January 27, 2015

Wherever You Are.

Something I have become quite convinced of in the last few years is the necessity to enjoy each season God places you in.  Taking advantage of the opportunities and doors that have opened before me, I have walked into some of the greatest experiences imaginable and, in turn, made some incredibly deep and unique connections, all of which can be summed up in two words: only God.

I can often be found encouraging others with my favorite quote by Jim Elliot - "wherever you are, be all there."  It is a state of mind that I desire to live out on a daily basis, yet I fail often.  And when I find myself in that place, it is usually because I am longing for what isn't mine or isn't in line with what I want for myself.

This happened most recently just a few weeks ago. I got a text message from a friend announcing that he was engaged to his lovely fiance, and I felt so honored that they thought to tell me personally before it was announced on social media.  Their announcement happened to come on the tail of two additional engagement celebrations just a few weeks prior.  I sent a congratulations text back to my friend, put my phone down, and immediately began crying.  My mind was flooded with thoughts that closely resembled the following:  why am I crying?  I'm happy for them, this is exciting news.  man, what's wrong with me?  and I'm *still* single.   wait, but I love the season I'm in!  yeah!  I love this time of just me and Jesus. but still... what about me?  

That right there is the ugly truth, my friends, and reflecting on it I have learned an important lesson: discontentment is a very real thing.  It is alive and running rampant, particularly through our social media feeds, ready and waiting to devour our joy and satisfaction.  Discontentment is also dangerous.  It so easily can become a rabbit hole that we fall deeper and deeper into, wallowing in longing and self-pity that causes us to miss out on the good things that are right in front of us.

The thing is, our Father is very intentional.  Each season of life that He gives to us has divine purpose.  Better yet, He walks with us through all of it.  The seasons He prepares for His kids are blooming with opportunities to take advantage of that will teach us more of His character and draw us closer into His presence.  If we are consumed with looking around at everyone and everything else, wanting things that are not ours (yet or at all), we run a high risk of completely missing what God wants to so graciously give us here and now.  We need to look up to Heaven, to Him, and accept and live out what He has for us in this place.

So I am praying for truer contentment in this season of my life, continually seeking to more fully enjoy the opportunities He presents and living each day with my eyes on Jesus.  It is rich and beautiful and He is showing me so much more of Himself through His Word and intimacy with the Spirit.  He is also slowly revealing a lot of the ugly that has made residence in my heart, and we are working to remove it together.  I believe that contentment really does come down to a state of mind.  Can I be satisfied with what He has chosen to both give me and not give me?  Can I trust that He knows all that I truly need?  Can I lean on Him and believe that He knows my heart and desires?  Can I keep my eyes open each day for opportunities to live and love like Him?  Wherever I am, can I be all there?

January 14, 2015

Adventure Awaits.


Dang, as hard as it is for me to believe that we are already two weeks into the new year, I am reminded each time I check my calendar that it is, in fact, 2015.  For the last few years, I have made it a priority to sit down at the end of a year to reflect on all that it entailed, to review the goals I had set, and to pray.  Specifically, my discipline is to give thanks for all that happened - all of the opportunities that God brought my way, including the closed doors - and to pray over the next year.  It has become a bit of a tradition for God to speak a word over the coming 365 days to act as a guide for me, a word which typically encompasses the spirit of that year.  Some past words have been authenticity, simplicity, unashamed, and pursuit.  All beautiful and challenging in their own ways; all caused me to die more to myself and live more for Jesus.  I guess that's kind of the point, right?

2014 was the year of pursuit, and y'all, it was a good one.  I sought the Lord harder than ever before, stepped out of many of my comfort zones, became more confident in who He made me to be, and began setting some real roots down in Nashville, and toward the end, the Holy Spirit invaded my life like never before, breathing fresh wind all around me and igniting a passion deep in my bones.  It seems like it's going to be a little hard to top all of that.

Nevertheless, as I found myself reflecting and praying over 2015, I had a clear vision that this is going to be the year of adventure.  Sounds exciting, right?  It undoubtedly will be, but I am also believing that it is going to provide a lot of personal challenges and breaking down of walls.  I mean, just look at the definition(s) of the word adventure:

(n.) - an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; an exciting or remarkable experience

(v.) - to engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory

Danger.  Risk.  Hazardous.  Exciting.  Remarkable.  Unknown territory.  That definitely sounds like a challenge to me, and those who know me well know that I rarely back down from a challenge.  Ha.

I am expectantly believing that it will be a year full of encountering new places and more of His presence, being challenged in what I have grown comfortable knowing/believing, growing more and more confident in my identity in Him and how He has made me, and diving even deeper in my intimacy with Him as we live out this adventure together. 

Oh yes, it is definitely going to be a year for the books.

"Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near."
Isaiah 55:6

December 30, 2014

Little Reminders.

Through some different situations over the last few weeks, I have been strongly reminded of the person that I used to be, the girl that was before I had some of my stuff together and was walking with the Lord.

It all started with the rediscovery of my online journal from 2004, when I was an angsty 14 year old who thought she was super cool and knew-it-all.  Insert *praisehands* here that I was able to get that piece of mess deleted.  Then, a few days ago, I was with some friends from college when I fell into an acute awareness of old tendencies and patterns, which got me looking down at my forearm.  I've mentioned on this blog that when I was in high school, I briefly dealt with self-harm, which left me with a few distinguishable lines on my arm.  They are little reminders of my old self, someone so far in the past that it's hard to believe it was really even me.

And the thing is that I kind of hate being reminded of that person.  A lot of memories and emotions resurface, but over the last few years I have come to believe that God intentionally and ever-so-gently likes to bring "her" back into the light from time to time.  It humbles me real quick when He does, because I realize just how broken I am and how easily I could fall back into that life if I didn't base my identity and security in Him.  I actually think He finds some joy in humbling me as often as He does, because He and I both know how much I need it. 

So while I may hate it when it happens, I find myself today, in this moment, thankful for the little reminders. Thankful for the reality that I am no longer that person, that I didn't walk down the path I so easily could have (and should have, really), and that Jesus interrupted my life in a very real way when He did.  And, as it often happens with the Lord who redeems all things, I have come to love those little scars on my left arm.  While they remind me of the person I was, they are also a screaming testimony to the fact that I have truly been made new, all by His grace.

Much like those lines remind me, we all have some "come to Jesus" stories scattered throughout our lives, and what I find so beautiful is that they are all different. The fact that God is big enough, creative enough, and dynamic enough to script individual plot lines for each of us in and out of every season blows my mind.  At this point I can't even imagine walking through this life - this incredible adventure - without Jesus.

So here is to even greater adventures in 2015.  Who is with me?  


December 8, 2014

A Little Quiet.

Something you should know about me is that if you find me laughing, which is often, it's usually at myself.  I have said it many times before - and will for years - but I am a mess, and living in that state means constantly laughing at the ridiculous things I say and do.  Because they happen.  A lot.

So I find it comical that about a month ago I made an announcement about "revamping" this  blog (hardly the right word, but let's go with it) only to be promptly followed by something resembling radio silence.  Cool.  Insert me laughing at myself here.

Something that I have sought for this blog to be from the beginning - which, what-the-what, was almost five years ago - is authentic.  Real.  Genuine.  Straight up.  So in an attempt to be just that, I am going to go against the grain that is my natural response and not apologize for being so quiet.  This is hard for me to do because I've wanted to have material to share, stories to tell, and pictures to show, but anything I tried to come up with just felt a little hollow.  I even prayed for fresh revelation in my attempt to be in-tune with the Spirit, but I just haven't had much of anything to pour out these last few weeks, and I truthfully don't think that I will for a few more.

I have grand visions for my future and the future of this space, and I want so desperately to be "there" and be able to share more with you all, but the hard truth, which I am certain we all know and don't-so-much-love, is that in order to get "there" I must walk it out and be patient through the process.  And patience is not my middle name (neither is "grace," but that's another story for another day).

So it's been a little quiet here, and it's been a little quiet in my real life, too, but I think that's one of the most beautiful aspects of the season of Advent.  It is a time to pause and to wait in quiet expectation.  So I am going to enjoy the quiet and enjoy the waiting, and maybe even learn to enjoy the patience the process requires.

I look forward to seeing you all in 2015.