Virtus in Media Stat

College is upon us…and the first week is done (well, for me at least.  Maybe you haven’t even started yet, you lucky soul.)  As each semester rolls around, I always find myself with lists upon lists of things that I’ve made for myself in areas that I know I can improve.

I have lists and pinterest boards galore for polishing up my eating habits after a summer subsisting on root beer floats, organizing my closet that has exploded over the room, organizing my list of books to read and movies to watch…putting together exercise plans….which is usually the first one to fall off the bandwagon with the first Panera cinnamon roll that crosses my path.

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Each beginning of the school year presents with it a blank slate, open wide to the possibility of improvement.  It’s a chance to smash down the wall between the current version of yourself and the best-version-of-yourself (#MatthewKelly) that is constantly seeming to escape our grasp.

What’s the secret?  How in the world does the balance between schoolwork, social activities, responsibilities, and improvement happen?

A simple Latin phrase….Virtus in Media Stat. And the translation? Virtue Stands in the Middle.

So often it’s easy to go crazy on resolutions.  You should see my list on December 31st that I ring in the New Year with.  Pages upon pages of things I know that I can physically and mentally accomplish, but by January 3rd (If I’m lucky) the list has been reduced to nothing because I’ve either given in or given up.

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Moderation. Temperance. The middle ground.  Middle Earth.  It’s not just my mind wandering on a late Sunday night – J.R.R. Tolkien had some great things to say about starting new habits.  In The Fellowship of the Ring, Sam’s grandfather says, “It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.” 

It’s not just a concept for hobbits…it’s pretty practical in our everyday life as well.  So here are the top three tips I’ve received on becoming who God created you to be – fully alive.

1) Moderation 
It’s easy to stack our planners full of things we want to do, are asked to do, feel called to do.  But take it from the girl who worked seven jobs (at one time) last summer.  Sometimes less…is more.  Don’t be afraid of that open time in your planner.  Yes, you could be doing something.  But don’t be afraid of spontaneous visits with friends, time to sit in silence and just relax, or that adoration chapel you’ve been wanting to stop into but never have the time.  Don’t be afraid to schedule free time, as ironic as that sounds.

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2) Accountability
Are you going to try to make it to morning Mass more often? Planning on training for that marathon? What about that book you said you were going to read…two years ago? Ask someone to tackle the challenge together.  Maybe it’s your room mate, sister, or girlfriend.  But don’t be afraid to ask for someone to keep you accountable.  The path to Heaven is a journey that is meant to be walked together.

3) ForgivenessYou’re going to slip and fall sometimes – if only because of the fact that you are human and not perfect.  What matters when that happens is how you learn from your mistakes and move on.  Don’t spend the time after the mistake wallowing on what you could have done.  Now is time time of thinking how you can avoid that mistake in the future.  So find what triggers you to give up on your process of becoming a better person, and then remove that from that path.  But keep walking.

Do you have any tips for how you stand in the middle when it comes to virtue and self improvement? Share them below in the comment box!

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