Are you living every day with passion and purpose? This was the name of the talk that Anna and I attended in Minneapolis on September 29, 2018. The talk was given by Matthew Kelly from Dynamic Catholic, one of our favorite Catholic authors and speakers. This is the second time we have attended one his live events.
I was born and raised Catholic. My faith has always been a part of my life, but as I get older and have kids of my own, I realize how important my faith is to me. Sharing my faith with our kids is one of my top priorities as a parent. This is not a task that I want left up to others. I want my kids to learn about the faith from Anna and me first.
Who is Matthew Kelly?
Matthew Kelly, like the Blues Brothers say, is on a mission from God. Matthew is from Australia and has been writing and speaking to help others become the best-version-of-themselves since he was a teenager. He has written many books and spoken to more than 4 million people to help them deepen their faith.
Matthew founded The Dynamic Catholic Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, whose mission is “to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism.”
He is also a partner at Floyd Consulting, a Chicago, Illinois, management-consulting firm working with companies like Pepsi, McDonald’s, 3M, and more than 50 other Fortune 500 companies.
Why we like Matthew Kelly
Matthew Kelly’s energy and enthusiasm for Jesus and the Catholic Church draw people to him. He has a down to earth manner that is easy to connect with and a fresh perspective on how to re-energize the church. Matthew is in my top 5 list of people I would like to have lunch with.
You don’t need a degree in theology or advanced training to understand and follow his practical steps for becoming the-best-version-of-yourself. He reminds us of how much influence we have over other people in our own lives and how our lives are an example for others.
Throughout the years, I have watched Matthew’s talks on YouTube and have been reading several of his books (Rediscover Catholicism, The Four Signs of A Dynamic Catholic, Rediscover Jesus, Resisting Happiness, and more). In the Fall of 2014, Anna and I had our first opportunity to see him in person at an event in Waterloo, Iowa.
Matthew is accompanied by singer and guitarist Eliot Morris who has toured with Counting Crows, John Mayer, and James Taylor. Not only is Eliot a talented musician, the ladies also think he is easy on the eyes. Sorry ladies, he is married.
The 3 ordinary voices of God
At the “Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose” event that Anna and I attended in Minneapolis, Matthew spoke about the 3 ordinary voices of God. These voices, he said, can be heard by everyone and help us become fully the person God created us to be and help us live our authentic life.
The 3 ordinary voices of God are the voice of legitimate needs, the voice of talent, and the voice of deepest desires.
The voice of legitimate needs
These can be physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs: “When we hear these deepest desires calling us forth, we hear the voice of God.”
The voice of talent
This one really hits home. Matthew talked about how most people want the extraordinary talent and to be the only one with that talent so we can be special and revered by others. Most of us look at others and want the talents that they have and look at our own as boring or useless. If God did not give you certain talents, that it is because you do not need them, he said. The question that we should be asking God is, “what talent of mine do you want me to focus on at this time in my life?” Many of us discount our ability to make a difference in people’s lives.
The voice of deepest desires
Matthew said that God speaks to us by placing certain passions and desires on our hearts for a specific reason. He wants to nudge us forward each day to live our lives in service, and He shows us the path to take through our deepest desires.
The voice of deepest desires, Matthew said, does not go away. When we stop listening to the voice of God in our lives, we lose our joy, and God wants to fill us with joy and for us to thrive.
With 10 minutes of silence everyday (which he indicated can be next to impossible for some people like mothers of young children), we will begin to hear the voice of God in our lives. Clarity emerges from silence.
Game Changers for your life
During the second half of Matthew Kelly’s talk, he spoke about game changers for our life. He said that we have a responsibility to keep ourselves inspired and to inspire other people. Our lives change when our habits change.
He challenged the crowd of 4,000 people to choose one of the following game changers and to do it for 100 days.
Game changer 1: Read the Gospels for 15 minutes everyday.
Matthew challenged us to read the Gospels for 15 minutes everyday to learn more about Jesus’ life on earth. When we learn more about Jesus’ humanity, he becomes more relatable for us, and learning more about Jesus can happen incrementally with just 15 minutes each day. If we want to grow in faith, we must know Jesus.
Matthew said that if Jesus was here today and asked, “Who do people say that I am?” that our culture wouldn’t have a good answer. Matthew got many laughs when he said that Jesus would “go temple” on those who said that he was “just a nice guy.” How well we know Jesus determines our priorities and directs the course of our lives.
Game changer 2: Write one thing in your mass journal every Sunday.
The other game changer option that Matthew suggested was for everyone to get a small journal and take it to mass with them each Sunday. He said that before mass, we should ask God to show us one way in this mass that we can become a better version of ourselves this week. Matthew said that if we ask, God will show us. Then, after we know the one thing we’re supposed to take away from that mass, we’re supposed to write it down in the notebook, along with the date. It’s as simple as that. Matthew then suggests spending the week thinking and praying about that one thing and how God wants to make us a better-version-of-ourselves.
Matthew said that he’s been keeping mass journals for almost 20 years and that he’s learned a few things as a result. He said that sometimes when he’s writing and gets writer’s block, he opens up his mass journals from the past. While reading the journals, he’s noticed that some things that he thought were important didn’t turn out to be important. #beenthere He also said that he’s no longer struggling with some of the things he wrote about in his past mass journals. On the other hand, he’s also still struggling with some of the things that he began working on years ago. Matthew’s vulnerability and honesty made me feel like keeping a mass journal is something that I might be able to pull off and truly benefit from.
“True game changers are simple,” he said. “You need a game changer in a very complex environment where only something simple will do.”
I chose to take on game changer #2, keeping the mass journal. After trying it out this past weekend, I found myself paying closer attention to the homily, even while wrangling the kids. This past weekend, the word I chose was commitment. Our priest mentioned that there will always be something bigger, better, and more attractive that will come along in our lives. It is not a matter of if but when. And instead of jumping from thing to thing, chasing the next shiny object, we need to stay committed in the relationships we have and go deep into those relationships if we want to get closer to God.
Moving forward in our faith
With so much heartache going on in the Catholic Church and around the world, we are definitely in need of game changers for our lives.
Are you ready to to live everyday with passion and purpose? If so, I encourage you to attend one of Matthew Kelly’s events near you, read his books, listen to his videos, and implement his advice. As Matthew says, “Our lives change when our habits change.”
What helps your faith grow? Have you attended a Dynamic Catholic event before? What did you think of the event? Have you implemented one of his game changers in your life? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.