How Kairos Changed My Life

How Kairos Changed My Life

An once in a lifetime experience that will forever change you.
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For any who do not know, Karios is a retreat through a catholic church for high schoolers. It takes place at a remote location over the course of 3 days and two nights. No phones are allowed on the retreat, and everyone is put into small groups, purposely with people they do not know. Over the course of the retreat you grow closer to God through talking to people who are able to lead you in the right direction.

Anyone who has been on Kairos can confidently say that it changed their life, I went as a junior in high school and can confidently say the same. At the time I signed up, I did not have much knowledge about Karios but I knew I wanted try it out. My whole life, I have been raised Catholic but I never really thought of the religion as my own, it was more of what I was told I was by all my family members. Kairos took the religion and made me want to be a Catholic for all the right reasons.

There are no words to describe the impact the retreat has on every single human that is lucky enough to go on it, but I will try my best. Since it was a church retreat, it was centered around God. However, never in the way any other retreat or church camp has been. Kairos is not a retreat where you learn the rules of the religion and are lectured about what is right and how to exactly follow the Bible. The adults and leaders of the small group allow the kids on the retreat to hear a passage and interrupt it the way they feel it should be. The messages are usually very clear, but little details and opinions vary from person to person. Through doing this, Kairos allows you to take your religion and make it your own, to embrace every passage and every guideline there is to offer. After Kairos, I started going to church every Sunday because I wanted to, it was no longer an hour I dreaded, but an hour I never wanted to end. After allowing myself to fully indulge into something that I had never experienced before, I loved going to church and learning more about lessons God wants all his followers to know.

Separate from the religion aspect of it, Kairos bonded me with people I would have never met. The three days of being so far removed from reality is eye opening. Throughout high school, people tend to only hang out with people in their friend group, and very rarely interact with others besides class or sports teams. My Kairos small group was with six other retreaters I did not know, two teenage leaders and two adult leaders. I am amazed how close and comfortable I got with every person in my group by the end of the weekend. We were no longer strangers, we knew each other's fears, dreams and secrets. I was able to be my complete self with a group of people that were strangers to me just a few days before. I have always been a pretty confidential person and kept my problems to myself, and Kairos was the first time I felt comfortable enough to open to people about things I had never talked about, even if they seemed insignificant. It is amazing that in such short amount of time, I found the comfort to talk about myself in ways I had not with my friends I had known my whole life. It sounds strange, but there really is something special about being removed from reality for a couple of days and focus on yourself and others. There was not a single second I was worried about missing out on anything with my friends back home or craving to check social media to catch up on everyone's daily tasks.

Life when I got home, was just happier. I felt happier inside and better about myself. There is an ongoing joke that the kids are on a "Kai High" when they return home because everyone is fulfilled from the amazing past few days. Many of the experiences on Kairos that truly changed me have to be kept a secret for anyone that has not been on it yet. Kairos is not a retreat that will make you change into someone that obsesses over the Bible or only hangs out with people from church, but it changes your outlook at life. It opens doors to new friendships while still upholding old ones, making it the best of both worlds. I am forever grateful I decided to go and throw myself into every activity in order to get the full benefits from the retreat.

I urge everyone that has the chance to go, TAKE IT! You will never regret it, nothing but good comes from it.

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God's Letter To The Struggling College Christian

Don't give up on me because I haven't given up on you
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Dear Struggling College Christian,

Life can be tough, especially in college; you’re at that age where you’re not exactly an adult but also no longer a child. You’re somewhere in between, possessing just enough freedom to do what you want while still being held responsible for the decisions you make about your future. You're always stressed out. You’re going to get hurt, you’re going to feel like dropping out or changing your mind, and you’re even going to want to turn your back on me, your God, but I want to tell you this: your suffering is not in vain.

SEE ALSO: I Am Christian Millennial And I Do Not Hate You

I want you to know that everything you are going through is a lesson. It’s all building you into a better person, a better you. The things you’ve asked of me, the things you’ve told me you wanted – those are things you have to be prepared for and you still need a bit of tweaking. The future, though bright, isn’t all sunshine and roses. The path has twists and turns, cracks are in it, fallen logs in your way, and most of the time you’re not going to be able to see straight ahead of you. The weather is going to be unpredictable. The hailstorm is going to knock you off your feet and the twisters are going to send you spinning into confusion, exhaustion and doubt, but with the strength that I am trying to build up in you, you'll find that you know exactly where to find shelter when the storms break down your door.

You’ll find that the lessons you learn from trying times are exactly what you need to fulfill my plans for you. You’ve read Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28, and heard them hundreds of times, but there is a verse in the Bible that you may have never paid attention to: Ephesians 2:10. It reads: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The most important part of this verse is one simple word: beforehand. So while you’re crying and stressing about what job you’re going to land after you graduate, if you’re going to marry that person you’ve been with for years, or if you even want to be majoring in what you’re currently majoring in, I already have a plan laid out specifically for you. You are my child, my creation and you have a purpose.

However, while knowing these things is great, it is all pointless if you don’t do. So here’s what I want you to do: do not give up. Have faith in me. You believe in me, so why not believe in me in your darkest moments? That’s the reason you became a Christian, right? Because I'm the one person you know that won't forsake you. You know that I love you, and you know that I’m here for you, so prove it. I know it can be hard when you’re pulled in a lot of different directions by your social life, your academic life and your extracurricular activities not to mention your family life and your own personal sanity, but take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to talk to me. Tell me your fears and your desires. Remember that you can ask me for and about anything. I'm always going to give you an answer, whether it's a yes, no, or not right now. After that, I want you to stop worrying and fight on through the darkness. You are stronger than you think.

My Child, enjoy yourself while you are young: don't stress over the things that you can't see. Don't give in to the depression, the anxiety, or the stress; things that are not of me. Don't let yourself forget about me or believe that I'm not there when I am and know that my plan is set in place for you. All you have to do is walk in it. Trust that this is all for your good. But most importantly, remember that I love you unconditionally–at your worst and your best. Life can be tough, but you are tougher simply because you are mine.

I’ve got you,

God

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Diwali, The Festival Of Lights, Will Make You Feel Complete And Connected To Your Roots

Although it has passed, its beauty and spirituality is still felt all around.

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There are only a few things in life that make you feel at home. Home is often considered a place more than it is a feeling, but I really think it should be included. You could either be with people that make you feel at home and it doesn't matter where you might be or you could be doing something that makes you feel all the same. Either way, home is synonymous with comfort, contentedness, love, and safety.

Recently, Indians celebrated one of their biggest holidays: Diwali. The name means "Festival of Lights" and you might be able to understand why seeing all the candles ("diyas" in Hindi) being lit. The significance of all of this is not just to bring light to your outer world, but also your inner one. You can interpret what that means in so many different forms, but as of now, to me, it means clearing my mind. That includes clearing it of things that make me upset, thoughts that I would be happier in different circumstances, that people should change, or even that I can change them.

It gives me a "passively active" role in my life, one where I try for what I want but then try not to stress when it doesn't happen.

Even the physicality of the holiday — lighting of the diyas, dressing in beautiful colors, spending time with loved ones — serves to brighten my spirits and feel more centered.

I'm thankful for the time I get to spend with my family, which is also a time that helps me keep things into perspective (we all know that it's a little too easy to get caught up in school and work).

And maybe the best part of it all is that I see the world as it is: without projecting anything "good" or "bad" onto it, without any judgment and still, still it appears to be beautiful.

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