The following is based on an interview with Kimmy, a college student.
Kimmy was raised a Catholic but many times she is mad at God. She holds a part-time job in the church but does not feel comfortable working there because most of the time she feels guilty for not going to church anymore. She does not participate in church activities but likes to attend the meetings of young Catholics to discuss teenage issues. She constantly finds herself criticizing the church which makes her feel good because she can express her feelings, but leaves her more angry at the end of the meeting.
Kimmy has been full of anxiety for many years. In her senior high school year she had doubts and fears about what college to go to and whether to stay on campus or not. “Are campuses safe? Will I find the money to pay for it?” She is about to finish college majoring in psychology but she is not sure whether this was the right choice. She would like to get her PhD in clinical psychology but realizes that she does not have the money for it as she has accumulated debts and loans and is constantly struggling financially. She feels that if she only gets a Master’s instead of a PhD, there is not much she can do with it. So was majoring in psychology a good idea?
She has been working in her current position for about six years but it has been an on-going struggle because she feels that women are under-valued in the church. There was another part-timer working with her. She wanted to get his job when he was going to leave and she told her boss that she wanted to work more hours because she needed the money. Not only did she not get the job, but two teenage boys were hired instead of her. “These are small things that happen in the church that make me angry” she said. “Our church mission is supposedly social justice, but I feel it is mainly geared towards men. Women do not get an equal share, that’s exactly the problem. I have heard being said here, ‘It’s the job of women to raise girls and the job of men to raise boys.’ It’s sexist and it does not work. That’s another reason I want to leave.”
How can Kimmy find peace and decide about her future? “I journal a lot. Through journaling I listen to myself and I listen to God. It is easier to look at it on paper rather than have it floating in my head. Reading my journal I can reflect, for instance about my anxiety about leaving my job here. I journal at any time. I keep it with me at all times. I write nearly every day, especially when I feel I can’t talk about it, to get it out. My journal is my best friend.”
What do you do to handle your secret fears, doubts, and anxieties?
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