I’m busy. I have a lot to do. I don’t have time. Something important came up. Not right now, maybe later. I just don’t feel doing this right now.
Allthese sentences are red flags when they’re used to escape activities that’ll grow your spiritual life.
One of the first things you should learn in Youth DIVE is prevention. Prevent yourself, through prayer and Catholic meditation, from falling into sin. The very next thing I recommend is to pinpoint the occasions of sin. If you know all the red flags of sin, it’ll be easy to avoid it. Here’s a little exercise you can use to recognize your red flags so that you can avoid sin early on:
- Ask yourself, “what is the sin I struggle with the most?”
- What usually happens just before I fall into the sin? There could be more than one sequence of events. Remember them.
- Who am I usually with when I fall into sin? If you’re usually alone, identify the state of emotion you’re in when you fall. Are you sad, lonely, hungry, tired, frustrated, excited, hurt, or angry?
- Where do I usually fall? At home, school, my room, at a friend’s house, etc.
After identifying these flags, ask yourself this: “what did I do the last time to avoid the occasions of sin?”
This method has brought in over 9 times more success rate than any other method I’ve seen. I call it the crusher because it absolutely destroys the possibility of sin if coupled with taking the steps above to avoid the occasions of sin.
(Fun thing to try: when people ask how you’ve become nicer and better, just say, “I use The Crusher!”)
All you have to do is find two people around you who are willing to grow spiritually and also help you grow. Just 2 other people. 1 is too few, and 3 is too much. 2 is perfect. Now, all three of you should decide on one thing each that you’re trying to work on. Person A could be pornography addiction, maybe Person B has issues with controlling his Temper, and Person C is struggling with studying after school.
(I just used these three problems as examples. Yours could be completely different.)
Discuss with your accountability partners at the end of every day on Messenger (or Instagram or Skype; whichever platform you all are comfortable with). If they live close to you and you can meet them in person, that’s even better. Each person on the team will keep records of the other two people. You should record three things:
- Did they pray the rosary today?
- Did they conquer the sin today?
- What struggles did they have? Talk about this that same day and work towards a solution.
The Rules of The Crusher
- Don’t use this method together with someone you’re in the struggle with. For instance, if you cheat together with a friend at school, he shouldn’t be part of your team. Let him be in a different team.
- As much as possible, don’t mention any third party names when talking to your team about a problem. For instance, change “John keeps bugging me to cheat on the test” to “There’s this boy in my class that keeps bugging me to cheat on the test.”
- Don’t let your meetings last longer than an hour other wise it’ll just drag into an unproductive little chitchat.
- Have a fixed time of the day for your meetings. I like 9 p.m. Everyone seems to be free at that time. This is really up to three of you to figure out what time works best.
- If you decide to change the time, make sure everyone knows at least 3 hours ahead so they can rearrange their schedules.
- Don’t skip meetings just like that. This is serious stuff. You’re either committed or you’re not.
- Don’t EVER talk about your teammate’s weaknesses outside. Never EVER! It kills trust and the entire system crumbles.
- Never lie to your team. If you lie about yourself, they cannot help you. If you lie about them, you’re not helping them. Be honest at all times.
- Never be the one to suggest that you stop this programme. Always work to be the last man standing. Trust me, your team needs this kind of push from you.
A few guidelines
As the days go by, it’ll become easier to overcome your temptations. After you’ve successfully broken off the first struggle, you can start working on something else. This is not merely a psychological hack that’ll get you results no matter what. No. This strategy depends greatly on your prayer life.
Without prayer and the sacraments, it is impossible to quit all sinful behaviour, no matter what strategy you use. What usually happens is that people quit one form of sin while picking up another. Only prayer and the sacraments pull you out completely from sin all together.
(Here’s a little secret: increasing the number of Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets you say daily actually multiplies your success rate. I’ve used this method myself with enormous success.)
Remember to use The Crusher with only people who are serious and are willing to grow with you. If you cannot find people like that close to you, you’re very welcome to join our Youth DIVE Facebook Community and network with the people there. You can be sure that all divers are always seeking to grow.
If you want to stop sinning like you do now, you will stop sinning. It’s doable and many people have achieved it. Yes, you heard it from me: you can live a life without committing even one mortal sin. But you have to be committed to your goal. Many people quit after the first few days because things get hard and difficult. You have to push through all of that. The moment you quit, it’s all over. Anything worthwhile doesn’t come easily. You must be willing to put in the extra work that most of your peers won’t be willing to put in. Above all, place your trust in Jesus, and he’ll take care of you.
Ora. Audi. Parere.