Good morning, my lovelies!!
Today is a treat, my friends!! I have been following Lauren for so long and absolutely love what she is doing!! She just started her first year at CUA and has already self-published a book!! And it is so good!! I have absolutely loved reading it and hearing all about her journey. She is such a beautiful soul and I am so happy she reached out to do an interview!!
Be sure to check out Lauren on Insta, @lauren.m.goodwin, and her book on Amazon here. And check out my Instagram tomorrow for a GIVEAWAY!!! So excited!!
+ For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Lauren Goodwin and I am recent high school graduate from Baltimore, Maryland. I attended a magnet arts school where I majored in Literary Arts which is how I was able to write my first book titled What What What, which is about the confusion of growing up and my experience as a young Catholic living in a largely secular world. I will attend the Catholic University of America in the fall where I plan to study Theology and English, combining my two loves of literature and faith!
+ When did your relationship with Christ first take root in your life? As a young person, how did you come to take the faith on as your own?
My relationship with Christ first started to take root when I was in middle school and began to attend youth group. I was very fortunate to have a fantastic youth minister and team of volunteers who helped form my faith in those critical years! I truly found Christ’s great love through them. I truly began to realize how important the faith was and that it wasn’t just something we do on Sundays. The youth group community had a foundation in Christ’s love, which was so impactful and transformative–something I believe all young people need.
+ How do you intentionally choose joy in your daily life?
Intentionally choosing joy isn’t always easy cause we forget or our emotions take over or we feel too busy. But choosing joy is essentially the same as choosing Christ. I try to choose joy by seeing Christ in others and finding Him in the smallest of things! It is truly life-changing when you intentionally look for the ways that Jesus is working through others. I sometimes forget or overlook this, but I always feel more joyful when I acknowledge that Jesus is Lord of everything: me and everyone else.
+ How has growing up Catholic, living in a secular world, helped to shape your faith and give you better resolve? How has your faith and strong belief system grounded you as a person?
My Catholic faith has helped me immensely as I have grown up. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Having that moral foundation and purpose has given me the tools to make good and moral decisions even when others around me weren’t. There was a time in high school when I deviated very far from the faith because I wanted to fit in with what the norm was. But, because I had my Catholic faith and the youth group community, I slowly began to realize that this is not what God wanted for me and that I was miserable pretending to be someone else. The entire time I fell away, Jesus was whispering in the back of my mind, which I may not have heard if I didn’t have such a strong belief system!
+ What are you most excited about as you go off to college in the fall?
Oh my goodness there are so many things! I am definitely excited to learn. I’ve gone to public school all my life, so I never really had a formal religious education after confirmation. This is something I am so excited for since the Church has such a rich history! I am also so excited to meet new people since I love making new friends and trying new things.
+ What drew you to attend the Catholic University of America? How do you think attending such a beautiful University will help shape your faith even more??
Catholic University was on my mind since the summer of Junior year. In high school, I realized I really wanted to pursue theology so I began looking at solid Catholic theology programs. I visited CUA and even attended a summer institute there (it’s called Light the World! And I highly recommend it!) I fell in love with the campus and all it had to offer. I really loved the fact that there was still diversity of thought and belief while having a strong Catholic community. Also the stunning National Basilica on campus is definitely a win.
+ As an avid writer, you have recently self-published a collection of essays!! What inspired you to share your work in this public way?
I began this project at my high school, where I had to write a book for my literary arts program. When I began, it was a collection of essays about growing up. I only planned on having my faith being a part of the book, but as I began writing, my faith in God became a serious and prominent theme throughout. When I wrote What What What, I really wanted to highlight the true hardship in change and growing up. It’s messy, ugly, and confusing. Living out faith can be hard too. Although our faith is a beautiful thing it’s important to be honest. I became very vulnerable in some essays because I wanted other people my age to know that the questions that we encounter are GOOD and actually bring us closer to God, even when he feels far.
+ The “Power of the Press” is strong! Why do you think it is important for young Catholics to share what they believe in, whether in writing, through media, or word of mouth?
This is so true! We as young Catholics have so much to say and the platform to do so! Oftentimes, our world turns a blind eye to truth, and it is us who can reach out and guide each others towards Christ. St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.” It is so important that we be that line from others to Christ! It is so surprising who might listen. Chris Pratt comes to mind when he shared the love of God with others at his award acceptance speech. How impactful! We don’t have to be famous to do the same.
+ What is your hope through sharing these pieces?
My hope is that others are able to explore their true identity in Christ. Growing up is so hard sometimes because there so much to figure out just about yourself. Add that to social pressure, school stress, college decisions, and more, it can become very overwhelming. I hope that through my essays and other works others can learn to trust God’s perfect will for them and to learn to embrace the unknown as it comes. Living our faith out loud in a world that wants to silence it can be scary. I want to others to read my work and feel like they can take their next step towards God, despite the challenges that may surround them.
+ What would you encourage any young Catholics to be authentic and steadfast in all they do?
Pray all the time. I’m not perfect at this and not many others are haha! But this is how we bring Jesus into our daily life. My favorite prayer is the Jesus Prayer. It is so quick and simple and really brings me peace in times of trial or need. There are many ways to say it, but the way I say it is “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” Praying throughout the day, even if its short and simple like the Jesus prayer lets the Lord take over our life rather than us. Pray before you write, pray before you paint, pray before you play football. Whatever it is you love to do, do it because you love God.
Have a beautiful day, my friends!! See you tomorrow!!