Oh, the randomness...

Just my thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Best Insight

Let’s just start by acknowledging the fact that I tend to be a dramatic person – I like making life ‘big’. I make big, sweeping statements that cover more ground than I actually am committed to. This also means that while I am often good at soul-searching and finding God in every nook and corner of my life, I sometimes am not good at looking at a situation with a straightforward, practical approach. And the ability to do that is a trait I greatly admire. I have a couple of friends who have this gift, and use it graciously with me. One of these friends spoke some amazing wisdom into my life this week.

I was telling him how I recently found a really cool and very special way to encourage a mutual friend of ours going through a tough time. And I said a big sweeping statement (somewhat whiny) to the effect of “I wish I could simply encourage people for my job. I wish I didn’t have to work, but that my work was to actually get paid to call people when they’re down, to send care packages to people, to surprise people when they need a pick-me-up.” And you know what his response was? “You could do that for a job. Or, you could be a Christian. And use your gifts to encourage people every day, regardless of what job you’re in.”

So simple. So true. So straightforward. Why couldn’t I understand that on my own? Honestly, his statements were revolutionary for me. Imagine it – no matter what I do for work, or if I stay at home, or volunteer my time each day; I can encourage people right where I’m at. God gave me that passion, and so no matter where I find myself I can use that gift.

The coolest part? It’s been a week that I’ve had to fight to get through. And I was so glad just to be pouring into others that I didn’t realize how much I needed someone to give to me. And today, my boss’ wife brought me flowers. She brought pink gerbera daisies without even knowing they’re my favorite. What a great reminder that life is bigger than our job, and that people truly do care. I am loved. And I will continue to give that love to this world through any act of servitude or encouragement that I can.

Thanks being part of the journey with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Girls

So, starting Sept 8, I am officially a youth group leader!!! I'm so excited because I've wanted to be a LifeLine leader for 3 years now, but I just couldn't with school and everything. (Ironic timing - my official diploma came in today - another reminder of this new freedom!!) So I took the plunge and signed up. I"ve been excited, thinking about who my girls will be. Originally, I'd asked for freshmen so I could be with them for 4 years, but at the same time I've been praying the past few weeks that God would prepare me for my girls and vice versa. And that God would direct my path and put me with the group who needs me most. And sure enough, he made it clear which group was to be mine.

And so, I announce that I will have an awesome group of Juniors, and I plan to see them through to graduation. (yes, I already predict that I will cry as I watch them all graduate in Spring of 2009!)

I'll post pics and lessons on here from time to time, I'm sure. Because I have a feeling these girls will teach me as much as I teach them...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

it's all about attitude

Ok, many of us have heard this quote "life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we respond." Basically, our attitude determines alot about our life.

I know this first-hand. See, I was a competitive runner all through high school and college. And anyone who knows me knows that I was so not created to be a runner - my hips are actually 1" different in height (weird) and it causes many problems for running. I also am larger than most of the girls I ran with at Calvin, which is also just odd to think about. And more importantly, I don't like doing anything but the running! Any good athlete knows they have to dedicate themselves to certain eating regimes, exercise routines, extra exercises to work the muscles that don't appear as important at first. But I didn't like doing that - I ate what I wanted, ran hard at practice, but you'd be lucky to see me sticking around to lift weights. And yet, I was a great runner. But you know what it was? I wanted it. Every time I raced, I could feel the desire to run my heart out - the joy that I experience while racing is incredible! And I wanted to show all those nay-sayers that I could do it. And by golly, I did.

But it was sheer determination and attitude, not actual skill or inherent proclivity. And most of my life, this is what has gotten me through. In fact, I might even argue that at work, it's not necessarily my skills that make me good at my job. It's more my attitude - my willingness to jump in where needed and if I don't know something, to figure it out. It all comes down to attitude.

I need to rely on that gumption right now. My attitude stinks today: I'm upset at people and at myself, I don't want to be at work and would much rather be watching movies at home, and I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. So, instead of giving in to fear and pain and anxiety, I'm going to kick it. I'm going to choose an attitude that will help me see the possibilities in front of me, and how God can use this time to do a bit of much-needed operating.

Friday, August 17, 2007

insecurity (deep thoughts for a lunch break)

OK, I'm just going to put this out there. We ALL struggle with insecurity of some sort. Not being good enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, etc. Not being financially stable. Being too friendly. Not being friendly enough. Talking too much. Not talking enough. Each person has his or her own unique sets of fears.

I certainly have mine. I would say I'm one of the lucky ones because overall I like who I am, and feel at home with myself. I've had a privileged life with opportunities many won't have in a lifetime. God has blessed me with wonderful friends and roommates and mentors: people who care about seeing me grow and thrive and become the woman God wants me to be.

Yet I still have some deep fears. If I show this part of me, of who I am, will you accept it, or reject it? (I value transparency and am reaching out) Do I reach out to you too much? (I'm just trying to show I care and affirm you are loved) If I drop the ball on this project, will you still value me as a colleague? (I'm told I must pick priorities, and this wasn't one of them) Am I too critical of myself? (I don't even have a defense or reason for this one, because the answer is yes...) And if I am too critical of myself, are you willing and able to join me on this journey, and help me give more grace to myself? (I need help) And my biggest fear, because I still hear this voice in my head: am I too much to handle? Will you wake up one day and decide it's not worth the work it takes to be my friend?

Ok, so those are some of my honest fears. And let me tell you, the philosophical nature of mine thinks about these quite a bit. But I've never had to face them head on like i did last week. My mentor and dear friend was gently, lovingly pointing out a weak area of mine. It was like holding up a mirror and seeing all the ugliness in yourself. But also having someone standing next to you, seeing it as well.

it was horrible.
horribly uncomfortable.

But is it beyond redemption? No. Does this woman still love me, and want to be my mentor and Christian sister? Yes. Am i too much to handle? No.

At church last week, one of the things Jeff talked about was forgiveness. And how when we ask God for forgiveness, he 'washes us clean' and he sees us through eyes of love. In fact, simply because Jesus took our place, God sees us through eyes of love. And so when he sees me, he knows there is ugliness inside of me. But he sees me and lets his love cloud his vision of those things. He sees me as whole. As worthwhile.

I don't have many experiences here on earth of people being able to look through eyes of love. (And I have failed at it myself, many times.) But last week, Krissy was a perfect example. She saw my reflection in the mirror and saw the ugliness. But her love for me clouded her vision so she saw me as beautiful. As a person Jesus is redeeming every day. As someone she can love, despite the scars and sin I carry.

May you constantly learn to see people through loving eyes, and wash over their ugliness. May you see them as God does, and love them through their fears.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Wedding

Saturday, August 11 2007 my brother tied the knot. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and everyone was in great spirits. Things went smoothly and it was a blast. It was semi-surreal, not to see them get married to each other (they've dated so long) but just to know my brother is now a husband. He is no longer responsible for only himself, but now for a wife as well. Weird.

I also added one picture from the day where a bunch of us were standing around. I have no idea what I'm looking at or what the expression on my face is. All I know is looking at that picture, it doesn't look like me. It's clear to me now what that picture represents, what the woman in the picture is: who people perceive her to be, what she looks like etc. But I see a woman, not a young, immature girl. Somehow over the past 4 years I've grown up. In this picture, I almost look frail. And it's weird to see the person I've becoming through the eye of the lens. It's weird to get a glimpse at who I'm becoming, and I wonder where I'll be in another four years...