Get out of the Way!


Get out of the Way-featured

By Kali DiMarco

I always try to thank God for all the blessings and good stuff in my life; but I also thank him daily for the challenges that He gives me as well, and for the strength to face them. I believe these struggles and challenges are what make us strong, both in our faith and in our everyday living. I was on a retreat this past weekend with 40 teenagers and I had some time to spend in prayer. As I prayed – in thanksgiving – for all the challenges and struggles that had been placed before me, I got a vivid memory of our very first 30 Hour Famine, and I also got a small flash of the sheer terror I felt going into the event.

Someone had told me about this amazing event for teens, which included being with them for more than 24 hours and not eating. Both of these sounded like terrible ideas to me, but made me curious. I asked around and did some research and then the Famine packet came and I was hooked.  That first year we had 29 kids and two adults. My most vivid memories are turning to the other adult, Jim, and asking him, “Now what do we do?” He would reach for the little booklet that he had rolled up in his back pocket and feverishly flip through it as if it would magically guide us through the event.

Obviously, there is no magic. But we are certainly guided! My best advice for first time leaders is to plan as much as you can beforehand… and then step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit take over. It is amazing how and where the Spirit can lead us when it is invited and when we make room.

We spend hours and hours planning every aspect of our Famines, which have grown to hundreds of participants. We have committees and meetings, we make tight agendas, gather supplies, order materials, run over the plan again and again and then again. And then we do the most important thing we can. We step back and we offer the entire event to God. We pray and we sacrifice in the days leading up to the event, and we ask God to lead us and take it where He would like it to go. And we surrender.

So, first timers, prepare and go over every detail and scenario that you can. Ask others for help and share the work – and the excitement. Do everything in your power to make sure that you are ready. And then move out of the way and see where the Spirit takes it. You will be amazed.

“Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.” St. Ignatius of Loyola