He Met Me in the Sky

I am highly, highly, claustrophobic.

After nearly 20 years of practice I can hide it rather effortlessly, but inside I’m dipping into full-fledged panic. I’m this weird sort of hybrid mix of “don’t touch me” and “let’s hold hands forever.” I love being close to the people I love, and I’m beyond affectionate. In terms of strangers, the affection breaks to complete distain. Don’t touch me. Don’t get in my little bubble of space that I have so carefully and cautiously crafted around myself.

On Tuesday after class I braved the airport. It was my first time returning home since July, so I was absolutely itching/longing/pining for my sweet family and cute little beach town.

Long story short, two seemingly bearable flights turned into a massive 10-hour escapade. Everything that could go wrong did (other than complete tragedy, right?), as often happens with airports. I “stepped out of bounds” in the San Francisco airport searching in vain for the shuttle that my pilot had flippantly mentioned. Stressed out and frazzled, I asked for directions from a rude security guard. He then forced me to exit the airport completely and re-enter, once again braving the nauseating security lines even though I had just hopped off of one plane and was looking for my connecting flight. “This kind of thing happens to other people, not me,” I immediately thought while half-crying and practically vibrating with anxiety. I was longing for home. Eventually I made it into the airport once more and managed to track down my gate and shuttle, but was slapped hard in the face with a two-hour delay—the second delay of the night. I was absolutely begging God to carry me home safely. 

After feeling trapped in two giant, security-line-rimmed, travel-sized-bottles-only airports, I finally boarded my second flight. I adore my little beach town, but arriving is always a challenge (last year I was stuck in Arizona alone overnight when I missed a connecting flight due to weather—that was fun). We have a little fingernail of an airport, and thus the only jets flying in and out are practically children’s toys. As soon as the tiny piece of Wright-based ingenuity took off into the sky, I was panic-stricken. The claustrophobic cabin, turbulence and horrible guy sitting across from me (who attempted passing flirty notes with me during the flight... see below) had me praying fervently for my own safety.

“Please, please, please, please keep me safe,” I would repeat. I’m in this habit of repeating my prayers over and over and over again, especially when there is a sense of urgency to them. “Keep me safe, keep me safe, keep me safe,” I pleaded as the turbulence tossed the plane vehemently through ink black skies.  My knuckles were white. My heart was racing. Completely morbid thoughts were skipping through the caverns of my mind.

“My child,” He said, “I heard you the first time.”

It came from nowhere. In the midst of the ratting plane and deafening engine, I heard Him so clearly that I was almost afraid. I have had some pretty radical God-moments in my lifetime, but this was the clearest. The noise was just gone. It was Him and me. All the way home we talked. He comforted me, always calling me His child, daughter, and little one. I love when He does that. I had this out-of-this-world sense that the little jet was resting in the palm of His hand as He carefully guided us home safely.

Through the panic, the claustrophobia, and the urgency, He met me in the sky.

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Happy Thanksgiving-

Good, Old-Fashioned Attention

I am an old soul. While I would also classify myself as a learner and future focused, there are parts of my heart and mind that are firmly rooted in some other soda-parlor, rotary-telephone, saddle-shoe world that I’ve never experienced but always pined for.

Back in February, I wrote about my quirky interest in all things old fashioned:

I belong in the generation of ice cream parlors, soda fountains, and drive-in movies. I want red lipstick and patent heels, a powdered nose and bobby-pinned curls. I crave letters with wax seals, vintage stamps, postmen that walk house-to-house, and mint green convertibles. I so badly want to know how my mind would work without the constant vibration of my iPhone or the siren call of my Mac. I want the simplicity of spending time with the “gals” without the constant distraction of “he texted me this,” or “she tweeted that.” I want to go to the library to do my schoolwork, dutifully researching in books, not Google. I want a flower box and a window seat, with Saturday morning sunlight streaming into my bedroom. I want to wear an apron when I bake, and sit around the fire with family to listen to the radio... I want him to hold my hand and kiss me goodnight on the porch. I want to order one milkshake, two straws (he pays). I want to pull my hair back with a barrette, call blush “rouge” and be allowed to wear a dab of mom’s perfume on special occasions. I want pearls and oxfords. I want matching striped pajamas, and my mom to turn my bed down for me every evening. I want lace-rimmed socks, thick reading glasses, a stack of books, and a reading lamp by my bed.

I belong in a different generation.

 Specifically within February’s post, I spoke of how I craved a life without the constant vibration of my cell phone. This individual thought has metastasized over the last two years.

I absolutely crave creativity, and have a vested interest in entrepreneurship, innovation and progress. I’m naturally curious about everything, and was taught at an extremely young age to be gutsy (though it's not in my nature), to question everything and to think critically. I love technology and the blessings that flow from it; being able to speak daily with my family and best friends back in California is a joy (fun fact: my best friend Kelsey is the one who named this blog two years ago!). The concept of email is simplistic—send this body of text to another—yet brilliant. Sometimes I have to force myself to take a step back and breathlessly gape at the convenience of being able to instantly communicate when face-to-face connection just isn’t possible. There is a perfect fluency to clicking on one article to the next, saturating myself in knowledge, events, and ideas harvested worldwide.

There’s just one thing that I struggle to stay afloat with. I’m just not a texter. Even in middle school (ick, who actually had a good middle school experience?), I was hesitant to engage in the constant text messages and ridiculously foolish-sounding lingo. It’s been eight years since I got my first cell phone and I still feel the same drowning feeling when faced with a sea of unopened texts. Texting is so fragmented. It can be an incredible feat to uncover what someone is actually saying and sift through punctuation clues and emojis and abbreviations—so draining! Texts (and the texters sending them) tend to be quick by nature, as the messages race in and leave me spinning. I can type faster than most (thank you 3rd grade computer class), and could essentially send replies with the same rapidness if I saw it fit. Problem is, I’m a invested reader and deep thinker. I want to fully digest whatever is being told or explained or reiterated to me, turning it over in my mind and making full sense of where I stand. And when my quick-to-listen, slow-to-speak nature isn’t in action (James 1:19 is always the goal) and I’m yet to respond to a text, it’s most likely because I’ve consciously chosen to not bring it on my walk or to class, or I have made the smart choice to not even attempt to text and drive. It’s not to say that I don’t think phones are both advanced and advantageous—I’m not attempting to devalue cell phones at all. I’m just not really attached to this little white rectangle of iOS7 innovation.

Quite frankly, I think my generation’s people skills are rubbish. I hate to use that word because it is so gritty and unforgiving, but I’m tired of spending time with a friend and all he or she is doing is scrolling and scrolling and staring and laughing, eyes glued to the device in hand. It’s unreal how shifty eye contact is these days even with close friends—everyone is longing for the safety of their touchscreen technology to lock eyes with once again. Personally, I see such a stark contrast when I’m in a meeting with an adult rather than someone my own age. Generally with an adult, the eye contact is steady; the topics are various and are stitched with carefully chosen words. There is a certain gratitude stemming from both parties for the other’s full attention. It’s polite, but mostly it’s just expected. Unfortunately, and also generally (controversy is tricky, isn’t it?), I’ve found that conversations with my own peers are disjointed, marked with faux-interest, and bound by a very real inability to make conversation, hold eye contact, utilize body language, think critically, and ask meaningful questions within the realm of face-to-face interaction. This is not to say I’ve mastered the technology-free conversation in the slightest. Especially while writing my frustrations, I see myself in a lot of the scenarios that are streaming through my mind. While for me texting isn’t my devilish, concentration-inhibiting companion, I trip up with the siren call of emails and photos and an endless stream of voicemails (that I really should listen to and sort through).

I guess my personal goal is to find a better balance of my antiquated desire to savor and finesse words, and an unabashed thirst for innovation. While I think there’s a lot of joy that can be harvested from tucking away the cell phone for a while, it would be impractical and arguably unwise of me to call others to try it as well. Instead, I’m going to challenge myself this week to polish the distinction between cell-phone-time and real-people-time. It’s a quest for deeper, meaningful conversations and connections that could easily be missed with my head bent over Instagram as I’m walking to class. I want to sharpen my own communication skills, because the more seamlessly I can communicate with others, the more competent I will be in handling meetings, interviews, friendships, sharing the Gospel, sharing ideas, collaborating and creating.

Put the phone down.

Filled Up

As a sophomore in college, I find myself in this teetering, in-between stage.

I’m hovering between the fairytale wonders of childhood and the supposedly enchanted mysteries of “grown-up life.” I have so much to look forward to, to strive for, and to dream about. I already have had so much sweetness, joy, and sorrow in my past. I have had wonderful days and terrible months; I am reminiscent and nostalgic by nature, and thus revisit these memories frequently. And yet, even with the hazy promises of a smile-studded future and the steady lessons of a laughter-encrusted childhood, I’ve become so fiercely focused on and enamored with the present moment. I suppose it’s somewhat of a quarter-life crisis (hopefully more of a one-fifth-life crisis, but the math is hardly the point). I realize that with nearly two years of college under my belt, I still feel like the same three-year-old, blonde, dare I say chubby, little girl that watched Little Bear religiously and wore white cowboy boots and hot pink jelly sandals. I have faced a plethora of lessons—often the hard way—and my path has been shaped through the adverse and through the joyful. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood in a charming San Diegan neighborhood, and my soul was filled with sunshine, sea-salty air, family, swim practice (my mom will love that!), a rigorous school district, and an amazing, comforting home church.

Nearing twenty years old, I really can’t help but begin to fantasize about my future.

Call me young, but I go to school in Texas, where it’s practically quintessential to be engaged by 22. While I’m not particularly eager to settle down so seriously or so soon, my mind has recently been wandering down that path when I’m not careful enough to discipline it. Who will I marry? Where will I live? Will I be working? Writing? Will I have kids? I think it’s completely normal for a twenty-something to be consumed by these thoughts intermittently. While they scare me on occasion, I attempt to blanket my anxieties with a positive light—there is so much promise and wonderful mystery in my future that God is unfolding for me with each new morning. I am both comforted with and encouraged by the thought that He wants what’s best for me, and is holding my hand, walking by my side, and carrying me if need be as I discover each piece of his intricate life-puzzle. Because of His promise, my soul is filled with excitement, love, trust, and comfort, knowing that some of my best years are ahead of me.

Which leads me to today, on this present moment, at 8pm on this Monday night. With so much promise ahead of me and so much that has been learned behind me, I realize that these moments in this season of my life are both my past and future. Tomorrow is absolutely uncharted, and for all I know, my life could be impacted in powerful ways at some point in my usually tedious Tuesday. When I fall into bed come 9pm (yes, that is when I like to go to bed), my day will be my past. I will be able to reflect on the lessons, both big and small, that I gathered, knowledge I cultivated, and friendships that grew. This present moment is significant. Although I am filled by the lovely memories of my past and the enchanting mysteries of my future, my soul is thirsty for the now. I need to take a step back from the nostalgia and the dreaming, and invest myself more fully into this moment, these next five minutes, and into this day. I will fill my soul—now—with the bittersweet bond of the day’s trials and triumphs. I will consider each new acquaintance as a fresh chance at a delightful friendship. I will finesse the ordinary, typically tiresome happenings of my daily life into captivating, enchanting adventures. I will stop and smell the eternally blooming flowers that my university so kindly replants every few weeks (just to make sure campus always looks pristine). I will channel Christ in my dealings with others, enveloping peers and friends in love. “I really just want to be the warm, yellow light that pours over everyone I love.”

Make it a great one. Make it significant.

Nostalgia, Love, and Patience

Nostalgia is a tricky little lady.

How precious it was, the time when I had morning kindergarten, an afternoon snack (peanut butter and honey with the crusts cut off + strawberry milk), and an episode of Little Bear before retiring for a nap.

How sweet were the days of putting on “play clothes” after church, throwing aside my poufy dress in favor of stretchy pants and light-up shoes in which to run and jump and dance. I miss when my family all lived underneath one roof—it is still a tough concept to chew that I am the youngest, and yet I am almost 20 years old. I suppose it’s a sort of wistful denial; although I am aware of reality, I still feel like a toddler on the inside.

A few days ago, I logged onto Facebook to see a high school classmate of mine got married last week. Married. This tossed me into a fit of anxiety. Then, thankfully, God intervened. He really is swell. Jesus took my racing, desperate thoughts and hit pause. As if I were running full speed on a treadmill and the plug was ripped from the outlet, I was forced (mercifully) to stop letting my thoughts run wild. In that moment, His perfect grace stopped me from allowing those running thoughts to consequently run me.

“My child,” he began (I love it when He calls me that). “Patience.” And that was it. No crazy prophetic experience (I am a religion minor, and would love to nerdily go into detail about prophets and theophanies, but I will refrain for now), and no insight into what lies ahead. Instead, Christ gave me everything I truly needed—patience.

As perfect and simple as life used to be, I have to trust that He has a perfectly complex plan ahead, drenched in the simplest, purest, hard-to-fathom, most wonderful kind of love. I must believe that Jesus has an incredible happiness ahead of me, not measured in juice boxes or in sidewalk chalk, but in laughter, friendship, emotional depth, fellowship with other Christians, service to others, service to the Lord and His Kingdom, and love. I have to believe, I must believe, but most of all, I choose to believe. Patience.

Joyfully-

Eat, Pray, Love

My favorite kinds of books are the ones that can be reread over again, and each time offer previously overlooked fragments of wisdom, gorgeously crafted sentences, and subtle, effectively crafted literary devices.

Subsequent to each consecutive read, the pages soften, saturated with my own innovative thoughts and boundless imagination while also emitting wonderful new people and places and ideas. Wonderful doesn’t even cut it—books are glorious. Books are incredible.

Eat, Pray, Love coincides with this sort of glorious text. It occupies a perpetual home on my bookshelf; the book frequently invites me to dive in and sift through Elizabeth’s miraculous spiritual (and literal) journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia. As frequently as the invitation is extended to me, I accept it. The pages are worn and the corners have been bumped and bruised and torn, but each little crevice is a physical reflection of my adoration—my copy of Gilbert’s text has been “well loved.” Perhaps my adoration slips into mild obsession, but I view my affection for the written word as a blessing rather than an oddity.

I crave my own culture-rich, pasta-filled, medicine man-laden spiritual journey. While traveling tends to ignite a shamefully malignant anxiety within me, I am simultaneously itching to experience this Earth. Although I think the world of California, and Texas is my moon and my stars, there’s a small voice in my heart—soft-spoken but incisive—that is urging me to venture and voyage and traverse. This voice resembles mine, for subtle tones of anxiety and apprehension are detectable, but the voice contains an element of audacity and wonder that I’ve never consciously housed before. The key word here is consciously, for this bravery and boldness seems distantly familiar, but recognizably not of this world. I’ve been recently led to understand that this is God’s voice, providing me with a fresh perspective and the armor of Christ. He gifts me with incredible bravery and strength, and ignites my passion for His creation.

Let’s see the world-

Detoxify

As summer comes to a close, my excitement for the incredible year ahead intensifies. While my heart is filled with a lovely longing for porches and sweet tea and Southern football, something is off.

The minute I began the drive back from Texas to California, I knew this summer would be a challenge. The drive took two full days; we drove through Texas and into New Mexico on day one, and through Arizona and into California on day two. On the first day of the road trip there was a small smudge of discontent in my heart, as I felt dispirited to be leaving behind an incredible, magical, novel-worthy school year. This small smudge propagated rapidly; this sort of cancerous negativity began to envelop my mind and my heart. On day two of the drive, each mile crumbled me. I cried the entire way home—11 hours.

While I was overjoyed to have such a precious opportunity to spend time with my darling puppy and parents, this was the first summer that I would not be going “home,” by its standard definition. In February my parents moved up the coast and settled into a new little town, far, far away from my gorgeous, sea salty, seagully, sunshiny San Diego. My summer in the new, fog-rimmed, dirt road-laden, cow-infested town would be filled by working 40 hours a week and taking the most boring and painful microeconomics course that this big world provides. While I feel uncomfortable commenting on my job at this point, these details are crucial to better understanding the monotony yet pure exhaustion of this summer—sorry to keep you in the dark. Professionalism holds firm.

I’ve obviously had ample time to consider (brood over) my summer in “farmland;” I finally understand why my delight at the thought of returning to Texas is being overshadowed by a heavy presence. I need to detox. I feel like I need to be cleansed of microeconomics, retail, annoying neighbors, brown hills, technology, etc., etc., etc. I am thrilled that I will have a few days between my last day of work (and the end of my summer school class) and my departure to Texas. It is in this sliver of time that I plan to unwind, soak up the sun, and savor the time I have with my family. It is then—with the negativity gone—that the excitement can rush in.

Texas bound.

Words, Words, Words

The hardest part is beginning.

In terms of writing, it is not the wording, syntax, or punctuation that challenges me the most, but the actual act of sifting through my tangled thoughts and sorting them out on paper. These days it’s nearly impossible to find a quiet moment to write, as working retail for 40 hours a week and working on my (terribly dry) summer school class for another 40 leaves me with a little window of time—a handful of hours in which to complete everything on my perpetual to-do list, and the rest of the time to satisfy those pesky “have-to-do’s” like eating and sleeping.Even on the off chance that my surroundings are quiet, my mindis far from peaceful. The interiors of my mind clamor with anxiety, reliving the “what if’s,” the mistakes, the embarrassments, and the “I should have said’s.”

My mind swirls with words, words, words.  I am nervous about everything.

Somehow every little thought leads me to a terribly drastic “worst case scenario.” If Mom doesn’t pick up the phone, she either 1) suddenly deeply hates me, 2) got in a terrible accident (God forbid), or 3) has her phone on silent. Naturally and unfortunately, my mind assumes that the first two options are the only plausible explanations for the endless ringing that cuts to an abrupt voicemail message.

I understand that at the root of my anxiety lies a simple inability to trust.

This inability to fully trust God’s plan and let go of my overly controlling tendencies is what allows my trivial anxieties to proliferate dangerously. How foolish I am to assume that my magnificent King won’t take care of me! How shameful it is to think that my own control over a situation will be more successful than all of the wonderful, lovely, sweet possibilities that could stem from His.

In short, somehow this hope to write peacefully and let words flow freely coupled with the challenge to trust Him more fully weaves together perfectly to illustrate my goal for this week: simply trust and simply write.

I Can Feel God Working

Lately I’ve been feeling stuck in a too-comfortable, too familiar rut-like routine.

I’ve felt frustrated by elements of my college experience that aren’t exactly headed in the direction that I have planned or hoped. It is only when I make a conscious effort, taking a moment to quiet my chaotic, worry-filled mind and anxious nature, and just sit in peace that I can feel this sort of vibrating energy in my heart.

I am overcome by such a powerful feeling that although I can’t see Him orchestrating, he’s crafting a beautiful symphony that is my future. Weaving melodious friendships with the sweet air of laughter, rich tones of joy after sorrow, and harmonious songs of love, He carefully and thoughtfully shapes each note of my life. I am thoroughly excited to uncover His will, living out His perfect plan for me with a servant’s heart.

I love Him. I love how He loves me. I am in awe of his goodness, for I don’t deserve such a rich, deep, boundless love, and yet I am showered with His sweet compassion anyway. I am eternally, deeply, fully thankful for the blessings that I’ve been given.

Thank you, God, for dwelling in my heart. I trust you entirely and I eagerly await the day when you reveal to me your perfect plans. Please give me a patient heart and grant me the wisdom to differentiate between the sounds of my rambling thoughts, clanging against the interiors of my mind, and your steady voice. Thank you for changing my heart and molding me into a woman of God. Thank you for this incredible life and I’m sorry if I don’t love it enough. Give me a fresh perspective, allowing me to see the sheer abundance of blessings in my life, and the pure magnificence of your creation. Thank you for working in my heart, molding the path that awaits me. I love you so much!


Captivated by HIS Love

This week, the Lord has showered me with exactly what I need to hear, and at the perfect timing—a perfection that could only stem from Him.

I am forced to endure the same situation over and over and over again until I learn. At first I felt like the victim—how could this happen to me, again and again? Then I realized my ignorance. The Lord was giving me the same situations as new opportunities. The Lord wanted me to change and grow and learn on my own. I can truly say now, Lord, that I’ve learned. I’ve been so focused on seeking love from others that I have been overlooking the one true and perfect love who dwells in my heart. Christ should be my first love. Today I had lunch with two beautiful recent college grads that lead the bible study I attend. While munching on tacos and queso dip, we stumbled across the topic of love. I gave them a brief insight into what my love life looks like—nonexistent, yet so tangled and messy. The girls simply smiled knowingly, offering very little comments. Why? I so desperately crave guidance. Hours later, my plea was answered. They wouldn't be providing me with guidance, but He would. I walked into bible study and they handed me a paper with two verses bolded across the top—the topic of tonight’s study would be love.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” -1 John 3:18.

The Lord is who encourages me to set my standards this high. I want to be loved and pursued actively and completely. I don’t want to be showered with empty compliments and shallow “I love you’s.” I want to be loved honestly, purely, and wholeheartedly, by a man who loves the Lord just as entirely.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” -1 John 3:16; 4:10.

This is the love I must pursue. This is the only love that can completely satisfy my soul. It is God’s love that I want to be captivated by. I want to get lost in Him.


God calls the men to pursue, and the women to seek pursuit. He calls us as girls to guard our hearts, and to use our worldly affectionate love to bring Him glory. I crave this kind of love. I pine for the day when I meet such a man of God. I pine for this day so much, however, that my lack of patience leads me to look elsewhere for affection. So Lord, this is my prayer: help me to stop frantically searching for worldly love and affections. Lead me to stop forcing what isn’t present, and to stop trying to fit things that are not in your plan into my life. Give me the courage to be single, but to be deeply, permanently, contently in a relationship with you. Give me the patience to wait for the man that you are preparing for me. Comfort me with your presence, and envelop me with your flawless love and compassion. Lord, I want you to dwell in my in heart and in my life. Please hold me tightly through this transition period that I’m enduring, and thank you, thank you, thank you, for the amazing and supportive people you have placed in my life on this campus. I am so blessed and grateful. I love you so completely and wholeheartedly. I don’t deserve your love but thank you for showering me in your grace and love anyway. Amen.

“Dance with God; He’ll let the perfect man cut in.”

Bigger State, Bigger Happiness: My Happiness Journey in Texas

Well, I suppose tonight marks the bittersweet closing of my Pursuit of Happiness: Part 1.

After spending a week in Texas, I’ve realized that I am no longer fantasizing about sweet California summers, but instead of Texas’ comforting blanket of warm humidity in the evenings, the contagious camaraderie spread by going dancing with complete strangers, and the (overzealous) glowing southern sun, kissing bare shoulders and flip-flopped toes. There’s something special here. Although I don’t return for almost 2 months (wahhh), I am certain that the thoughts of purple will inhabit my mind, taking up a permanent residence until sweet Texas and I are reunited once again. This summer, I plan to proudly wear my purple camp bracelet daily (composed of a worn strip of bandana and plastic beads symbolizing my goals for the upcoming year). I plan to rock—absolutely, proudly, obsessively rock—my school gear to the gym. I plan to learn my way around campus via the online tour and the oversized map inhabiting half of my bedroom wall. I plan to continue to nurture the multitude of potentially fruitful friendships that have been planted this week.

One of the roommates I had in particular this week commented on how crazy it was that “we’re actually the same person.” After spending only one night together in a dorm room (which included staying up the entire night, and then groggily regretting our lack of sleep upon 7am breakfast with my family), we built the foundations for a really wonderful friendship—all from a random room assignment. This is comforting; before this week, I was relatively unaware of the ease that is meeting new people. Not only does this appease my often-anxious mind, it is yet another factor contributing to my rapidly growing excitement for the fall semester.

How thrilled I am to permanently unpack my high school trials and tribulations! They will be left behind on the Southern California coast as I embark on an adventure all my own. Although there are about 10 people from my area of Southern California attending my university, I am confident in my newfound ability to make friends. The familiar California faces will be comforting in a crowd, however I am more thrilled by the thousands of new faces in the mix. A stranger is a friend yet to be met.

Today I spent the morning with a cappuccino (on tap in the cafeteria!), poring over a 3-inch thick stack of paper, compiling my desired classes for the fall. I was giddy. Sifting through Italian, fashion, European history, religion, and literature courses instilled an evident spring in my step. I love the learning process. I love sitting in a new class with a fresh notebook in front of me (there may be a reoccurring theme here…check out my first ever post) Beyond the excitement of a new class is the sheer ecstasy of choosing my own new classes in a subject that I am passionate about.

See you in 54 days, my burning curiosity, my amazing new friends, my potential love interests (I swear they’re there, just waiting for me), and my inspiring future professors. 54 days.

The Perfection of Smooth Seas

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

While these words hold true, I can’t help but wish for smooth, glassy-topped seas. My petite little rowboat would gently wade out into the ocean, gracefully slicing through still, crystal waters. If my life were to reflect the flawless nature of a smooth sea, I feel like I would be happy.

During an economics course yesterday, two of my classmates were engaged in a dispute over the topic of perfection. Upon finding no middle ground whatsoever, one student turned to the teacher for support.

“If you had the opportunity to be perfect at everything, would you take it?” the student asked.

The teacher chuckled and shook his head no, while the other student was smug with satisfaction. The teacher explained that he would reject the opportunity to be faultless, because life would lack spontaneity, possibility, depth, and motivation. In his mind, a life of perfection would be dull, and he would find himself irritable over everyone else’s disability in stark comparison to his own boundless ability.

I was confused. A life of perfection sounded so rich and promising; I imagined myself graduating summa cum laude from my university, followed by a successful career as the editor of Teen Vogue, having an immaculate wardrobe and a seamless vocabulary, as well as being married to my prince charming (who treated me like an absolute princess) in my very own fairy-tale-worthy relationship.

When I spent a moment reflecting upon what my teacher had said, I was able to uncover the wisdom behind his words: if every task were an effortless achievement, goals would hold no worth. There would be nothing to work, sweat, push, or strive for. There would be nothing to dream of.

That’s what makes us so uniquely human, right? We dream of, pine over, and work for the things we desire. We are constantly adjusting our tactics and methods in an attempt to excel. Things go wrong. We learn. We are all on the same journey through life, and there is no assurance of smooth sailing. It is this imperfection that strengthens our values, straightens our moral compass, and inspires our motivation and drive. Because of this lack of perfection, we turn to the One who is undeniably flawless. It is He who invigorates us, quiets us, and aids us while rough waves crash or peaceful waters lap. It is He who takes our dirty, tired imperfections and wipes us clean.

I would much rather be imperfect yet constantly striving for better and have the Lord walk alongside of me than be naturally skilled at everything, fooled into believing that I was most superior.

As Matthew 5:6 states, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Rejoice

It's just one of those times where I have this itching, burning, yearning to rejoice!

The Lord is so good! His ways are perfect and just. I don't deserve his love, and yet he envelops me with such rich love and kindness that I  am bursting with joy. I cannot even begin to comprehend his love, power, and sacrifice. I cannot even begin to make sense of the plethora of beautiful miracles he performs constantly--instead I will simply rejoice.

I rejoice because He is my stability. When the world seems to be spinning too quickly, when my plate of things to do is overflowing, when I have too many burdens weighing down upon me, the Lord is my stability.

I rejoice because he is my fortress. He keeps me safe. I know he will never give me more than I can handle--that's just one of his completely amazing, perfect ways. He is my sanctuary to run to where I can dwell in peace.

I rejoice because he is my inspiration. Everything I do is for him. My writing, art, photography, sports...they are all bound by a common factor that is my longing to please and glorify him.

I rejoice because he loves me. Unconditionally and wholeheartedly. And that in itself, is enough for me.

Psalm 98:4: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song of praise!