Week #1: Where does your heart lie?

Being an adult is fun, they said. You’ll have the time of your life, they said.

So with 2017 in the books, here’s to a great 2018. A new year’s resolution I have this year is to write more. So, consequently, each week I will be writing a blog post about where I am in life or about an idea that has been on my mind. So, let’s get it.

So, where does your heart lie?

I don’t know about you, but from my perspective, my heart lies on the left side of my body. Aha…anatomy.

But I ask the question of where does your heart lie because we do various things for various reasons. But where does your heart lie in all of your decisions? This is mainly geared towards youth ministry or any type of ministry, really. Actually, this applies to everyone. Just keep reading, please.

Where does your heart lie? (You’ll see this question pop up a lot)

I often talk about my experiences as a youth leader with my friends. It is a blessing that I get to work with the future of the Catholic Church and of the whole world in general. Being in a youth group called the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (TNTT), I have always been captivated by the spirituality. TNTT really set the foundation for my faith and through that foundation, I was able to discern God’s call, enter seminary, and the rest is history.

TNTT was where my faith led me and I would say the conversion moment in my faith was a retreat I went on in 2012 to prepare myself to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. That retreat really shifted my plans from leaving religious education to embracing God, the Catholic Church, and the church I went to. I rode the momentum of the retreat and used it to really cultivate a faith that was once nurtured by my parents growing up. For once, I got to see God’s love actualized rather than talked about.

Because the retreat had a profound impact on me, I wanted to bring that same joy to other people so that they may be able to grow up to be amazing Catholics themselves. When the leader applications for 2013’s confirmation retreat came out, I leaped at the opportunity to become a leader. I, however, was assigned to be on the home team taking care of logistics back at the church and not at the retreat site. While it was a great experience, I craved to be at the retreat as a small group leader. So I reapplied again the following year (2014) and unfortunately, did not get a position all together.

For me, it honestly hurt. I did not view myself as a good leader or even as a leader. Even though I realized there were some things I could have done to be a better and capable leader, my self-confidence hit an all time low. I eventually regained it back through leading choir and being a leader for TNTT, but I really thought for the longest time that if you were not a leader for the confirmation retreat, you weren’t anybody. That’s how much the confirmation retreat meant to me.

Years went by and so came my first year of seminary. I was a Huynh Truong, I was a seminarian, and I was chilling for the most part. One day during my second semester in 2016, a notification popped up and one of the core leaders of the confirmation retreat posted that retreat leader applications were now open. At that moment, a flood of memories both joyful and painful rushed through my mind. I opened the application and blasted through the application with, what I hoped to be, meaningful answers.

I was about to turn in my application and there was only one question left to answer: Describe what motivates you to come (back) and help with this retreat?

And with that, I closed the application, closed my laptop, and went on with my day and went on with my life.

Where did my heart lie at that point in time? It was not with God, it was not with the students, it with myself desire to feed my own ego and this is the case to this day concerning the retreat. I don’t think I will ever participate as a leader for the Confirmation retreat is because I would go so that I could prove to myself that I am a capable leader regardless of any body of work, of training, of developing any leadership skills that happened since being rejected a position. I would have, in a sense, used something that was meant to bring people closer to God for my own personal gain. The students don’t deserve that. They don’t deserve a leader whose primary motivation is prideful and selfish. They deserve a leader whose goal is to bring them and God together. They deserve someone not me.

Should I just get over it? Maybe. But I think I have prayerfully decided that the retreat is in better hands with someone else. My heart lies elsewhere, unfortunately.

So…in all that you do, where does YOUR heart lie?

I hope that wherever your heart is and where it leads you IS the place you want to go. But if where your heart is right now, your desires, your motivation, does not lead you where you want to go or most importantly, where God wants you to go, I am not the most qualified person to say this, but you may need to some soul searching.

Stephen Colbert, in a commencement address, said that you will truly serve what you love because service is love made visible. If you love money, you will serve towards that money. If you love others, you will serve others. If you love God, you will serve God. But if you love yourself (which isn’t entirely a bad thing, but in this case, used in a negative connotation), you will serve just yourself and you will only have just yourself.

Where do you want to go? Where does God want you to go? What do you love? And lastly, will your heart, with where its at, lead you there?


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