God and I have not gotten off to a great 2020 thus far.
I'm blessed that I am able to "hear" God's voice pretty often in my life, but for some reason, He's been pretty silent the past few weeks. Everything I've tried to achieve thus far for the year has fallen apart or just plain old failed. In one particular area, I BEGGED Him, on my knees, in Adoration and church, for weeks for a clear direction on a decision I was trying to make. He was absolutely silent all that time, and so I had just decided on Friday to let the decision go because trying to take on that project was going to be too much right now when BOOM, yesterday, He gave me a super clear sign to keep moving forward with it, and now I'm back to square one with the decision. So we're not exactly in sync.
What's more is that 2020 looks like it's shaping up to be a challenging year for me personally, and I'm just plain old mad at God about that. I know rationally that all of this is simply Satan trying to thwart my work, but it still feels like He's abandoned me when I need Him most, and I've found myself often repeating after St. Teresa of Avila: "If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few."
Despite all this, I work in Catholic marketing, and I have to continue to promote this God who I'm not the biggest personal fan of right now. I love Him tons, but He's also making me a little mad.
That's the thing about being a Catholic marketer, though: We're called to evangelize in the good times and the bad, not just when we feel like it or when God is on our "good side."
If you're walking through a difficult situation, it can be tempting to let that get in the way of spreading the Good News, because it frankly doesn't feel like good news right about then. So here are some ways to spread the faith when you're not really feeling it:
Remember the times of joy, the times that make you the Catholic you are today. I've been through the hills and the valleys in the past, and I know that singing Joyful, Joyful won't always feel like a contradiction of how I'm feeling right now. If someone asked me about becoming Catholic today, despite the honest feelings of betrayal I'm battling, I'd still tell them how much Jesus loves them and that He is there for them. Because I know deep down that that's true, both for that person and myself, and my own drama shouldn't keep someone from the truth of knowing His love. The only reason I'm struggling in my own relationship with Him right now is because I have one with Him to begin with. I'd rather have a rocky, natural, highs and lows relationship with Him than none at all, and that seems reason enough to keep talking about Him.
Use your time of hardship as a way to connect. I don't know about you, but the thing that is most convincing to me about Paul as an evangelist is his complete 180 from murderer of the Christians to the most vocal Christian there was. There's something about change that makes an argument compelling. Without turning it into a therapy or complaint session, it can be helpful sometimes in evangelization to explain that faith isn't always easy or that you sometimes question things. I'd be much more convinced by someone who remained faithful through the obvious struggles of life than by someone who pretends life is perfect once you find Jesus. The best thing about being in a relationship with Jesus is that it's real, and just like earthly relationships, not everything is always sunshine and roses. In the end, it's the struggles that actually make it more authentic.
Go back to the basics. I've found that 99% of the time when I am mad at God, it is because I don't fully understand His ways. So perhaps you can take your time of frustration and turn it into learning! Fight the urge to cut God out of your life out of spite and instead turn to Him more frequently in this time. Take up the Bible or a religious book, turn to a spiritual advisor for direction and answers to your questions, or simply spend more time with Him in Adoration or Mass. Not only will it help to heal your hurt, but it will also help you to better market Him, because the more you know Him, the better able you are to spread His message.
Take some time for yourself. I know, this may seem counter intuitive, but taking a pause from your ministry to deal with things going on in your life and faith is OK. We can't evangelize if we're burnt out. Despite your probably hectic schedule, carve out some intentional time to be with God and just work through your struggles with Him. Let Him refill your plate so you can give again, because giving away all of your time to evangelize means that you will eventually run out of faith to share.
Don't let the devil win. I know that the challenges I'm facing right now are a direct result of the devil hating me with everything he has. My life is a constant, living witness to Christ's love and the joy I have in Him, even through the trials, and the best way to stop me from spreading that is to try to wreck my joy. Despite the lack of comfort in this statement, it's true: If you are facing adversity in trying to do God's work, then you're doing it right, because that means that Satan is trying stop it. So the best way to market God when you're mad at Him is to simply keep doing it. Be mad at Him; yell at Him even; but don't stop talking about or to Him, because in reality, your problem probably isn't with Him, but rather with the devil. And the best way to defeat Satan is to continue to praise God and share Him with others despite what you're going through.
If you're struggling in the faith, but your work or ministry requires you to keep at it, don't feel discouraged. Mother Teresa was one of the best marketers of the faith there ever was, and yet there were so many periods of her life where she couldn't feel God in her life. Having faith struggles doesn't make you a bad Catholic marketer; it makes you human. Lean into the struggles, let God heal your broken heart, and then get right back out there to do the same for others.