Power, Be Still

The older I get, the more I’m learning to relax into the process. That every step I run leads to the next mile, every textbook chapter I read further develops me into a better counselor, every breath I breathe strings days, weeks, months, and years together. I’m choosing not to fight what’s in my path but to embrace it for what it is – unplanned, expectant, terrifying, and exciting. I’m letting my type A tendencies morph into type B ones, finding the balance of my evenly split introvert and extrovert personality, and running into the rain instead of out of it. What is there to lose – getting wet? I’d rather dance under the rainbow than miss it entirely.

I realize that some people have the natural tendency to live this way, but it’s taken me a journey to get here. I’m proud of that journey with all its battle scars and victories. We each have our own stories. The less eventful ones have beauty in their consistency, and the riveting ones have grit. They all have equal value and worth, because the reality is that each person walks with his or her hurt and healing. We can’t help but to be impacted by this world in all of its sin and glory.

Not knowing my future used to give me anxiety, but now I find myself embracing it with a big hug. What I do know is that I am held safely in the arms of my savior. Jesus is quite enough for me, and that future is all I need to know to rest content. I’ve learned that God doesn’t make rules just to punish us if we break them – he’s a good, good father who sets boundaries because he doesn’t want to see us get hurt. God isn’t distant, but he is closest in those moments that we can’t sense him. Prayers that are spoken in the dead of night don’t get swallowed up in the darkness, but God holds them in his very hands. The more I read the Bible, sing another worship song, whisper a prayer, the more I am in awe of the all-consuming love of our Savior.

My soul craves the contemplative silence of being alone with God, the moments where I am outside and it is just me and him. Where the fiery chaos inside of my heart dares not to be quenched unless I steal away for times like these. I have to quiet my own fire and ask God to light his in my heart, a slow burning strong fire that burns through dark of night and shines bright light of day. The kind of fire that stays strong in windy storms and gives life to the victories. That’s the kind of Christ-like power I want in my life.

I’m In

You know when life is kind of crazy, and you’re holding it together, but the word crazy couldn’t be highlighted and underlined more than enough? Yeah, that’s me. Try buying a house, doing a renovation on it, starting a full time Master’s program, training for a half marathon, volunteering at church, and traveling 3 weekends out of the month all at once. All wrapped up into a little ‘ole month of September. I have had my share of what am I doing and how am I still doing this moments mixed with I have totally got this moments. Both happen multiple times a day.

And call me nuts, but I love it. It’s stretching me.

For the last two years I had to keep life relatively chill at the risk of a debilitating headache. My body, specifically if my head could feel squeezed tighter dictated my life. Otherwise I would have to lay in bed for hours recuperating from a simple errand or two. I look at my life now, I’m amazed. At how powerful the body is at healing. At how the human body can bounce back. At how God can take a little life like mine, do a work in it, and turn me out stronger, happier, and bolder than ever before.

So now I say yes to so much more than ever before. I’m finding that the more I say yes to the crazy plan that God has for me, the crazier it gets, and the more I love the thrill of it. A few years ago, I remember walking my dog in NYC and hearing God ask me: are you ready for what I have ahead of you? Strap on your seatbelt, because it’s going to be more than you ever imagined.

I said yes.

So I would have never imagined that a head injury and less than a handful of years later I would be living in a place like Colorado. Plopped into a community of wonderful people. Experiencing spiritual resistance all the time, because I’m finally diving head first into what God has for me without any hesitation.

You see, I lived life with a lot of fear. I let it make me take one step when I knew I should take two. I waited to jump sometimes too long and lost momentum. I let the parts of me that are meant to be free and fun and ridiculous be tamed by what I felt like I should do. Ugh, that word should. How about could instead?

I don’t go where I am going with all this, but perhaps it’s because today I realized something. For so long I took tests that said I was an introvert. I acted like one, and wanted to be one because my inner shell protected me from the big, scary world out there. But in the last weeks, months, and couple of years, the day I got my concussion was the day I started to change. It stole me away from a should life into a could life. A life where I started to say yes to God’s plans, even when they didn’t make sense. A life where I say yes even when it requires a little or a lot of sacrifice. Because all of that pales in comparison to the glory of God that it’s all done for.

A life where I use my voice, move freely, and run with abandon towards the calling that God has on my life. And I have a feeling that the adventure has just only begun, that I’ll go places I never imagined, and live a life I could have never anticipated but couldn’t have been more perfectly created for.

Here’s to whatever is ahead, but I’m in. To live life loud, to love even louder, and pursue my calling to the loudest.

Impossibly Imperfect

Life has a funny way of producing twists and changes. They are often unexpected, and in that these curve balls and surprises create a change within the heart that’s undeniable. You often see if life hardens or softens a person, and it’s not just in the elderly. It’s a reality that is open to all of us in this day and age.

I am living a life myself that is the result of taking a path so different from where I thought I would be. My career, where I live, my community — all of that radically changed in the last few months. If you would have talked to me even just a year ago, I would have never thought my life would end up where it is now. I chose to listen to God’s voice, make decisions that went against my own will in favor of His, and yet I am in a place in life that couldn’t be more perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong: my life is not perfect. I’m simply being held in the tension that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is where God wants me to be. I couldn’t love these circumstances more. They are messy, foreign, and beautiful. And I am ready to plant my roots.

It was during an August a couple summers ago that I made a decision. I committed deep within my heart to live authentically, holding no love back, and to open up my arms to whatever lay ahead of me. I was tired of living cautiously and according to how I thought I should live life. These last two years changed me tremendously because a decision like that can’t help but transform you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I’m still in the midst of that transformation: impossibly imperfect suspended in the balance of awaiting eternal perfection. It’s quite a ride. I’m constantly reminded of my humanity within a refining fire. It hurts at times to be face to face with my imperfections, but that doesn’t even compare to the freedom and glory of living life with a God that loves me no matter what. A God who chooses grace, yearns to be with us, and makes restoration his kingly work.

I am confronted with how it’s easier to judge a person on something that’s quite frankly… ridiculous. Instead, I’m gently led to know a person’s story, to hear their heart, to see them in the midst of ministry. That’s how we can take our walls down of judgment and insecurity to see a stunning story unfold, one that if we are willing to be real and dive into, we can weave into it. If we can put our humanity aside and pray to see a person how Jesus sees them, then compassion can reign. A person’s mistakes and weaknesses are put into the context of our own depravity, and we realize we are no better or different. Then, we have the opportunity to extend grace exactly how we would want it in that situation.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

Love. We are to love our brothers and sisters. For if we are loved with a limitless and radical grace by our own God, then the least we can do is see others not through their own sins but through the lens of love. Love as you have been loved, and do no less. Your life will be changed.

Life is a hard journey, but what if we did this: live each day letting God pour his love into our hearts and then sharing it. Even when it’s hard. Even when our flesh wants to control us. Even when hatred is the easier path. Even when another person or group serves as a perfect target for our anger and toxicity. Even when comfort and complacency tempt us. Even when this choice to love will rock our boat a little… or a lot.

Choose love.