Being young, busy and faithful in the city isn’t always easy, but blogger Jessamyn Anderson shares her methods for staying happy and grounded.
It’s a story we hear time and time again from movies, billboards, books and inspirational speeches: Juggle it all and you can have it all. The modern woman is a multitasking machine.
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But in the real world most of us struggle with this juggling act … and when things get chaotic, it somehow isn’t quite as fun (or funny) as most rom-coms or Sophie Kinsella novels would have us believe. The ups and downs of jobs, dating, friendships, and overly packed schedules leave little room for much else. Because, even if you’re young or don’t have kids to take care of, living in a culture that glorifies busyness and work success can make it incredibly hard to find time to do your laundry, exercise, or cram in those eight hours of sleep, let alone think about your larger purpose on earth—or find time for God.
Blogger Jessamyn Anderson. Photo by Stephen Dillon
Blogger Jessamyn Anderson is no stranger to the overcrowded schedule of a young urban professional. As a performer, stylist, blogger, and newbie New Yorker, Jessamyn is never lacking in things to do. But, after moving to the city, she wanted to make sure she kept some time slots open for the things she felt were truly important, like soul enrichment and her Catholic faith.
To help her on her quest, Jessamyn started a blog called Leading Lady which shares her experiences as a twenty-something pursuing a career while also living her faith. As she documents her highs and lows of the day to day, she also searches for God’s will—between the hustle and bustle of subway stops, coffee breaks, and trips to the laundromat. Because, no matter how crowded her calendar may get, she tries to remember that God always comes first.
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We all know that busy bee feeling, so For Her asked Jessamyn to chat with us, and impart what she’s learned so far about how to slow down and reconnect with faith on a daily basis:
1. Journal every single day
What began as a Lenten resolution during her senior year of college soon became a daily routine when Jessamyn realized how much she loved to write; it became an everyday way of speaking to God. “Journaling is a really great way for me to get out my thoughts,” she says. Jessamyn sets aside time to journal each day, whether it’s just a couple of sentences or a short novel. Journaling also gives her the opportunity to look back and reflect on the difficult times when she needed God most and think about how she’s grown since then. It’s a beautiful way to reflect and learn about yourself as well as God.
“Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about." (St. Jane Frances de Chantal) // So enjoyed my time in Central Park yesterday. I took my Bible and my journal with me and started brainstorming for some new projects. I was working through the Gospel of Luke... my gosh, there is some good stuff in there! 😂 How are you enjoying this beautiful and crazy weather? // #leadingladyblog #centralpark #bible #journal #prayerjournal #prayer #gospel #gospelofluke #catholicblogger #christianblogger #blog #writing #learning #cityscape #newyorkcity #newyorkliving #gratitude #springweather #naturegirl
2. Find time to listen
One night Jessamyn went to adoration hoping to journal for an hour and was surprised when the church was pitch dark with only a single spotlight on the Eucharist. While this moment was slightly jarring she recognized that it was God telling her it was His turn to speak. Although Jessamyn is an absolute extrovert, she knows that there needs to be balance in her relationship with God: sometimes she speaks and other times she listens. According to Jessamyn it’s all about being present, “He has moved my heart in significant ways… I think it’s because I’m forced to sit there and just be with Him instead of trying to tell Him things or ask for things or fill the space with my words and my thoughts. I just get to sit there and be.”
3. Pray unceasingly
Prayer doesn’t just need to be at a certain time in a certain place—it can be anywhere at any time. Instead of compartmentalizing her faith, Jessamyn talks to God throughout the day, acknowledging His presence in the times when she is struggling or simply thankful. Jessamyn firmly believes it’s okay to be casual with God, communicating with Him is “not always going to be a formal prayer… it’s just making God a part of your entire day.” She also recommends watching this video by Father Mike Schmitz for a three step lesson in unceasing prayer.
One of my favorite things about New York City? There's almost as many Catholic Churches as there are Starbucks! Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration... but I love having so many churches nearby. I'm grateful for the escape of Mass from the snowy chaos of New York City! #leadingladyblog #catholic #catholicchurch #prayer #dailymass #mass #eucharist #sacrament #jesus #christianblogger #catholicblogger #urbanblogger #faith #hope #love #joy
4. Make time for community
Jessamyn’s best advice for anyone starting a new chapter of their life is to find a community—it’s crucial to living your faith. “You become like the people you spend your time with… So you should aim to surround yourself with people who love you… who will care about you, who will challenge you to grow and people who will never ask you to compromise the truth of who you are to be with them,” she says.
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Jessamyn has found her community in her Blessed Is She small group where she can spend time with like-minded women who share her love for God. Whether they’re talking about the Bible or just hanging out, these women are helping to leading her on the right path, and pointing her back to her faith.
Blogger Jessamyn Anderson. Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Anderson
5. Read a daily devotional
Whether it’s adoration, the rosary, daily mass, or simply reading the Bible, everyone’s prayer life is different so you should take the time to find out what type of prayer works for you. But, along with adoration, one of Jessamyn’s favorite forms of prayer is reading a devotional each morning.
Although each person’s prayer life is different, the purpose is the same: it’s the way that you invite God into your life. Jessamyn often reminds herself that, “God is not pushy. He’s not going to shove His way in unless you want Him there, so if you want Him there you’re going to have to let Him know that.”
She admits that she has often struggled with letting God in but it’s worth the extra time you spend trying. As Jessamyn says, “His plans are so much better than anything that we could possibly dream up.”
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. • One of my friends kindly introduced the "temptation of despair" to me today. I've been very frustrated and upset about something on my heart this week (and no, actually, it isn't the election, though there is definitely mercy needed there). My friend said that sadness is okay, but when we feel a sense of despair, that comes from Satan, not God. And the more we allow ourselves to be overcome by that, the less of God we can allow into our hearts. I refuse to let Satan win. I refuse to fall into despair. God is so much bigger than anything on my plate, and He will always take care of me. How can you allow more of God's mercy to work in your heart today? • #leadingladyblog #leadinglady #divinemercy #divinemercychaplet #prayer #faith #despair #hope #mercy #catholic #stfaustina #jesusitrustinyou #catholic #trustingod #faithblog #catholicwoman
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