazing happened with this process.  It freed up so much time and energy!  The physical, mental, and spiritual space that opened up provided room for me to think clearly and to dream big.  My soul finally had room to breathe.

If we want to start living and serving at full capacity, we need to take a look at our excess.  Because the excess steals our time and stifles our creativity. 

Recovering perfectionists, stay tuned, because next I’ll be talking about whether we need to be perfect to carry out a mission of mercy.

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

Kaitlyn Clare Mason

10 Questions to Discover (or Confirm) Your Mission in Life

If we’re serious about discovering and fulfilling our God-intended mission in this urgent time of mercy, here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to see if we’re on the right track:

 

1.  What headlines, tragedies, or crisis situations compel me to anger, feelings of discomfort in my abundance, or deep compassion?

2.  When do I feel most content, peaceful, and fulfilled? Does everyone have access to these types of situations?

3.  God speaks and provides direction in a still, small voice. How much time am I spending in complete silence these days?

4.  What is one service, work, or volunteer opportunity sticks out most in my life as a monumental or life changing experience? What impact did this have on me at the time?  What impact does this have on my life now?

5.  What talents, gifts, skills, resources, privileges, knowledge, and abilities do I have that can make life better for people affected by the headlines, tragedies, or crisis situations mentioned in question 1?

6.  In my daily life, when do I come in contact with people in deep spiritual, emotional, or physical need? What is my reaction to these situations?  Am I helping to bear another’s burden?  In what ways?  How might I be able to better respond to these people and their needs in the future?

7.  What can or should I do to intentionally come into contact with and to be hospitable to people in deep need, particularly to those who may be in moral danger?

8.  What can I provide to the world that perhaps no one else can? Am I staying silent and comfortable instead of speaking out about any important issues that deserve to be addressed?

9.  How can my life and lifestyle help the world see and come to know the mercy and love of God?

10.  What am I willing to renounce for the sake of the Kingdom? In other words, what could or should I part with in life so I can better direct my attention to fulfilling God’s plans?

 

On Sunday this blog will rest.  But check back on Monday, when I’ll be sharing more about how my family discovered our mission, and how you can start to fulfill yours.

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept…

Yesterday we talked about how we are all being sent on a mission of mercy.

According to St. John Paul II, mercy is “love’s second name.”  Fr. Michael Gaitley further defines Divine Mercy as “a particular mode of love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin.”

I believe that mercy is the most irresistible, magnetic attribute of God.

And right now, in a world of around 7.7 billion people, with 12.5 pornographic video views for every person on the planet in 2016 on just one website alone, and with approximately 1 documented abortion occurring in the U.S. every 30 seconds, we need to draw in the masses and help everyone know how deeply they are loved.  We need to be showering people with compassion and support.

There billions of people in this world, far too many for everything to be just about you or I, and we are living in an amazing window of time when the mercy of God and opportunity of Heaven are available to everyone.

I’m inviting you to embark with me on an adventure to discover and fulfill your God-intended mission of mercy.

I’m inviting you to step off the cultural treadmill that keeps us far too busy with things that don’t matter, so we can focus on serving the One who made all the things in the first place.

This is not about doing more to serve. It’s about pivoting from what zaps our time and energy in unhealthy ways to fulfilling our God-given mission.

Only by shifting full focus to God can we hope to love and serve Him at full capacity. And when we start loving and serving to the best of our capabilities, well, that’s when we watch mercy unfold full force. And that’s when things really start to get interesting.

Next up, I’ll share a few questions you can ask yourself to help you discover (or confirm) your mission!

Until tomorrow, let’s go, and live mercifully!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Am I Being Sent or Sending Myself?

Yesterday, I shared a question that has been on my heart.  Am I being sent or sending myself?  I think it’s a valid question, and one we can all struggle to answer from time to time.

You’re still welcome to click here and share anything you’re struggling with these days, too.

But the truth is that we are all being sent on a great mission.  It is a mission of mercy!  We all have a role to play in this life, because each of us is a part of the greatest story ever told.  You are a part of the greatest story ever told.

So even when we feel uneasy about whether we are carrying out God’s will in our lives, if we are seeking Him above all things, we can quiet our fears.  Even when we feel unsure of whether we are being sent by God to do seemingly ordinary things, or whether we’re just creating our own plans and sending ourselves, we can take courage.  We can rest and stand confident in the knowledge that we are loved beyond measure, and that we are all in fact being sent on a great mission of love.

Every moment brings new opportunities to embark on a mission of love and mercy.

And that’s where we’ll leave off for today.  You are being sent on a great mission of mercy.  How might you be asked to serve next?  And what does it mean to be on a mission of mercy?

More on that tomorrow!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

What Are You Struggling with These Days?

In an effort to better serve you, I am wondering what you’re struggling with these days?

Are you struggling to simplify your life?  Are you feeling like you don’t have enough time in a day?  Are you struggling to put down your technology and get outside?  Are you struggling to forgive someone?  Are you struggling with creating and sustaining meaningful friendships?  Are you struggling with the idea of sharing your faith with others in a world that needs to hear your story?  Are you feeling called to live more charitably but unsure of how to squeeze in anything extra?

These are just a few of the areas I’m planning to address in coming weeks.  But I’d love to hear from you.  I’m not saying I’ll be able to help, but I do care, and if you reply below, I’ll read every response.  I’ll also be praying for you for sure.

Here’s what I’m struggling with these days:  knowing whether my plans are God’s plans for my life or not… am I being sent or sending myself?  I suppose time will tell!  Peace be with you.

The 17 Day Anger to Mercy Challenge

anger to mercy jar

St. Francis de Sales once said, “Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not even if your whole world seems upset. If you find that you have wandered away from the shelter of God, lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.”

Quietly and simply.  This is much easier said than done sometimes.  Anyone else agree?

While I do try to never discipline my children in anger, and while I try to keep the joy of Jesus, joy of Jesus down in my heart… I fall short.

We’re all human and we’re all going to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we have a free pass to throw in the towel when it comes to reaching perfection.

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48.

I made a commitment to myself several weeks ago, that I was going to learn to control my anger once and for all.  No more snapping, yelling, or impatience – that was the goal.  I grabbed a glass jar and a bag full of pebbles.  Each day that I succeed in being only kind, merciful, and peaceful all the way until bedtime, I get to place a pebble in the jar.  This doesn’t mean I never raise my voice if a child is in danger or if I’m calling children in for dinner.  But my husband and children decide if I’ve earned my pebble to hold me accountable.

There are times when my voice needs to be firm, but my goal is to always transition rapidly from any sinful anger to mercy.  I know there’s righteous anger, and that’s not what I’m concerned about.  I’m talking about overcoming sinful anger and replacing it with mercy, which is another name for LOVE.

When I earn 17 pebbles, I purchase an Our Lady of Mercy scapular for someone who would like to start this beautiful devotion.  Why 17?  I decided that a pebble would be worth a dollar towards the purchase of a scapular, and the scapular plus shipping comes out to about $17.  Ha!  No other reason.  But I have heard it takes 17 days to break a habit…

I have earned a couple of scapulars for my friends, and I’m starting fresh today with an empty jar.  Would you like to join me?  

Use your $17 that you earn towards spreading devotion to Our Lady of Mercy – or for whatever you’d like.   More peace in your heart and home is guaranteed.

Reply “I’m in!” in the comments section below to sign up for this challenge.  And if you’d like for me to send you a free scapular when I earn the next one, send me a message on my contact page and say “I’d like a scapular!” – I’ll send one your way.

Visit my Tips & Printables page to download your 17 Day Anger to Mercy Challenge printable with inspiration and a progress chart to keep you motivated each day. 

Remember, it’s okay if it takes you longer than 17 days to get all of your pebbles in the jar.  And stay tuned to this blog for more motivation on moving from anger to mercy in your heart.

5 Steps to a Capsule Wardrobe that Works for You

Yesterday I shared some benefits of a minimal wardrobe.  Here are 5 steps that I routinely take to ensure I’m maintaining a simple and merciful capsule wardrobe.  And I highly recommend using this 5-step process to create your own!

 

1.  Identify your style and what type clothing is comfortable and appropriate for you.

Is your style preference sophisticated?  Casual?  Are you wearing clothing that suits your shape and size?  Are you wearing clothing that is appropriate for your shape and size?  My style preference and size have changed many times over the past few years as I’ve learned what I like to wear best as a stay-at-home mother and how to dress when pregnant and postpartum. 

 

 2. Consider all activities where you’ll need different types of clothing, and how often you do each.

In my life, I need clothing for church, home care tasks, homeschooling, garden and homestead tasks, and workouts.  Occasionally I’ll wear an extra fancy dress to an event, or go somewhere to swim – these are extras. 

 

3. Plan out 7 days worth of your favorite clothing for this season, plus 2 extra days as backup (just in case).  Do the same for other seasons.  You’ll create a 7-day + 2 capsule for winter, spring/fall, and summer, and overlapping some items is great!  

You don’t need more.  If I get spit up on every day of the week, I’ll need to wash each item once weekly.  Plus, I’ve got about two backup outfits if needed.  I like to have about 2-3 skirts, 2-3 pairs of pants, 3 dresses, and 5-7 shirts on hand.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you don’t need 2 weeks worth of clothes if you do wash at least once a week.  Your 7 days will include everything you do each day, so make sure you keep 3-7 days of workout clothing if needed, etc. 

 

3.  Add your extras.

This may mean one scarf, one winter coat, one rain/light coat or jacket, one dress coat (optional – I prefer not having one… you know, the 2 coats thing…), one swimsuit, a few sweaters for cold days, a hat for gardening, etc.

 

4.  Add only the shoes you need.

For my life, this means 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of navy heels for church, 1 pair of everyday black flats, 1 pair of everyday closed toed shoes for winter, 1 pair of work boots for homestead tasks, and 1 pair of brown outdoorsy sandals for homestead tasks in extreme heat (all second hand except running shoes & work boots).  I could pare it down a little more.  I rarely end up wearing my heels – but this works well.

 

5.  Last step – I ask myself this question:  Am I approachable to someone who is homeless, in poverty, and to all those most in need when I am wearing these clothes?

And I believe this is really the most important thing.

 

What questions do you ask yourself when editing your wardrobe?  If you’ve been trying to get to a minimal wardrobe, what’s making that difficult for you?